It is easy to guess how the Short-Eared Owl got his name! This owl is known for their extremely short ears, which are so short that they are barely visible. They still have excellent hearing and are actually great communicators. They make a range of sounds, such as hooting, barking, hissing and squeaking sounds.
The Short-Eared Owl can grow up 15 inches and are usually a mottled brown or tawny. They have large heads and short necks and powerful hooked bills. They live in open areas, like grasslands, where they will actually rest on the ground.
The Short-Eared Owl feeds on various insects, rats, rabbits and various other small mammals. Even though they tend to hunt at night, they will also hunt in the day when their prey is plentiful. They’ll fly just above the ground while they look for food, which is quite a site to see if you’re lucky enough to witness it!
Did you know that in spite of their names, Black bears can also be brown, blue or grey and even cinnamon. These are the most common bears in America, in fact, they can be found in nearly any forested area but also live in mountains and swamps.Black bears mostly eat berries, grasses and roots, but they are omnivores so they also eat fish and nearly anything they can find.
Black bears can weigh between 200 and 600 pounds. Their weight can go up and down a lot due to hibernation. They eat a lot in preparation for the winter and then lose weight when food is scarce. Black bears are not typically considered true hibernators because they do wake up during their hibernation period. They do however, rely on that extra weight to get them through long periods of rest and food scarcity.
The winter is tough on animals. They have to find ways to survive with little food and limited access to shelters. You can do your part to help wildlife survive and make life a bit more comfortable for them, even if you live in an urban area.
These are some simple steps you can take to give a helping hand to wildlife:
– Provide unfrozen water on a regular basis
– Rake leaves into a pile for shelter
– Build a rock pile in corner of yard
– Provide seed or other feed consistently
And, remember, if you start to provide seed and water, you need to be consistent. Animals will learn to come to your yard for food and if you suddenly stop, they might not have an alternative source for their needs!
An added bonus for helping wildlife through tough times is that you can enjoy seeing them year round. Get some binoculars and guide and enjoy!
The red-necked wallaby, also called the Bennett’s wallaby, is a medium sized marsupial that is native to Australia and Tasmania. They can weigh up to 40 pounds and be up to 35 inches in body length, excluding the length of their tail. Covered in soft fur, the Bennett looks very close to his cousin the black-stripped wallaby, only they have no tell-tale stripe.
The Bennett carry their young, called joeys, in a pouch until they are able to survive on their own. Living on coastal scrub land, they eat vegetation like grasses, roots, tree leaves, and weeds. Interestingly, there are actually small colonies of Bennetts in other areas of the world, such as in Scotland and France. These are wild guys, not living on a preserve of any kind!
The Bobcat is frequently confused with other species as it resembles other members of the Lynx family. Adding to the issue is the fact that it comes with a variety of coat variations and is solitary. Officially named, the Bobcat is the Lynx Rufus and they can be found from Canada to all the way to Mexico.
Bobcats have short bobbed tails, black tufts on their ears and longer hair at the sides of their face.They live in wooded areas, swampland and semi-desert environment. They also live on the edges of urban areas. The Bobcat hunt small prey, like rodents, hares and even insects if they have to in order to survive. An adult Bobcat can reach up to 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 40 pounds for males, 33 for females.
These are beautiful animals that are versatile and highly adaptable. You can come on by and see this and other animals in person at our park!
Few things are more cute than a miniature donkey. They have large eyes and long ears and are covered with a soft cote. They are also super friendly and affectionate, making them even cuter! The miniature Sicilian Donkey can grow up to around 36 inches tall and weigh between 200 to 300 pounds.
Much like their larger counterparts, they are clever, a bit stubborn and very social. They are often kept as pets but also used as special service animals or utilized for animal based therapy.They really enjoy being a part of a group.
Male miniatures are called “jacks” and females are called “jennets.” Their coats come in a few color variations, with the most common being gray or chocolate in color. Known as being hardy, they can live up to 30 years.
The Chital, also known as the Axis deer, are indigenous to regions in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. This deer species is most prevalent in Indian forests, where they feed on tall grasses, branches, shrubs and even fruit that has fallen thanks to monkeys in the trees.
Male Axis can weigh up to 165 pounds and stand up to 35 inches at the shoulder. Females can weigh up to nearly 100 pounds. They are typically fawn with white spots and some white on their underbellies. Their antlers can grow to over 30 inches and are usually three pronged and shed annually.
Axis like to live in large groups which include both genders. They spend most of their time grazing. You don’t have to travel too far to see this unique deer from the far east, just stop by the park!
Winter is upon us and most of the nation has already had its first taste of frost, freezing rain or snow. While this is coat and sweater weather for us, how do animals make it through the harsh weather?
Animals have special adaptations, these are special traits or behaviors that animals use to deal with the environment around them. These adaptations help animals deal with both cold and warm weather conditions. By adapting, animals are able to live in all sorts of adverse climates.
Wolves use their thick winter coats to help protect them from the weather. These coats help keep their skin drier and block out the cold wind. This is particularly important for the Arctic wolf, which lives in freezing weather all year long. Wolves dig shelters to provide them extra shelter in bad weather, which is another type of adaptation. They shed some of their thick coats in spring in preparation for summer.
Black bears are experts when it comes to adapting to their environment. They put on extra fat and hibernate to conserve energy through the colder months. This means they don’t have to hunt for food during sparse winter months. In the spring they come out and start the cycle all over again!
What kind of animal adaptations can you think of? Most animals have some types of adaptations, and when you visit us, you can see some of them in action. We invite you to come to the park and pay attention to the many different adaptations you may see during your visit!
Alpacas belong to the camel family. They are native to the mountainous areas of South America such as the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile. An Alpaca can reach up to 99 cm at the shoulder and weigh up to 180 pounds. They have thick, long hair which is considered to be of very high quality. Alpaca hair, called fiber, is prized for making clothing and other textiles.
Alpaca are no longer found in the wild, but are a domesticated species. They have been very important to indigenous people for thousands of years. Alpaca are very social animals that prefer to live in family units. Alpaca are vocal and make a variety of sounds to communicate, ranging from a barking-like sound to clicking and shrieking to warn others of danger.
Gopher Tortoises hail from North America and can be found in areas around Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina. They are one of the oldest living species dating back 60 million years. They are considered an important species because they dig long burrows that eventually provide shelter for many other animals, like mice, foxes and skunks.
The Gopher Tortoise can reach about 12 inches long and has a life span of up to 100 years. They prefer living in dry areas where they scavenge for food. As herbivores, they eat a wide range of plants, grasses, legumes and mushrooms. Unfortunately populations are threatened by loss of habitat and predation.