The desert cottontail, known as Audubons cottontail, is a New World cottontail rabbit, and a member of the family Leporidae. The desert cottontail is found throughout the western United States from eastern Montana to western Texas, westwards its range extends to central Nevada and southern California and Baja California. It is found at heights of up to 2,000 m and it is particularly associated with the dry near-desert grasslands of the American southwest, though it is found in less arid habitats such as pinyon-juniper forest. The desert cottontail is quite similar in appearance to the European rabbit and it is social among its peers, often gathering in small groups to feed. The desert cottontail uses burrows made by rodents rather than making its own, like all cottontail rabbits, the desert cottontail has a rounded tail with white fur on the underside which is visible as it runs away. It is a light grayish-brown in color, with almost white fur on the belly, adults are 33 to 43 cm long and weigh up to 1.5 kg.
The ears are 8 to 10 cm long, and the feet are large. There is little sexual dimorphism, but females tend to be larger than the males, the desert cottontail is not usually active in the middle of the day, but it can be seen in the early morning or late afternoon. It mainly eats grass, but will eat other plants, vegetables. It rarely needs to drink, getting its water mostly from the plants it eats or from dew, like most lagomorphs, it is coprophagic, re-ingesting and chewing its own feces, this allows more nutrition to be extracted. Southwestern Native Americans hunted them for meat but used their fur, the cottontails normal anti-predator behavior is to run away in evasive zigzags, it can reach speeds of over 30 km/h. The young are born in a burrow or above ground, but they are helpless when born. Where climate and food supply permit, females can produce several litters a year, unlike the European rabbit, they do not form social burrow systems, but compared with some other leporids, they are extremely tolerant of other individuals in their vicinity.
The lifespan of a cottontail averages about two years, depending on the location, unfortunately for the cottontail, almost every living carnivorous creature larger or faster than the Lagomorph is its predator. Cottontail lagomorphs borrow burrows that have been vacated by other animals and she is defenseless against any and all that would get close enough to eat her or her young. Though cottontails are very sexually active creatures, and mated pairs have several offspring many times in all seasons and those that do manage to avoid being eaten, grow very quickly and are considered full grown adults at three months. It can only use its nose to move and adjust the position of the food that it directly in front of its front paws on the ground. The cottontail rabbit will turn the food with its nose to find the cleanest part of the vegetation to begin its meal, the only time a cottontail uses its front paws to enable eating is when vegetation is above its head on a living plant
Although a common and widespread species, it has a somewhat more restricted distribution than its compatriot, the turkey vulture, which breeds well into Canada and south to Tierra del Fuego. Despite the similar name and appearance, this species is unrelated to the Eurasian black vulture, the latter species is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae, whereas the American species is a New World vulture. It is the only extant member of the genus Coragyps, which is in the family Cathartidae and it inhabits relatively open areas which provide scattered forests or shrublands. With a wingspan of 1.5 m, the black vulture is a large bird though relatively small for a vulture and it has black plumage, a featherless, grayish-black head and neck, and a short, hooked beak. The black vulture is a scavenger and feeds on carrion, in areas populated by humans, it feeds at garbage dumps. It finds its meals either by using its keen eyesight or by following other vultures, lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses.
It lays its eggs in caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground, in the United States, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This vulture appeared in Mayan codices, the common name vulture is derived from the Latin word vulturus, which means tearer and is a reference to its feeding habits. The species name, means clothed in black, from the Latin ater black, the genus name, Coragyps means raven-vulture, from a contraction of the Greek corax/κόραξ and gyps/γὺψ for the respective birds. The family name, means purifier and is derived from the Greek kathartēs/καθαρτης. The exact taxonomic placement of the vulture and the remaining six species of New World vultures remains unclear. Though both are similar in appearance and have similar roles, the New World and Old World vultures evolved from different ancestors in different parts of the world. Just how different the two are is currently under debate, with earlier authorities suggesting that the New World vultures are more closely related to storks.
