Wildlife Envirothon 2010
Otter • Scientific name: Lutra canadensis • Aquatic mammal • Most playful of PA’s animals (sign of intelligence) • Play on ice, snow, muddy banks, play with food, sticks, stones, and wrestle each other • Food: fish, frogs, turtles, snails, mussels, crayfish, snakes, worms, insects, aquatic plants, roots, and on occasion muskrats. • Make a variety of noises: chirps, chuckles, grumbles, and a scream for a call of danger.
Otter-Biology • Weighs 10-25 pounds and is 30-40 inches long, plus a 12-15 inch tail. • Fur is rich dark brown, lighter underneath • Has 2 layers of fur with a layer of fat to insulate body • Fast, graceful swimmer (up to 7 mph) Muscular and solid build • Excellent sense of hearing and eyesight • Wide, webbed feet for swimming
Otter-Habitat • Build dens under tree roots, rock piles, burrows, or unused beaver lodges • Mainly nocturnal, do not hibernate • Water pollution diminishes otter habitat • Man is the otter’s greatest predator. • Lifespan: 10-20 years • New York and Maryland have many more otters than PA, due to suitable aquatic habitat • Prefer wild territory
Beaver • Scientific name: Castor canadensis • North America’s largest rodent • Fur is thick and considered valuable (was used to make top hats and trim in clothes) • Beavers had been eliminated in PA, until modern wildlife management helped out. • Weak vision, but hearing and smell are excellent • Beavers cut wood to offset incisor growth • Mainly nocturnal
Beaver-Biology • Blunt heads, short necks and legs, stocky bodies • Glossy, tan to brown coat—oil secretions to repel water (called castoreum) • Castoreum used to mark territories and in medicines, perfumes, and trapping lures. • Thick pelt and lots of body fat for insulation • Can remain in water for hours at a time • Tail is trowel-shaped with a scaly, leathery covering • Tail is a propeller and rudder in water • Feet are used for digging, handling food, and building dams • Hind feet are webbed to help with swimming
Beavers-cont. • Eat vegetable matter such as soft plants, grass, ferns, mushrooms, weeds, algae, and water plants. • Eat the bark, twigs and buds of maple, willow, birch, black alder, and black cherry trees. • Predators of beavers include: dogs, bobcats, bears, and man. • Lifespan: 10-12 years • Population story—pretty fascinating! • Beavers can be troublesome: water backup floods roads and fields and kills trees. • Trapping is used to control number of beavers.
Beavers-Habitat • Typically stay within 200 feet of water’s edge • Build dams with mud and rocks, moat-shaped. • Build lodges for shelter and rearing young; dome-shaped. • Entrance is always below water, while den is dry and above water. • Prefer narrow streams and creeks • Dam building affects many other wildlife species— ponds provide habitat for ducks, geese, shorebirds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. This attracts a variety of predators. • Habitat is exhausted within 10 years but then refreshed.
Your Turn! • We have several more wildlife species on our list. • Create a 3-4 slide PowerPoint Presentation on your species to share your topic with our team. • Your topic: ______________________ • Use the information sheets in your binder, the Internet, and any other resources. • Focus on the identification of your animal and any physical and behavioral adaptations. The Envirothon students should be able to identify your animal by pelts, skulls, mounts, photos, feathers, wings, and furs after viewing your presentation. • Be sure to include: • Facts about biology, population, habitat, and general information • Pictures and/or photographs • Video or sound clips • Your goal is to teach our group about your specific species. • Due at the beginning of our next practice • Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) your PowerPoint to Mrs. Ayres by Monday, February 1st so that she can compile all of the presentations into one slide show before our next session.