Corvus brachyrhynchosAmerican Crow

Family

  • Corvidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: Up to 14 years
  • Captivity: Up to 30 years

Size

  • Length: 16 to 21 inches; females are the smaller sex
  • Wingspan: 33 to 39 inches
  • Weight: 11 to 22 ounces

Origin

  • Southern Canada, the United States, and northern Mexico

Habitat

  • Grasslands, open woodlands, forests, coastal areas, farmland, and cities

DietAmerican Crow

  • Wild: Vegetables, nuts, fruit, insects, mice, eggs, young birds, and carrion
  • Zoo: Beef, thawed frozen mice, lake smelt, and dog kibble

Reproduction

  • Crows lay between 3 and 8 eggs once a year in a large cup-shaped nest of sticks lined with plant matter.
  • Nests are found in trees or bushes, or even at the top of a telephone pole.
  • Both parents, who mate for life, care for the chicks.

Corvid Facts

  • Corvids are the most intelligent and adaptable of all the birds. They have a highly evolved social system that aids them in dealing with any situation.

Fun Facts

  • Crows are very vocal.
    • Sounds include "caws", "coos", and rattles, among others.
    • Crows have been known to mimic human speech
  • Practice Mobbing- where a group of crows will gather together, then vocally harass and chase predators.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Not Listed
  • Crows are considered pests in some agricultural areas, leading to the invention of the scarecrow.
  • Crow numbers have been quite steady, but high susceptibility to West Nile virus may cause population decreases in the near future.

What’s the Difference?

Ever wonder the difference between ravens and crows? Ravens and crows seem at first glance to be very similar in appearance, but they have very noticeable differences. First, ravens are generally larger than crows, nearly 1/3 larger. Although both birds are black, crows are a flat black, sometimes with light markings while a raven has a blue or purple sheen, especially when in sunlight. The tail is different as well. Crows have an evenly curved tail like a fan while the tail of a raven comes to a triangular point. Also, crows are usually found in groups, while ravens live a more solitary lifestyle.

American Crow

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org

Buteo jamaicensishawk rt 4

Family

  • Accipitridae

Lifespan

  • Wild: 21 years

Size

  • Length: 17 to 26 inches; females tend to be larger.
  • Wingspan: 19 - 26 inches
  • Weight: 2 - 4 lbs

Origin

  • They are found all over North America, in Central America, and in the West Indies.

Habitat

  • The red-tail is commonly seen in both rural and suburban areas that have woodlands, prairies, grasslands, or swamps.
  • Prefer open areas, such as fields or deserts, with high perching places nearby from which they can watch for prey. They often perch on telephone poles and take advantage of the open spaces along the roadside.

Diet

  • Wild: Mice, rabbits, snakes, birds, and insects
  • Zoo: Frozen thawed rats

Reproduction

  • Red-tailed hawks are monogamous and may mate for life.
  • They make stick nests high above the ground, in which the female ays one to five eggs each year. 
  • Both sexes incubate the eggs for four to five weeks, and feed the young from the time they hatch until they leave the next about six weeks later.

Red-tailed Hawks & Humans

  • Have adapted well to urban life, using our tall buildings and monuments as perches and even our long strips of highways as hunting grounds.
  • Hawks are not game animals, so they can't be hunted. Anyone killing a red-tailed hawk is subject to a large fine.

Fun Facts

hawk rt 1

  • The red-tailed hawk has a sharp, surved beak that's used to tear its prey into pieces for eating. The bird has great eyesight, which helps it see prey on the ground while its flying high overhead.
  • Red-tailed hawks are often seen soaring in wide circles high over a field. 
  • When flapping, their wingbeats are heavy. In high winds they may face into the wind and hover w ithout flapping, eyes fixed on the ground.
  • They attach in a slow, controlled dive with legs outstretched -- very different from a falcon's stoop.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Least Concern
  • CITES: Appendix II
hawk rt 2

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Red-tailed Hawk: Minnesota Department of Nautral Resources www.dnr.state.mn.us/birds/redtailedhawk.html
  4. All About Birds: The Cornell Lab or Ornithology www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/red-tailed_hawk/id
  5. Red-Tailed Hawk: National Geographic animals.nationalgeographic.com/birds/red-tailed-hawk/

Anolis carolinensisanole fb1

Family

  • Polychrotidae

Lifespan

  • 2 - 8 years

Size

  • Length: 5 - 8 inches
  • Weight: 3 grams

Origin

  • The green anole is found thoughout much of the southeastern united States, extending north through parts of North Carolina, west to Texas, and south through Florida. It has been introduced to Hawaii, Japan, Cuba, the bahamas, and Guam.

Habitat

  • An arboreal lizard, they like to hide in trees. They are often seen in urban areas as there are lots of places to hide in.

Diet

  • Wild: Small invertebrates such as butterflies, cicadas, juvenile grasshoppers, and flies.
  • Zoo: Freeze-dried fruit flies.

Reproduction

  • The majority of green anoles are polygynous. Especially in larger populations, they usually will mate only within their own territories.
  • To attract the attention of females, males bob their heads up and down and extend their dewlaps.
  • Males protect their mating partners from other intruding males by defending their territory.
  • Unlike other Anolis species, such as Anolis aeneus, green anoles do not leave their hatch sites after breeding.