More recent authorities maintain their position in the order Falconiformes along with the Old World vultures, or place them in their own order. There are three subspecies of black vulture, C. a. atratus, named by the German ornithologist Johann Matthäus Bechstein in 1793, is known as the North American black vulture. It is approximately the size as C. a. foetens. Its range stretches from northern Mexico through Texas and the southern United States north to New Jersey, C. a. brasiliensis, named by Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte in 1850, is known as the Southern American black vulture. It is smaller than C. a. atratus and C. a. foetens, the light markings on the undersides of the primaries are whiter and broader than those of the other subspecies, and the underwing coverts are lighter than those of C. a. foetens
Camelops is an extinct genus of camel that once roamed western North America, where it disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene about 10,000 years ago. It was very closely related to the Old World Dromedary and Bactrian camel in anatomical form and its name is derived from the Greek κάμελος + ὀψ, thus camel-face. The genus Camelops first appeared during the Late Pliocene period and became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene, the camel and horse families originated in the Americas and migrated into Asia via the Bering Strait. The skull of a Camelops was found above the Glenns Ferry Formation, above this layer of gravel is another layer of fine river channel sands, where the skull was found. This indicates that the Camelops is perhaps as young as 2 million years old and this can be inferred because it is younger than the other fossils found at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. This rich diversity decreased until only a few species, such as Camelops hesternus, remained in North America, Camelops extinction was part of a larger North American die-off in which native horses and mastodons died out.
This megafaunal extinction coincided roughly with the appearance of the big game hunting Clovis culture, because soft tissues are generally not preserved in the fossil record, it is not certain if Camelops possessed a hump, like modern camels, or lacked one, like its modern llama relatives. Camelops hesternus was 2.2 m tall at the shoulder and it was slightly heavier also, weighing about 800 kg. Plant remains found in its teeth exhibit little grass, suggesting that the camel was an opportunistic herbivore, Camelops probably could travel long distances, similar to the living camel. The last species of Camelops are hypothesized to have disappeared as a result of the Blitzkrieg model and this model presents the hypothesis that Camelops, along with other North American megafauna, disappeared as the result of North American hunters moving southeastward. The result of movement of humans and the growth of the population was the reduction in prey ranges for the megafauna. Of the many Camelops specimens recovered in North America, mostly in the Wisconsin region, however some have been interpreted as having been killed by humans based on spirally fractured bone fragments.
None of the reported Camelops sites have associated with stone tools. At many of these Camelops sites, there were no fossils of carcasses that were evidently processed, the Walmart camel is the fossil of a prehistoric mammal, originally thought to be a camel, found at a Walmart construction site in Mesa, Arizona in 2007. Workers digging a hole for a citrus tree found the bones of two animals that may have lived about 10,000 years ago. Arizona State University Geology Museum curator Brad Archer called it an important, other fossils, positively identified as camel bones, were found in Gilbert, Arizona in May 2008. Aepycamelus Oxydactylus Pleistocene megafauna Poebrotherium Procamelus Protylopus Snowmastodon Project Stenomylus Syrian camel, an extinct species that reached at least 9 feet tall at the shoulder
The wild turkey is an upland ground bird native to North America and is the heaviest member of the diverse Galliformes. It is the species as the domestic turkey, which was originally derived from a southern Mexican subspecies of wild turkey. Although native to North America, the turkey probably got its name from the variety being imported to Britain in ships coming from the Levant via Spain. The British at the time therefore associated the turkey with the country Turkey. Adult wild turkeys have long reddish-yellow to grayish-green legs, the body feathers are generally blackish and dark, sometimes grey brown overall with a coppery sheen that becomes more complex in adult males. Adult males, called toms or gobblers, have a large, reddish head, red throat, the head has fleshy growths called caruncles. Juvenile males are called jakes, the difference between a male and a juvenile is that the jake has a very short beard. The adult males tail fan feathers will be all the same length. When males are excited, a flap on the bill expands, and this, the wattles.
The long fleshy object over a males beak is called a snood, each foot has three toes in front, with a shorter, rear-facing toe in back, males have a spur behind each of their lower legs. Male turkeys have a long, fan-shaped tail and glossy bronze wings, as with many other species of the Galliformes, turkeys exhibit strong sexual dimorphism. The male is larger than the female, and his feathers have areas of red, green, bronze. The preen gland is larger in male turkeys compared to female ones. In contrast to the majority of birds, they are colonized by bacteria of unknown function. Females, called hens, have feathers that are duller overall, in shades of brown, parasites can dull coloration of both sexes, in males, coloration may serve as a signal of health. The primary wing feathers have white bars, Turkeys have 5000 to 6000 feathers. Tail feathers are of the length in adults, different lengths in juveniles. Males typically have a beard, a tuft of hair growing from the center of the breast
Botta's pocket gopher
Bottas pocket gopher is a pocket gopher native to western North America. It is known in sources as valley pocket gopher. Both the specific and common names of this species honor Paul-Émile Botta, Bottas pocket gopher is a medium-sized gopher, with adults reaching a length of 18 to 27 cm, including a tail of 5 to 6 cm. Males are larger, with a weight of 160–250 g, compared with 120–200 g in the females, coloration is highly variable, and has been used to help distinguish some of the many subspecies, it may change over the course of a year as the animals molt. Both albino and melanistic individuals have been reported, Bottas pocket gophers are found from California east to Texas, and from Utah and southern Colorado south to Mexico. They are found at elevations up to at least 4,200 metres, skeletal remains of Bottas pocket gophers, dating back 31,000 years, have been identified from Oklahoma. Around 195 subspecies have been described, mostly on the basis of geographical distribution, some of these have previously been described as distinct species in their own right.
