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The first turtles already existed in the era of the dinosaurs

some 200 million years ago. Turtles are the only surviving branch of the even more ancient clade Anapsida, which includes groups such as the procolophonoids, millerettids and pareiasaurs. All anapsid skulls lack a temporal opening. All other extant amniotes have temporal openings (although in mammals the hole has become the zygoid arch). Most of the anapsids became extinct in the late Permian period, with the exception of the procolophonoids and the precursors of the testudines (turtles).

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However, it has recently been suggested that the anapsid condition of the turtle skull may not be a primitive character reflecting anapsid descent, but rather a case of convergent evolution. More recent phylogenetic studies with this in mind have placed turtles firmly within diapsids, slightly closer to Squamata than to Archosauria. All molecular studies have strongly upheld this new phylogeny, though some place turtles closer to Archosauria. Re-analysis of prior phylogenies that affirmed an anapsid ancestry suggests that their inclusion of turtles within Anapsida was due to both the starting assumption that they were anapsid (most prior phylogenies concerned what sort of anapsid they were) and also due to insufficiently broad sampling of fossil and extant taxa for construction of the cladogram. While the issue is far from resolved, most scientists now lean towards a Diapsid origin for turtles.

Above Images Are From The N.O.A.A.

The Parakeet Auklet is a small seabird of the North Pacific

the only member of the genus Cyclorrhynchus (Kaup, 1829). It is associated with the boreal waters of Alaska and Kamchatka and Siberia. It breeds on the cliffs, slopes and boulder fields of offshore islands, generally moving south during the winter. Description: The Parakeet Auklet is a small (23 cm) auk with a short orange bill that is upturned to give the bird its curious fixed expression. The bird’s plumage is dark above and white below. with a single white plume projecting back from the eye. There is a small amount of variation between breeding and winter plumage. The Parakeet Auklet is a highly vocal species at the nest, calling once it arrives at the nest and then dueting once it’s mate arrives. It makes a series of rhythimc hoarse calls (like that of the Cassin’s Auklet) and a quavering squeal. 

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The function of these are unknown, but could be associated with defending its burrow from intruders and strengthening the bond with its mate. Behaviour and Breeding: The Parakeet Auklet feeds varies with season, during the breeding season it takes mostly small planktonic crustaceans such as euphausiids, copepods and amphipods. It often feeds at a considerable distance from the colony, diving up to 30 m to reach its prey. The Parakeet Auklet is highly social in its breeding colonies.Breeding begins in April and May in colonies that are often shared with other auk species. The pair lay one egg, which is incubated for just over a month, the chick is then fed 4 times a day for around 35 days. The chick fledges at night, flying out to sea alone.
Above Images From The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The puma (Puma concolor) is a type of large cat found in North

Central and South America. It is also known by the regional names of cougar, mountain lion, panther, catamount, and painted cat. At least in the US, panther by itself refers to a puma, although the term black panther is more commonly associated with the melanistic variants of leopards or jaguars rather than pumas. Genetically, pumas are closer to leopards than to lions. There is considerable variation in colour and size of these animals across their large range of habitats. Subspecies The Florida panther is a rare subspecies of puma that lives in the swamps of southern Florida in the United States, especially in the Everglades. There is currently a widespread effort in Florida to try to save the remaining population of the state’s native panthers, as their numbers are extremely sparse.

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Before the modern human population explosion in the Americas, despite being called a “mountain lion”, the puma ranged across most of the Americas. Even now, it has the biggest range of any New World land animal, spanning 110 degrees of latitude, from northern British Columbia (in Canada) to the southern Andes (on both the Chilean and Argentinian sides). Hunted almost to extinction in the United States, the puma has made a dramatic comeback, with an estimated 30,000 individuals in the western United States. In Canada, puma are found west of the prairies, in Alberta and British Columbia.

Above Images Come From The National Parks Service 

A rat is a small omnivorous rodent of the genus Rattus

Rats are mammals somewhat bigger than their relatives the mice, but seldom weighing over 500 grams. The term rat is also used in the names of other small mammals which are not true rats. Examples include the wood or pack rat, a number of species loosely called kangaroo rats and the Bandicoot Rat, Bandicota bengalensis. In Western countries, many people keep domestic rats as pets. Descendants of Norwegian rats bred for research, these animals are often called “fancy rats”, “coloured rats” or “colour rats.” Domesticated rats tend to be both more docile than their wild ancestors and more disease prone, presumably due to inbreeding.