General Information

  • Green anoles are the only species of anoles native to North America.
  • Recent introductions of invasive species of anoles int he green anoles' range may cause population concerns in the future.
  • The green anole can change its color and is sometimes referred to as the "American Chameleon," although its color changing is not nearly as dramatic or as sophisticated as a true chameleon.

Conservation

  • IUCN: Lower Risk
  • CITES: No Special Status

anole port1

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Animal Diversity Web: Anolis carolinesis. animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Anolis_carolinensis

 

Alligator mississippiensisAmerican Alligator

Family

  • Alligatoridae

Lifespan

  • Wild: 30 to 40 years
  • Captivity: 50 to 80 years

Size

  • Length: 9 to 18 feet, with the tail accounting for half the length
  • Weight: The average female ranges from 150 to 300 pounds; The average male ranges from 400 to 600 pounds

Origin

  • Southeastern United States, from North Carolina to Texas, as well as parts of Central America

Habitat

  • Swampy areas, ponds, lakes, sluggish rivers, freshwater, and brackish marshes.

Diet

  • Wild: Insects and fish as well as a variety of reptiles, birds, and mammals
  • Zoo: Frozen thawed large adult mice and enrichment items such as chicken, fish, yams, tomatoes, and frozen thawed rats.

Reproduction

  • Bulls roar loudly to attract a female and to warn off other males because they are very territorial during breeding season.
  • Near the end of courtship, both animals engage in a bout of snout and back rubbing.
  • Alligators are egg-layers and females will lay 20 to 50 eggs in a single clutch per year.
  • The eggs are laid in a nest of mud and rotting vegetation near the water’s edge.
    • Michigan’s climate is too cold for alligator eggs to hatch.
    • Sex is usually determined by the warmth of the eggs during incubation
  • Alligators reach maturity past 6 years of age.

Special AdaptationsAmerican Alligator

  • The alligator has a wonderful camouflage.
    • Young alligators have yellowish bands on their body, but adults are generally gray or black in color.
    • The ears and nostrils have valves that close when the alligator is submerged, and it can remain under water for up to an hour.

Unique Characteristics

  • The alligator has a broad snout and all the teeth in its upper jaw overlap with those in the lower.
  • There are about 80 teeth in those powerful jaws!
    • As teeth wear down or break, a new tooth replaces the old
      • Alligators go through about 2,000 to 3,000 teeth in a lifetime.

Conservation

  • IUCN: Lower Risk
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • The main predator for the American alligator is humans.
    • Hunted for its skin and meat, alligators were once on the brink of extinction.
  • Preservation of wetlands is very important for alligator habitats.
  • The American alligator is a keystone species to the ecosystem, so its preservation is crucial.
  • Conservation efforts have since taken the American alligator from the endangered species list.

What’s the Difference?

Ever wonder the difference between alligators and crocodiles? Alligators have broad heads with short, blunt snouts and their lower teeth fit into the edge of the upper jaw and cannot be seen when the mouth is closed. Crocodiles have a narrow head and a slender snout. Their lower teeth are visible while their mouth is closed.

American Alligator

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org

 

Psammobates pardalistortoisel port1

Family

  • Testudinidae

Lifespan

  • Wild: 100 years
  • Captivity: 75 years

Size

  • Length: 11- 37 inches long
  • Weight: 30 - 120 lbs

Origin

  • Africa and Ethiopia

Habitat

  • Range from dry arid plains to rassland ecosystems, most live in shrub type habitats.

Diet

  • Wild: Low lying vegetation, berries, and fruits when available.
  • Zoo: Fresh vegetables and fruit daily. During the summer, they have access to an outdoor exhibit and will graze on the fresh grass. 

Reproduction

  • Monogamous
  • They bury their eggs, which have a gestation period of 9 - 12 months.
  • Females can lay 5 - 7 clutches a year.
  • Mothers leave after hatching, causing the hatchlings to be independent immediately.
  • Temperature-dependent births, meaning that the eggs are born male or female depending on the temperature.

General Informationtortoisel 2

  • Some believe that you can determine the age of a tortoise by counting the rings on its shell. However, this is not possible. The rings or scutes are formed during growth periods and leopard tortoises (like all tortoises) may grow at different times and rates during the year.
  • The leopard tortoise is one of the largest mainland tortoises and has an elevated carapace (the top part of the shell) that is tawny, yellow or buff, with brown centers to each scute with black radiations and spots. Because of this pattern, they've been given the name "leopard."
  • The male has a slightly concave plastron near the tail and a longer tail.
  • African Leopard Tortoises, like all tortoises and turtles, cannot come completely out of their shell. Their spine is fused to the underside of the carapace. 

Differences Between a Turtle and a Tortoise

  • Turtles have flat feet with long claws that help them swim, where as tortoises have elephant-like feet to help them walk on land.
  • Some tortoises, like the African leopard tortoise, are so heavy and dense that they cannot swim at all, and will drown in water levels above their head.
  • Turtles generally are more hydrodynamic, meaning they have a flatter shell that is less water resistant. This allows them to swim quickly.

Conservation

  • IUCN: Lower Risk
  • CITES: Appendix II
    • The biggest threat to this species is human beings, which harvest them for food and for illegal export for the pet industry.

tortoisel 3

Sources

  1. CITES Appendices. Accessed December 2012. www.cites.org
  2. IUCN Red List. Accessed December 2012. www.iucnredlist.org
  3. Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Leopard Tortoise Fact Sheet. nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Leopardtortoise.cfm