It’s that time of year when bull elk will start to drop their antlers! Mature bulls will be antlerless by the end of March, but remember…it is illegal to collect antlers in the park. Antlers are bones, and once they fall off they become a great source of calcium for other animals like rodents that eat the bone.
A Bactrian Camel born on February 25 is already winning fans at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Keepers announced the male baby’s name, Jack, one week and one day after his birth – on Hump Day, of course.
The vizcachas (viscachas) are the closest relatives of the Chinchillinae genus, and the five vizcacha species combined with the two chinchilla species form the Chinchillidae family.
All members of this family (aside from the Plains vizcacha) live in rocky, mountainous habitats, and are largely herbivorous. The mountains vizcachas (including the Bolivian vizcacha, also known as the “mountain chinchillas”) are able to subsist off of lichens and mosses, during months where other vegetation is sparse.
While vizcacha fur is almost as thick and soft as chinchilla fur, they’re larger animals, and live higher on mountains than chinchillas, and so have not been raised commercially until recently. Wild vizcachas are also hunted for their pelts, as well, but despite this, the genus Lagidumstill seems to be doing fairly well for itself. None are anywhere near as endangered as chinchillas, and most are considered “Least Concern" by the IUCN.
Mountain vizcachas form the majority of the diet of the endangered Andean mountain cat (Leopardis jacobita), so despite their stable population, they are still monitored, as any dip for the species can result in serious consequences for the mountain cat.
Transactions of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London, 1835.
Local knowledge sheds light on some of the world’s strangest mammals
by Dominic Rowland
One of the difficulties of studying rare and endangered species is that they are, by definition, hard to find. Scientists attempting to understand their distributions and the threats to their survival can spend hundreds of hours in the field while collecting little data, simply because sightings are so few and far between. To find out more about rare and elusive species, scientists often have to turn to other methods, including using the knowledge of local people.
One team of researchers did just that in 2010 while trying to study two rare, elusive, and wonderfully bizarre small mammals on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola: the Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) and the Hispaniolan hutia (Plagiodontia aedium). The solenodon is a venomous, long-nosed insectivore reminiscent of a giant shrew, but belonging to its own family. The hutia is a large rodent, shaped like a guinea pig but as at home in trees as a squirrel. Both animals are nocturnal, listed as Endangered, and represent the last two species of a plethora of unique, endemic creatures that once inhabited Hispaniola, which is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti…
Did you know that in many parts of the United States, cougars are making a comeback? Listen to this National Geographic radio interview with Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project Leader, Dr. Mark Elbroch, to learn about this comeback, our work in NW Wyoming to understand why cougars are NOT on the rise in this region, what to do if you encounter a cougar in the wild, competition between cougars & wolves, & more @ http://bit.ly/1gYLlM7.
Just in case the message wasn’t loud and clear with yesterday’s post of the press release on the emergence of bears from their winter dens: This grizzly bear was spotted one mile north of Fishing Bridge Junction on February 27th. It’s time to be in groups of three of more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray for any ski, snowshoe and hiking activities in the park. Please also see http://go.usa.gov/K2xB
Barytherium is a genus of an extinct family of primitive proboscidean that lived during the late Eocene and early Oligocene in North Africa. The Barytheriidae were the first large size proboscideans to appear in the fossil records and were characterized by a strong sexual dimorphism.
The only known species within this family is Barytherium grave, found at the beginning of the 20th century in the Fayum, Egypt. More complete specimens have been found since then, at Dor el Talha Libya and most recently at Aidum area in Oman. In some respects, these animals would have looked similar to a modern Asian Elephant, but with a more slender build. The most visible difference, however, would have been the tusks. Barytherium had eight very short tusks, four each in the upper and lower jaws, which resembled those of a modern hippopotamus more than those of an elephant. The upper pairs were vertical, while the lower pairs projected forwards from the mouth horizontally. Together, these would have created a shearing action for cropping plants.
It is not uncommon to see moose in southeast Idaho and we enjoy sharing our moose photos here at the Pocatello Field Office. In Idaho you find the Shiras moose which is the smallest subspecies of moose in North America. A mature Shiras bull moose can weigh 800 pounds.
The unusually large eyes and ears of Demidoff’s Dwarf Galago, Galagoides demidoff, are essential adaptations to its nocturnal lifestyle. Hunting during the night, it uses its acute senses to follow inconspicuous prey through the dense foliage of its rainforest habitat in equatorial Africa. Small insects, such as beetles and moths, form the bulk of its diet, but it will also forage for fruits and gums.
Pitcher Plant Doubles as Toilet for Tree Shrew (2009)
by Jeanna Bryner
When you gotta go you gotta go, and for small tropical mammals called tree shrews, a pitcher plant serves as a handy toilet, new video research finds.
The jug-shaped plants make out just fine, too: They use the shrew’s feces as a much-needed nitrogen source.
Most pitcher plants are carnivorous, trapping ants and other insects that slip down the sides of the pitcher into a pool of digestive enzymes. The new finding, published online June 10 in the journal Biology Letters, reveals at least one type of pitcher plant “feeds on” the poop from tree shrews in lieu of insects…
We have had numerous reports of a mountain lion frequenting the Apgar area and also near park headquarters. We would like to thank Gail Lynne Goodwin for sharing this photo she took near Apgar last week. When outdoors, be alert, keep pets restrained, and keep a close eye on young children. All Apgar trails are posted as mountain lion frequenting.
The mountain lion (Puma concolor), also known as the cougar, puma, or several other appellations, is one of the largest felines in North America. Mountain lions can be found in most habitat types, but tend to prefer more wooded areas where they can utilize cover for sneaking up on prey. As one of the our larger predators, mountain lions pursue a wide variety of prey, including deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, as well as smaller animals. They usually hunt at night or during dawn or dusk, and after a successful hunt, will hide large carcasses and feed on them for several days.
The thirteen-lined ground squirrel is also known as the Striped gopher, Leopard ground squirrel, Squinney, and as the Leopard-spermophile.
Ictidomys tridecemlineatus (Sciuridae) has an unique coat pattern, with 13 dark and pale stripes running the length of the back; the dark stripes are patterned with small white spots. The species is native to grasslands and prairies of North America.
Snow is blanketing much of the US today. Wildlife adapts – like this wolf at Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge. With its thick fur, large paws and long legs, the wolf has an easy time moving through snow.