Total Pageviews

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Here Comes Eastern Cottontail...

and Eastern Squirrel!

Today in honor of the Easter Bunny...and all his furry friends that are seen this time of year...I thought we would talk about this bouncy critter as well as his friend the squirrel.

Eastern cottontail

General information
Eastern cottontails occur in the eastern half of the country. They prefer brushy cover inter­spersed with Stage 3. Eastern cottontails are also found in suburban areas, parks, golf cours­es and stream corridors. Eastern cottontails rep­resent prey for the majority of carnivorous pred­ators within its range. They are prolific breeders, however, as female may have seven litters per year, with 3 to 6 young per litter. This is required to perpetuate populations as 70 percent to 80 per­cent of all rabbits die each year.

Habitat requirements
Diet: forbs and grasses (Stages 2 and 3), browse, and soft mast from spring through fall; in winter, bark of shrubs and trees, as well as buds, grain and browse
Water: necessary water obtained from diet
Cover: shrub cover, brush piles, native perennial warm-season grasses and forbs (Stage 3) for loafing and escape cover; burrows are also used for denning and escape

Eastern gray squirrel

General information
The Eastern gray squirrel lives primarily in Stage 6 deciduous forests and woodlands. They also forage along the edge of crop fields, espe­cially harvested cornfields. These squirrels have adapted to parks and other urban areas where mature trees are available. Eastern gray squir­rels forage both in trees and on the ground. They den in cavities of mature trees and also build nests generally 30 feet or more above ground. Eastern gray squirrels will use nest boxes, but they are not necessary since nests are built in the absence of cavities; thus, available cavities are not a limiting factor for population growth.

Habitat requirements
Diet: a variety of hard and soft mast, miscella­neous seeds, grains, bark, buds and mush­rooms; they may also eat eggs
Water: necessary water is generally obtained through diet, but free-standing water is also used
Cover: Stage 6 forest and woodlands; suburban and urban areas with mature trees; den in tree cavities and also build nests of leaves and twigs

We also learned a lot about the different groupings for the management techniques...thank you to Ms. Renee!  I will have that for everyone next week!  

Then we went out on the trails and examined the canopy for density and the ability for light to come in through the tops of the trees.  Everything looked great for the squirrels and other wildlife.  A great time was had by all as we discovered an old bike trail with ramp to take a group picture out in the nature we all love!

No comments:

Post a Comment