Presentation on theme: "Some SMESL Critters The Opossum and Eastern Cottontail."— Presentation transcript:
Some SMESL Critters The Opossum and Eastern Cottontail
Possum or Opossum (Didelphidae didelphis) North America's only marsupial. A marsupial is an animal with a pouch, like a kangaroo or a koala. The opossum has been around for at least 70 million years and is one of Earth's oldest surviving mammals!
The opossum is about the size of a large house cat. It has a triangular head and a long pointed nose. It has grayish fur everywhere but on its ears, feet and tail.
Its tail is prehensile. A prehensile tail is adapted for grasping and wrapping around things like tree limbs. The opossum can hang from its tail for a short time.
Some people think opossums hang from their tails and sleep. They don't. Their tails aren't strong enough to hold them for that long!
13 day gestation period Babies will find their way to the pouch and a nipple and develop there for another approximate 100 days
Omnivore / Scavenger Can eat just about anything
Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) Where it gets its name (tail, used to distract predator as it is chased) Runs zig zag pattern with cottontail up then lays down tail and hides.
Big ears (to hear predators) Eyes on side of head (small blind spot) Crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) Good sense of smell
Eat clover, grass, shrubs, bark and their own fecal matter. Rabbits actually have two types of poop. –One they poop to get rid of. (little black balls) –The other they put through their digestive system again to get out more nutrients. (less solid dark green)
Mating ritual includes male and female facing each other almost touching nose. Female (doe) will then swat male (buck) with front feet several times in the face and front quarters.
Male and/or female will then start hopping up and down (sometimes several feet in the air) followed by the act of mating. He will either urinate on her, or she will urinate on him (what no flowers), and they will then groom prior to mating.
Gestation is 28 days and female will mate again right after she gives birth. In this area females will give birth from February to September typically there are 4-5 babies born at a time. Typically 3 to 4 litters a year though can be more.
It is not unheard of for 2 rabbits to produce 84 offspring on one year. –WOW! –9 will make it to their third year.
The mom will not stay with the nest of babies but will visit them twice a day to feed them. –If you find baby bunnies leave them. –They need their mom’s milk to survive.
Cottontails have many enemies –hawks, owls, snakes, weasels, mink, foxes, –dogs and cats. –Also automobiles and farm machinery. Also people who pick up baby bunnies and try to care for them. –They should be left alone, for the mother is usually nearby and will do a much better job.