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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Owl pellets provide clues to owl’s diet

Even though most owls are nocturnal hunters and we can’t see what they hunt, we know a surprising amount of information about their diet. An owl’s feces look like any other bird dropping, so we can’t tell what they eat. The clues to an owl’s diet lay in owl pellets–regurgitated…

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Tiny salamander delivers big surprise to predators

What has large bulbous eyes, a blunt snout, a long fourth toe on its hind foot and is three to four inches long? A long-toed salamander. The long-toed salamander is more widespread than any other salamander species in Idaho–living in northern and central Idaho–and is one of the most widely-distributed…

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Ant hills only a portion of the nest

When wandering through the woods I’ll occasionally stumble across an ant hill. Sometimes the ant hills are only a few inches high, sometimes a few feet high. The mounds of needles, leaves, grass and small sticks are either teeming with activity or void of any movement depending on the time…

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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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