Mammals

Large mammals are easy to spot when you can find them. Most of the time though I encounter signs the animals left behind. So I count myself lucky when I see any mammal small or large.


Wildlife attracted to dead trees

I often notice snags because of the woodpecker holes or woodpeckers drumming on the tree. However, woodpeckers aren’t the only ones utilizing snags. Snags (any dead or dying standing tree) are considered wildlife trees because they often provide more habitat for wildlife when dead than when alive. Wildlife utilize snags…

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Elusive wolverines travel impressive distances

Certain animals are elusive–lynx, bobcats and most notoriously wolverines. I’ve been lucky enough to see two wolverines in all of my hiking–way across a valley on a mountainside in Denali National Park. Without binoculars, I would have thought they were bear cubs. Wolverines and bears share a few physical traits–a…

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Females benefit by delaying pregnancy

Rodents breed rapidly. Packrats only require a gestation of 30 to 38 days. However, the demands of nursing and being pregnant at the same time can put excessive stress on a female’s system. Therefore, some rodent species utilize delayed implantation to reduce the stress on their system while nursing young.…

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Why do some animals delay pregnancy?

Spring is birthing time for many animals in order for the young to have adequate time to grow and develop before the onset of winter. For many animals, that means mating in mid- to late winter. Raccoons begin mating in February and March and give birth in April. Larger animals…

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Animals move atop and beneath snow

Winter can bring a range of snow conditions from minimal snow to deep snow with an icy crust. Whether the snow condition is favorable or not depends on how the animal moves through it or on it. Deep snow can be a disadvantage or an advantage for predators. When deep…

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Animals take advantage of trails in winter

When the snow becomes deep enough, we bring out our skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles to travel around. Even with snowshoes, slogging through knee-deep powdery snow can be exhausting if you are breaking trail. Worse is a thin icy crust that doesn’t support your weight and you punch through with each…

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Some animals capable of growing new appendages

Lizards are one of the more well-known animals to regrow their tail after shedding it to evade predators. Last week, I wrote about autotomy (the process of voluntarily shedding a body part) and how it is advantageous at first but can cause hardship afterwards. Certain animals alleviate these hardships by…

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Animals utilize self-amputation for numerous reasons

Northern alligator lizards and western blue-tailed skinks possess two unique abilities in the animal world–they can self-amputate their tail and grow it back. The process of voluntarily shedding a limb or tail is called autotomy and the ability to grow it back is called regeneration. Animals capable of autotomy include…

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Research project identifying grizzly bears in Selkirks

Curiosity grew as we followed the flagging to the research site above Cow Creek. Did grizzly bears visit the site during the last month or just the cattle whose tracks we were following? Arriving at the research site was like arriving at a mini-horse corral–barbed wire strung knee-high in a…

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Young cougars on the move this time of year

In the recent weeks, several cougars have been spotted in Bonners Ferry. Normally cougars are secretive and shy away from humans. However, in the fall and winter they tend to follow prey (especially deer) to lower elevations and often into towns. Additionally, young lions leave their mother’s territory when around…

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