Shoots and grasses are important, supplemented by roots, tubers. An individual often pulls plants into the ground by the roots to them in the safety of its burrow. Main predators of this species include American badgers, long-tailed weasels, and snakes, but other predators include skunks, owls and hawks. Digging by Bottas pocket gophers is estimated to aerate the soil to a depth of about 20 cm, and to be responsible for the creation of Mima mounds up to 2 m in height. Populations of the species have been estimated to mine as much as 28 tonnes of soil per hectare per year, much of which is moved below ground, rather than being pushed up into the mounds. The species has associated with the deaths of aspen in Arizona. Bottas pocket gopher is highly adaptable, burrowing into a diverse array of soils from loose sands to tightly packed clays. They are able to tolerate such a range of soils in part because they dig primarily with their teeth. In comparison, gophers digging with their claws are generally able to dig in softer soils.
Bottas pocket gophers are active for a total of nine hours each day, spending most of their time feeding in their burrows. They make little sound, although they do communicate by making clicking noises, soft hisses and their burrows include multiple deep chambers for nesting, food storage, and defecation, that be as much as 1.6 m below ground
The bighorn sheep is a species of sheep native to North America named for its large horns. These horns can weigh up to 14 kilograms, while the sheep themselves weigh up to 140 kg, recent genetic testing indicates three distinct subspecies of Ovis canadensis, one of which is endangered, O. c. sierrae. By 1900, the population had crashed to several thousand, due to diseases introduced through European livestock, divergence from their closest Asian ancestor occurred about 600,000 years ago. In North America, wild sheep diverged into two extant species—Dall sheep, which occupy Alaska and northwestern Canada, and bighorn sheep, which range from southern Canada to Mexico. However, the status of species is questionable given that hybridization has occurred between them in their recent evolutionary history. This subspecies has been extinct since 1925, California bighorn sheep, O. c. californiana, are found from British Columbia south to California and east to North Dakota. The definition of this subspecies has been updated, nelsons bighorn sheep, O. c.
nelsoni, the most common desert bighorn sheep, ranges from California through Arizona. Mexican bighorn sheep, O. c. mexicana, range from Arizona and New Mexico south to Sonora and Chihuahua. Peninsular bighorn sheep O. c. cremnobates, occur in the Peninsular Ranges of California and Baja California Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, weems bighorn sheep, O. c. weemsi, are found in Baja California. However, starting in 1993, Ramey and colleagues, using DNA testing, have shown this division into seven subspecies is largely illusory, most scientists currently recognize three subspecies of bighorn. Thus the three subspecies of Ovis canadensis, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep – occupying the U. S. and Canadian Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep – formerly California bighorn sheep, a genetically distinct subspecies that only occurs in the Sierra Nevada in California. However, historic observer records suggest that bighorn sheep may have ranged as far west as the California Coastal Ranges which are contiguous to the Sierra Nevada via the Transverse Ranges.
An account of sheep in the vicinity of the Mission San Antonio near Jolon, California. Desert bighorn sheep – occurring throughout the regions of the Southwestern United States. The 2016 genetics study suggested more modest divergence of this desert bighorn sheep into three lineages consistent with the work of Cowan, Nelson and Peninsular. These three lineages occupy desert biomes that vary significantly in climate, suggesting exposure to different selection regimes, Bighorn sheep are named for the large, curved horns borne by the rams. Ewes have horns, but they are shorter with less curvature and they range in color from light brown to grayish or dark, chocolate brown, with a white rump and lining on the backs of all four legs. Males typically weigh 58–143 kg, are 90–105 cm tall at the shoulder, females are typically 34–91 kg, 75–90 cm tall, and 1. 28–1.58 m long
The American kestrel is the smallest and most common falcon in North America. It has about a two to one range in size over subspecies and sex, varying in size from about the weight of a blue jay to a mourning dove. It ranges to South America, and is an established species that has evolved seventeen subspecies adapted to different environments and habitats throughout the Americas. It exhibits sexual dimorphism in size and plumage, although both sexes have a back with noticeable barring. Its plumage is colorful and attractive, and juveniles are similar in plumage to adults, the American kestrel usually hunts in energy conserving fashion by perching and scanning the ground for prey to ambush, though it hunts from the air. It sometimes hovers in the air with rapid wing beats while homing in on prey and its diet typically consists of grasshoppers and other insects, lizards and small birds. This broad diet has contributed to its success as a species. It nests in cavities in trees, buildings, the female lays three to seven eggs, which both sexes help to incubate.
