Posts tagged ‘North America’

What is the difference between a cougar and a mountain lion?

Couger

The American mountain lion once ranged over much of North and South America, and was given many names.

Mountains lion, cougar, puma, catamount, panther, or painter.  If you have heard of one of these animals, then you know them all, for these are just some of the many names for the same animal – the mountain lion.

The tawny-colored mountain lion once roamed from the forests of Canada to the southern tip of South America.  It lived in mountains, deserts, forests, swamps, and prairies.

In South America, it is called a puma.  “Cougar” comes from the way French-speaking people pronounced the Indian word for mountain lion.

Catamount comes from an old New England expression, “cat-a-mountain.”  And “painter” comes from the way some people pronounced panther.

Mountain Lion

The mountain lion’s “roar” is a wild and tarrying scream.  Mountain lions also “talk” to each other with soft whistle calls.

Because it sometimes kills livestock, many people regard the big cat as an enemy to be destroyed.

In the United States today, the few remaining mountain lions are found only in the wildest areas of the West and in the dense Florida Everglades. – Dick Rogers

Why do we say the stork brings new babies?

The familiar legend that the stork brings new babies arises from the fact that the stork takes loving care of its own young.

When a new baby is born, people sometimes like to say they have had “a visit from the stork.”

The familiar legend that the stork brings new babies from heaven arises from the fact that storks are devoted parents.  They take loving care of their own young.

The only member of the stork family living in North America is the wood ibis, or wood stork, that lives in marshes along the southern coasts of the United States.

Stork

White storks live throughout Europe and Africa.  They are large, white birds with long, red legs and long necks.  They have no voice except for an occasional hiss.

They “speak” to one another by noisily rattling their long, red bills.

These are the storks that like to build large twig nests of chimneys and rooftops.

Many Dutch and German families build stork nests on rooftops and chimneys to attract storks.

A house that storks nest on is considered a lucky house.  Each spring, the birds often return to the same nests to raise their young. – Dick Rogers

Are buffalo and a bison the same?

American Bison

No.  the true buffalo belongs to Africa and Asia.  It has neither the bison’s hump over its shoulders nor the bison’s long hair.

People often call the American bison “buffaloes,” but bison are not true buffaloes.  American bison are more closely related to the wisent or European bison.

True buffaloes are animals such as the water buffalo, common to Asia as a valuable work animal or the fieres African cape buffalo, seldom if ever tamed.  They do not have the big humped shoulders and shaggy hair of the bison.

Bisons are large, ox-like animals.  A big male bison may be six-feet tall at the shoulder and weight more than a ton, Long, coarse hair covers the bison’s head and shoulders.

At one time, enormous herd of bison roamed the western prairies of North America.  The Indians of the plains depended upon them for food and clothing.  But as the West was settled, nearly all the bison were killed.

Today, only a few thousands bison remain, mostly in protected places where they can live in safety. – Dick Rogers

 

How do opossums rear their young?

Opossum

Newborn opossums are reared in a pouch on the mother’s stomach, when they are old enough to leave the pouch.  The mother carries them on her back.

Opossums are furry animals that look something like an overgrown rat.  They can be found living in many parts of North America.

The way in which the opossum rears its young sets it apart from all other American animals.  Opossums are marsupials – that is, a baby opossum grows up in a pouch on its mother’s stomach, like a baby kangaroo.

Baby opossums are tiny and helpless when they are born.

Four to 18 babies may be born at one time.  Each baby is no longer than your thumbnail.

The babies at once crawl into the mother’s pouch.  The babies stay safe and snug in the pouch , feeding on the mother’s milk until they are big enough to live outside the pouch.

After they leave the pouch, the baby opossums ride around on the mother’s back until they are old enough to take care of themselves.

When fully grown, an opossum is about the size of a common house cat.  – Dick Rogers

 

What is a wolverine?

The wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family, weighing up to thirty pounds.  With its dark, shaggy hair and short bushy tail, the wolverine looks something like a small bear.  It lives in northern forests.

It has a skunk-like scent for defense and is sometimes called a “skunk bear.”

Wolverine

For its size, the wolverine is unequaled in appetite and craftiness, and is the trapper’s worst enemy.

During the winter, the wolverine follows the trapper’s footsteps and skillfully steals the bait from the traps set for more valuable animals, or eats the animals caught in the trap.