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There are over 50 species of rats, the most well-known of which are the Brown Rat, Rattus norvegicus; the Black Rat, Rattus rattus; and the Polynesian Rat, Rattus exulans. These three common species often live with and near humans, share their food and spread disease. At least one of these three species occurs on over 80% of island groups around the world and they have caused about half of bird and reptile extinctions. The Black Plague is believed to have been spread by rat-borne parasites. Rats are also blamed for damaging food supplies and other goods. They have a very poor reputation; in the English language, “rat” is an insult and “to rat on someone” is to betray them by denouncing a crime or misdeed they committed to the authorities Rats might eat each other in stressful environments or when the number of rats in a space is very high, but cannibalism to prevent diseases from spreading is normal, where dead rats are eaten before they start spreading diseases.

Above Images Are From The USDA

Red deer (Cervus elaphus), known as Wapiti or Elk in North America

are the second largest deer (cervid) in the world, second only to moose (which, confusingly, are called elk in Europe; see Elk). Wapiti is the Shawnee name for this animal meaning ‘white rump’. Wapiti are a subspecies of the European red deer. Wapiti weigh 230 to 450 kg and stand 0.75-1.5 m high at the shoulder. Their antlers usually measure 1 -1.5 m across tip to tip. Males often weigh twice as much as females. Wapiti are known for their loud bugling during the rut. In Europe the Red Deer is on average smaller than the Wapiti however they are Britain’s largest native land mammal, and can reach 1.5m at the shoulder.

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For centuries, the wild deer of Britain were reserved exclusively for royalty to hunt. William I of England introduced the death penalty for killing a deer, and a sentence of maiming for attempting to kill a deer. These harsh penalties were abolished during the reign of Henry III, although deer were still preserved by law for the sport of the monarch until the nineteenth century.
Adult Red Deer usually stay in single-sex groups for most of the year, coming together to mate during October. During the mating ritual, called the rut, mature stags compete for the attentions of the hinds and will then try to defend hinds that they attract. Rival stags challenge opponents by bellowing and walking in parallel. If neither stag backs down a clash of antlers can occur, and stags sometime sustain serious injuries.

Above Images Come From The US Fish & Wildlife Service

The Us Fish and Wildlife Service

The albatrosses (from Portuguese Alcatraz, a pelican) are seabirds in the family Diomedeidae, which is closely allied to the petrels. They were once commonly known as Goonie birds or Gooney birds. This is a group of large to very large birds with very long narrow wings, which are aerodynamically highly efficient. The beak is large, strong and sharp-edged, the upper mandible terminating in a large hook. The feet have no hind toe, and the three anterior toes are completely webbed. Albatrosses travel huge distances using a technique used by many long-winged seabirds called dynamic soaring. This enables them to minimise the effort needed by gliding across wave fronts gaining energy from the vertical wind gradient. Their principal food is cephalopods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All 21 albatross species are endangered species (or more threatened than that) according to the IUCN Red List. Part of the blame can be put on longliners, a type of fishing technique. “During line setting, longliners set a single line up to 130 km long behind the boat. Attached to it are literally thousands of baited hooks. An estimated 1 billion hooks are set annually by the world’s longline fleets. Some of the baited hooks are eaten not by their intended targets, but by albatrosses and other seabirds. The hooked birds are dragged under water and drown.” (BirdLife.net, 2004).

The American copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) is a species of venomous viper

North America. Mature copperheads have a beautiful coppery colored head and neck. They tend to be smallish snakes, generally about 50 cm long (1.5 ft), but specimens up to 1 m long (3 ft) have been encountered. The body is thin by pit viper standards. There are four clearly defined subspecies. The Northern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen, is found throughout the northeastern United States It is reddish brown overall, with a number of chestnut-colored “hourglass” markings running down its back. The Southern copperhead (A. contortrix contortrix) of the south-eastern United States is generally paler and has more clearly defined markings, sometimes including a row of dark triangular marks the sides of the body. 

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The Broad-banded copperhead (A. contortrix laticinctus) of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas is sometimes considered the most attractive of the four. It tends to be smaller than the Northern and Southern races, rarely being longer than about 75 cm, and has wide bands across the back which are not narrowed at the spine. The Trans-Pecos copperhead (A. contortrix pictigaster) is similar to the Broad-banded, is of equal size, and has has slightly hourglass-shaped markings, usually with a lighter patch at the base of each band. The genus Agkistrodon, of which the American copperhead is a member, includes 10 species, three of them native to North America (one being the well-known Cottonmouth. The remainder are found in Asia and the islands nearby, notable members include the Siberian moccasin, the Himalayan viper, and the Okinawan habu. Note that the three Australian copperheads are elapids and not related. American copperheads breed in late summer but not to a fixed pattern: sometimes a female will give produce young for several years running, then not breed at all for a time. They give birth to live young about 20 cm long: a typical litter is 4 to 7, but it can be as few as one or as many as 20. Their size apart, the young are similar to the adults, but lighter in color, and with a yellow-marked tip to the tail, which is used to lure lizards and frogs. Like all pit vipers, American copperheads are ambush predators: they take up a promising position and wait for suitable prey to arrive. Roughly 90% of their diet is small rodents: mice, voles, and similar creatures.

Above Images Come From The US Fish & Wildlife Service

Alligators live in wet, stagnant, freshwater environments

such as ponds, marshes, or swamps. Although alligators have heavy bodies and slow metabolisms, they are capable of short bursts of speed that can exceed 30 miles per hour. Alligators kill by biting their prey and then spinning and convulsing wildly. Alligators are characterized by a broad snout and very dorsally located eyes compared to crocodiles. Both living species also tend to be darker in color, often nearly black (though Chinese alligators have some light patterning. Also, in alligators only the upper teeth can be seen with the jaws closed (in contrast to crocodiles, in which upper and lower teeth can be seen), though many animals bear jaw deformities which complicate this means of identification.

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The name alligator is the Anglicized form of the Spanish phrase el lagarto (the lizard), as the conquistadors who came to Florida referred to it. The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a member of the one of the three families of crocodile-like reptiles, whose members are living fossils from the Age of Reptiles, having survived on earth for 200 million years. However, the alligators can be distinguished from the crocodiles and ghavial by their head shape and color. The crocodiles have a narrower snout, and unlike the alligators, have teeth in their lower jaw which are visible even when the mouth is shut. In addition, adult alligators are black, while crocodiles are brownish in color. As with all crocodilians, and the extinct traditional dinosaurs, alligators are of the reptilian branch known as archosaurs. Modern birds are generally viewed at present as living dinosaurs of the maniraptor group. Assuming this is correct, the birds are also archosaurs and thus alligators are far more closely related to birds than they are to lizards, snakes, turtles or the tuatara.

Above Images From The US Fish & Wildlife Service

MAMMALS DIRECTORY

Directory > Mammals > Squirrel

Anti Squirrel Coalition – Welcome Comrade, Squirrels Are Evil And Must Be Stopped. They Are A Menace.
California Ground Squirrel Page – Includes Links, Pictures And Information On California Ground Squirrels.
Grey Squirrel’s Page Of Silliness – A Site Calling On All Citizens To Declard War On The Squirrels Once the War In Iraq Is Over.
Home of Boo-Boo The Squirrel – Pet Info
John’s World O’Squirrels – Essays, Photos, & Tips
Little Friends Wildlife Center – Opossum, Squirrels And Other Critters.
Oak Branch Woods – A Series Of Novels By Kimberly Shriner. Stories About Squirrels.
Raising A Baby Squirrel – A Couple That Found A Baby Squirrel With A Broken Leg And Their Quest to Domesticate It.
Squirrel Lovers Club – Have Fun!
Squirrel Page – A Site With Links, Pictures, Articles And Other Information Related To These Creatures.
Squirrel Rehab – Getting Fuzzes Back ON Their Feet
Squirrel Sanctuary – Healthy & Free
Squirrelink.com – A Comprehensive Directory For Everyones’ Favorite Backyard Creature.
Squirrelmania – A Site With Many Pictures Of Squirrels.
Squirrel Lover’s Club – Is an international organization whose membership is open to squirrel lovers of all ages. Started In 1995.
Squirrels Must Be Stopped! – Anti Squirrel Information. Squirrels and their plan for global domination.
Squirrels.org – Everything You need to know to help raise and orphaned squirrel.
Welcome To Erin’s Albino Squirrel Website – You won’t believe your eyes when you see this creature.
Welcome To The Squirrel Store – Shop At Chris’s Squirrels And More.