Its breeding range extends from central and western Alaska across northern Canada to Nova Scotia, and south throughout North America, into central Mexico and it is a local breeder in Central America and is widely distributed throughout South America. Most birds breeding in Canada and the northern United States migrate south in the winter and it is an occasional vagrant to western Europe. Though the species has not been renamed as a result of genetic analyses. Instead, a process of convergent evolution to fit a small prey niche in the ecosystem as the true kestrels has left it with similar physical characteristics. The American kestrel is a bird used in falconry, especially by beginners. Under traditional classification, the American kestrel is the smallest raptor in America, the American kestrel is sexually dimorphic, although there is some overlap in plumage coloration between the sexes. The bird ranges from 22 to 31 cm in length with a wingspan of 51–61 cm, the female kestrel is larger than the male, though less so than larger falcons, being typically about 10% to 15% larger within a subspecies.
The more northern subspecies tend to larger sizes, with a large northern female being about twice the size of a small southern male, the male typically weighs 80–143 g, and the female 86–165 g. In standard measurements, the bone is 16–21 cm long, the tail is 11–15 cm. Physically, American kestrels are leaner and less muscular than larger falcons, the pectoral flight muscles of the American kestrel make up only about 12% of its body weight, as compared to about 20% for the strongest flying falcons such as the peregrine
The black-footed ferret, known as the American polecat or prairie dog hunter, is a species of mustelid native to central North America. It is listed as endangered by the IUCN, because of its very small, first discovered by Audubon and Bachman in 1851, the species declined throughout the 20th century, primarily as a result of decreases in prairie dog populations and sylvatic plague. It was declared extinct in 1979 until Lucille Hoggs dog brought a dead black-footed ferret to her door in Meeteetse and that remnant population of a few dozen ferrets lasted there until the animals were considered extinct in the wild in 1987. However, a breeding program launched by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service resulted in its reintroduction into eight western states. There are now over 1,000 mature, wild-born individuals in the wild across 18 populations, with four self-sustaining populations in South Dakota and Wyoming. The black-footed ferret is roughly the size of a mink, in contrast, differences between the black-footed ferret and the steppe polecat of Asia are slight, to the point where the two species were once thought to be conspecific.
The only noticeable differences between the black-footed ferret and the steppe polecat are the much shorter and coarser fur, larger ears. It is largely nocturnal and solitary, except when breeding or raising litters, up to 91% of its diet is composed of prairie dogs. Like its close cousin, the Asian steppe polecat, the ferret represents a more progressive form than the European polecat in the direction of carnivory. The black-footed ferrets most likely ancestor was Mustela stromeri, which originated in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene, molecular evidence indicates that the steppe polecat and black-footed ferret diverged from Mustela stromeri sometime between 500,000 and 2,000,000 years ago, perhaps in Beringia. The species appeared in the Great Basin and the Rockies by 750,000 years ago, the oldest recorded fossil find originates from Cathedral Cave, White Pine County and dates back to 750, 000–950,000 years ago. Prairie dog fossils have found in six sites where ferrets are yielded. This suggests that the ferret and prairie dogs did not historically have an obligate predator-prey relationship.
The species has always been rare, and the modern black-footed ferret represents a relic population. The earliest reported occurrence of the species is from a late Illinoian deposit in Clay County, fossils have been found in Alaska dating from the Pleistocene. The black-footed ferret has a body and a blunt head. The forehead is arched and broad, and the muzzle is short and it has few whiskers, and its ears are triangular, short and broad at the base. The neck is long and the short and stout
The Guadalupe Mountains are a mountain range located in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The Guadalupe Mountains are bordered by the Pecos River valley and Llano Estacado to the east and north, Delaware Mountains to the south, archaeological evidence has shown that people lived over 10,000 years ago in and among the many caves and alcoves. The first humans to live here were hunter-gatherers that followed a large game, artifacts that support this include projectile points, baskets and rock art. The first Europeans to arrive in the area were the Spaniards in the 16th century, the Spanish introduced horses into the area, and nomadic indigenous tribes of the area like the Apaches soon found horses to be an asset for hunting and migrating. Mescalero Apaches were nomadic and followed the game and harvested the agave for food, agave roasting pits and other artifacts of Mescalero culture can be found in the park. The Mescalero Apaches remained in the mountains through the mid-19th century, during the 1840s and 1850s, many people immigrating west crossed the area.