The wolverine not only robs the trapper of his bait and catch, but may even sneak into the trapper’s cabin, eat his food and steal anything in sight, including rifles, axes, dishes, even blankets, all of which it carries away and buries.

It repays his “host” by leaving the cabin uninhabitable by its foul smell.

Because they have been hunted ruthlessly, wolverines have become rare in North America and are seldom seen enough of Canada today. – Dick Rogers

 

What is a chipmunk?

A chipmunk is a friendly, chattering little animal that looks like its cousin the ground squirrel.

A chipmunk is smaller, though, and is easily recognized by the light and dark stripes running down its back.

Chipmunks live in the forests or forest edges in parts of North America and Asia.

The chipmunk’s home is a burrow dug in the ground, it contains storerooms and a leaf-lined nest.

Chipmunk

Curing the day, the lively little creatures scamper about the ground looking for seeds and nuts to eat.  They have inner cheek pouches which they can stuff with food.

People often feed chipmunks for the fun of seeing them fill their cheeks.  When they are filled with a load of seeds, each cheek may swell to the size of the head itself.

Chipmunks sleep through much of the winter.  But they store food in their burrows to eat during the winter lust in case they should wake up hungry. – Dick Rogers

What is a groundhog?

Groundhog

A groundhog is a funny rodent that burrows in the ground. Its stock body may be two feet long.

Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, make their homes in many parts of North America.

All summer the groundhog nibbles grass, roots, and leaves. Bu October, the groundhog is so fast it can hardly walk. When winter comes, it curls up in the burrow and falls into a deep sleep. The stored fat keeps it alive during its sleep.

Some people have a superstition that the groundhog can tell what the weather will be. On the second day of February, it is supposed to wake from its long sleep and stick its head out of its burrow.

If it sees its shadow, it will be frightened and crawl back into its hole. This is supposed to mean that there will be six more weeks of winter.

But if the sun is not shining it will stay out of its burrow and spring will come soon! – Dick Rogers

What is a horned toad?

Horned Toad

The horned toad is mis-named.  It is not a toad but a lizard.   The name “toad” comes from the toad like shape of its squat body.

The horns of the horned toad are sharp spines that stick out from its head.  Smaller spines cover its scaly body.  These spines give the creature its bristly appearance.

The spines protect the horned toad from being swallowed by hungry animals.  The horned toad dwells throughout the dry plains and deserts of North America.  A fully grown horned toad may be only a few inches long.

The color of the horned toads skin matches the sandy color of the desert and makes it hard to see.

When threatened, the horned toad quickly buries itself in the sand.  If it falls to do so in time it may squirt a thin yet of blood out of its eyelids to drive away its attack.

In some places, the horned toad is protected-because it eats harmful insects. – Dick Rogers

 

 

 

What is a timber wolf?

Timber Wolf

Most people have a good idea of what a wolf looks like, even if they have never seen one outside a zoo.  The most common wolf in North America is the big timber wolf.

This wild relative of the dog looks very much like a large German shepherd dog and lives in the remote mountains and forests where few people live.

A timber wolf may be nearly 5 feet long and weigh well over 100 pounds.  It is also called a gray wolf because its long shaggy fur is usually gray, but it can be most brown, black or almost white.

Timber wolves often work together in packs to hunt for their food.

People  who make a study of wolves think that the howls of wolves in the nighttime are calls to other wolves to help keep the group together even long distances.

Fearsome stones are often told of wolves attacking people but few reports of a wolf attack have been proved in North America. – Dick Rogers

How do flying squirrels fly?

Flying-squirrel

Squirrels don’t have wings, but the flying squirrel seems to fly, though not like a bird.  It just glides from tree to tree in search of food.

The flying squirrel has folds of skin between its front and back feet.

When it leaps into space from a high limb, the flying squirrel spreads its feet wide.

The parachute-like folds of skin connecting its feet stretch out and convert the flying squirrel into a tiny living glider.  It can glide a downward angle as far as 125 feet.

Twisting and banking with the aid of its bushy tail, the flying squirrel guides itself to the trunk of another tree.

The flight ends as the squirrel lands upright on the tree to climb again for the next gliding leap.

Flying squirrels can be found living in the forests of North America, Asia and Europe.

During the day they sleep in nests hidden in tree hollows.  They come out at night to hunt for berries, insects, and nuts.  – Dick Rogers