In 1858, Pinery station was constructed near Pine Springs for the Butterfield Overland Mail, the Butterfield Overland Mail traveled over Guadalupe Pass located at 5,534 ft above sea level. A Cavalry was known as the Buffalo Soldiers were ordered to the area to stop Indian raids on settlements, during the winter of 1869, Lt. H. B. Cushing led his troops into the Guadalupe Mountains and destroyed two Mescalero Apache camps, the Mescalero Apache were eventually driven out of the area and into US indian reservations. Felix McKittrick was one of the first European settlers in the Guadalupe Mountains, McKittrick Canyon is thought to be named after him. Frijole Ranch was the first permanent ranch house, it was constructed in 1876 by the Rader brothers, Frijole Ranch House was the only major building in the region, it served as a community center and regional post office from 1916-1942. Today, the Frijole Ranch House has been restored and operates as a cultural museum, in 1908, Williams Ranch House was built, and it was named after one of its inhabitants, James Adolphus Williams.
Hunter from Van Horn, Texas consolidated most of the ranches in the area into the Guadalupe Mountain Ranch. In 1921, Wallace Pratt, a geologist for Humble Oil and Refining Company, was impressed by the beauty of McKittrick Canyon, both constructions were used as summer homes by Pratt and his family up until 1960. Wallace Pratt donated about 6,000 acres of McKittrick Canyon which became part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the Guadalupe Mountains reach their highest point at Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, with an elevation of 8,751 feet. The range lies southeast of the Sacramento Mountains and east of the Brokeoff Mountains, the mountain range extends north-northwest and northeast from Guadalupe Peak in Texas into New Mexico. The northeastern extension ends about 10 miles southwest of Carlsbad, near Whites City and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the mountains rise more than 3,000 feet above the arid floor of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Guadalupe Mountains are surrounded by the South Plains to the east and north, Delaware Mountains to the south, the northwestern extension, bounded by a dramatic escarpment known as The Rim, extends much further into New Mexico, to near the Sacramento Mountains
The cougar, commonly known as the mountain lion, panther, or catamount, is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae native to the Americas. Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the greatest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, an adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types. It is the second-heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar and largely solitary by nature, the cougar is properly considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although there are daytime sightings. The cougar is more related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat, than to any species of subfamily Pantherinae. The cougar is a predator and pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources are ungulates, particularly deer, but livestock and it hunts species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, the cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities.
Individual territory sizes depend on terrain and abundance of prey, while large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding to the jaguar, gray wolf, American black bear, and grizzly bear. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people, fatal attacks on humans are rare, but have recently been increasing in North America as more people enter their territories. Intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and the human development of cougar habitat has caused populations to drop in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, reports of eastern cougars still surface, although it was declared extirpated in 2011. With its vast range across the length of the Americas, P. concolor has dozens of names and various references in the mythology of the indigenous Americans and in contemporary culture. Currently, it is referred to as puma by most scientists, Mountain lion was a term first used in writing in 1858 from the diary of George A.
Jackson of Colorado. Other names include catamount, mountain screamer, and painter, lexicographers regard painter as a primarily upper-Southern US regional variant on panther. The word panther is used to specifically designate the black panther, a melanistic jaguar or leopard, and the Florida panther. P. concolor holds the Guinness record for the animal with the greatest number of names, Cougar may be borrowed from the archaic Portuguese çuçuarana, the term was originally derived from the Tupi language susuarana, meaning similar to deer. A current form in Brazil is suçuarana and it may be borrowed from the Guaraní language term guaçu ara or guazu ara. Less common Portuguese terms are onça-parda or leão-baio, or unusually non-native puma or leão-da-montanha, people in rural regions often refer to both the cougar and the jaguar as simply gata, and outside of the Amazon, both are colloquially referred to as simply onça by many people
Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east, the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean, the geography and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse. At 3.8 million square miles and with over 324 million people, the United States is the worlds third- or fourth-largest country by area, third-largest by land area. It is one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century, the United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the following the Seven Years War led to the American Revolution. On July 4,1776, during the course of the American Revolutionary War, the war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by Great Britain, representing the first successful war of independence against a European power.
The current constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the end of slavery in the country. By the end of century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the status as a global military power. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the sole superpower. The U. S. is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States. The United States is a developed country, with the worlds largest economy by nominal GDP. It ranks highly in several measures of performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP. While the U. S. economy is considered post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge economy, the United States is a prominent political and cultural force internationally, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations.
In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci