The groundhog known as a woodchuck, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. It was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758; the groundhog is referred to as a chuck, wood-shock, whistlepig, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, moonack, red monk and, among French Canadians in eastern Canada, siffleux. The name "thickwood badger" was given in the Northwest to distinguish the animal from the prairie badger. Monax is an Algonquian name of the woodchuck, which meant "digger". Young groundhogs may be called chucklings. Other marmots, such as the yellow-bellied and hoary marmots, live in rocky and mountainous areas, but the groundhog is a lowland creature, it is found through much of the eastern United States across Canada and into Alaska The groundhog is the largest sciurid in its geographical range. Adults are 16 to 20 inches long, including a six-inch tail. A large woodchuck thought to weigh twenty pounds when carried was half that weight when weighed by scale.
Woodchuck weight ranges from five to twelve pounds. Large individuals may weigh up to 15 pounds. Seasonal weight changes indicate circannual use of fat. Groundhogs attain progressivly higher weights each year for the first two or three years, after which weight plateaus. Groundhogs have four incisor teeth. Constant usage wears them down again by about that much each week. Unlike the incisors of many other rodents, the incisors of groundhogs are white to ivory-white. Groundhogs are well-adapted for digging, with curved, thick claws. Unlike other sciurids, the groundhog's tail is comparably shorter—only about one-fourth of body length; the etymology of the name woodchuck is unrelated to chucking. It stems from an Algonquian name for wuchak; the similarity between the words has led to the popular tongue-twister: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could if a woodchuck could chuck wood! The groundhog prefers open country and the edges of woodland, is far from a burrow entrance.
Marmota monax has a wide geographic range. It is found in low-elevation forests, small woodlots, fields and hedgerows, it constructs dens in well-drained soil, most have summer and winter dens. Human activity has increased food abundance allowing M. monax to thrive. In the wild, groundhogs can live up to six years with three being average. In captivity, groundhogs live up to 14 years. Humans, dogs and foxes are about the only predators that can kill adult groundhogs although young may be taken by owls and hawks; the red fox is the major predator of Marmota monax. Woodchucks may suffer from parasitism and a woodchuck may die from infestation or from bacteria transmitted by vectors. In areas of intensive agriculture and dairying regions of the state of Wisconsin the southern parts, the woodchuck by 1950 had been extirpated. Jackson suggested the amount of damage done by the woodchuck had been exaggerated and that excessive persecution by people reduced its numbers in Wisconsin. In some areas marmots are important game animals and are killed for sport, food, or fur.
In Kentucky an estimated 267,500 M. monax were taken annually from 1964 to 1971 Woodchucks had protected status in the state of Wisconsin until 2017. Woodchuck numbers appear to have decreased in Illinois; the time spent observing groundhogs by field biologists represents only a small fraction of time devoted to the field research. W. J. Schoonmaker reports that groundhogs may hide when they smell or hear the observer. Ken Armitage, marmot researcher, states that the social biology of the groundhog is well understudied. Despite their heavy-bodied appearance, groundhogs are accomplished swimmers and climb trees when escaping predators or when they want to survey their surroundings, they prefer to retreat to their burrows. Groundhogs are agonistic and territorial among their own species, may skirmish to establish dominance. Outside their burrow, individuals are alert when not feeding, it is common to see one or more nearly-motionless individuals standing erect on their hind feet watching for danger.
When alarmed, they use a high-pitched whistle to warn the rest of the colony, hence the name "whistle-pig". Groundhogs may squeal when fighting injured, or caught by a predator. Other sounds groundhogs may make are a sound produced by grinding their teeth. David P. Barash wrote he witnessed only two occasions of upright play-fighting among woodchucks and that the upright posture of play-fighting involves sustained physical contact between individuals and may require a degree of social tolerance unknown in M. monax. He said it was possible to conclude, that upright play-fighting is part of the woodchuck's behavioral repertory but shown because of physical spacing and/or low social tolerance. Herbivorous, groundhogs eat wild grasses and other vegetation, including berries and agricultural crops, when available. In early spring and coltsfoot are important groundhog food items; some additional foods include sheep sorrel, timothy-grass, tearthumb, agrimony and black raspberries, plantain, wild lettuce, all varieties of clover, alfalfa.
Groundhogs occasionally eat grubs
The harbor seal known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most distributed species of pinniped, they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Baltic and North Seas. Harbor seals are silvery white, tan, or gray, with distinctive V-shaped nostrils. An adult can attain a mass of 132 kg. Blubber under the seal's skin helps to maintain body temperature. Females outlive males. Harbor seals stick to familiar resting spots or haulout sites rocky areas where they are protected from adverse weather conditions and predation, near a foraging area. Males may fight over mates on land. Females bear a single pup after a nine-month gestation. Pups are able to swim and dive within hours of birth, they develop on their mothers' fat-rich milk, are weaned after four to six weeks. The global population of harbor seals is 350,000–500,000, but subspecies in certain habitats are threatened. Once a common practice, sealing is now illegal in many nations within the animal's range.
Individual harbor seals possess a unique pattern of spots, either dark on a light background or light on a dark. They vary in color from brownish grey; the body and flippers are short, heads are rounded. Nostrils appear distinctively V-shaped; as with other true seals, there is no pinna. An ear canal may be visible behind the eye. Including the head and flippers, they may reach an adult length of 1.85 meters and a weight of 55 to 168 kg. Females are smaller than males. There are an estimated 350,000–500,000 harbor seals worldwide. While the population is not threatened as a whole, the Greenland, Hokkaidō and Baltic Sea populations are exceptions. Local populations have been reduced or eliminated through disease and conflict with humans, both unintentionally and intentionally. Killing seals perceived to threaten fisheries is legal in the United Kingdom and Canada, but commercial hunting is illegal. Seals are taken in subsistence hunting and accidentally as bycatch. Along the Norwegian coast, bycatch accounted for 48% of pup mortality.
Seals in the United Kingdom are protected by the 1970 Conservation of Seals Act, which prohibits most forms of killing. In the United States, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 prohibits the killing of any marine mammals and most local ordinances, as well as NOAA, instruct citizens to leave them alone unless serious danger to the seal exists; the five subspecies of Phoca vitulina are: Western Atlantic common seals, P. v. concolor, inhabit eastern North America. The validity of this subspecies is questionable, not supported by genetic evidence. Ungava seals, P. v. mellonae, are found in eastern Canada in fresh water. Pacific common seals, P. v. richardsi, are located in western North America. Insular seals, Phoca vitulina stejnegeri, are in eastern Asia. Eastern Atlantic common seals, P. v. vitulina, from Europe and western Asia. Harbor seals prefer to frequent familiar resting sites, they may spend several days at sea and travel up to 50 km in search of feeding grounds, will swim 100+ miles upstream into fresh water in large rivers.
Resting sites may be both rugged, rocky coasts, such as those of the Hebrides or the shorelines of New England, or sandy beaches. Harbor seals congregate in harbors, sandy intertidal zones, estuaries in pursuit of prey fish such as salmon, anchovy, sea bass, mackerel, cod and flatfish, shrimp, crabs and squid. Atlantic subspecies of either Europe or North America exploit deeper-dwelling fish of the genus Ammodytes as a food source and Pacific subspecies have been recorded consuming fish of the genus Oncorhynchus. Although coastal, dives to over 500 m have been recorded. Harbor seals have been recorded to attack and eat several kinds of duck. Harbor seals are solitary, but are gregarious when hauled out and during the breeding season, though they do not form groups as large as some other seals; when not feeding, they haul to rest. They tend to be coastal, not venturing more than 20 km offshore; the mating system thought to be polygamous. Females give birth once per year, with a gestation period around nine months.
Females have a mean age at sexual maturity of 3.72 years and a mean age at first parturition of 4.64. Both courtship and mating occur under water. Pregnancy rate of females was 92% from age 3 to age 36, with lowered reproductive success after the age of 25 years. Birthing of pups occurs annually on shore; the timing of the pupping season varies with location, occurring in February for populations in lower latitudes, as late as July in the subarctic zone. The mothers are the sole providers with lactation lasting 24 days. Researchers have found males gather under water, turn on their backs, put their heads together, vocalize to attract females ready for breeding; the single pups are born capable of swimming and diving within hours. Suckling for three to four weeks, pups grow rapidly. Harbor seals must spend a great deal of time on
The Miꞌkmaq or Miꞌgmaq are a First Nations people indigenous to Canada's Atlantic Provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec as well as the northeastern region of Maine. They call their national territory Miꞌkmaꞌki; the nation has a population of about 170,000, of whom nearly 11,000 speak Miꞌkmaq, an Eastern Algonquian language. Once written in Miꞌkmaq hieroglyphic writing, it is now written using most letters of the Latin alphabet; the Santé Mawiómi, or Grand Council, was the traditional senior level of government for the Miꞌkmaq people until Canada passed the Indian Act to require First Nations to establish representative elected governments. After implementation of the Indian Act, the Grand Council took on a more spiritual function; the Grand Council was made up of chiefs of the seven district councils of Miꞌkmaꞌki. In 2011, the Government of Canada announced recognition to a group in Newfoundland and Labrador called the Qalipu First Nation; the new band, landless, had accepted 25,000 applications to become part of the band by October 2012.
In total over 100,000 applications were sent in to join the Qalipu, equivalent of 1/5 of the province's population. The Qalipu band's Miꞌkmaq heritage has been considered illegitimate by several Miꞌkmaq institutions, including the Grand Council; the ethnonym has traditionally been spelled Micmac in English. The people themselves have used different spellings: Miꞌkmaq in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland; until the 1980s, "Micmac" remained the most common spelling in English. Although still referred to, this spelling has fallen out of favour in recent years. Most scholarly publications now use the spelling Miꞌkmaq, as preferred by the people; the media have adopted this spelling practice, acknowledging that the Miꞌkmaq consider the spelling Micmac as "colonially tainted". The Miꞌkmaq prefer to use one of the three current Miꞌkmaq orthographies. Lnu is the term the Miꞌkmaq use for themselves, their autonym, meaning "human being" or "the people". Various explanations exist for the origin of the term Miꞌkmaq.
The Miꞌkmaw Resource Guide says that "Miꞌkmaq" means "the family": The definite article "the" suggests that "Miꞌkmaq" is the undeclined form indicated by the initial letter "m". When declined in the singular it reduces to the following forms: nikmaq - my family; the variant form Miꞌkmaw plays two grammatical roles: 1) It is the singular of Miꞌkmaq and 2) it is an adjective in circumstances where it precedes a noun The Anishinaabe refer to the Miꞌkmaq as Miijimaa, meaning "The Brother/Ally", with the use of the nX prefix m-, opposed to the use of n1 prefix n- or the n3 prefix w-. Other hypotheses include the following: The name "Micmac" was first recorded in a memoir by de La Chesnaye in 1676. Professor Ganong in a footnote to the word megamingo, as used by Marc Lescarbot, remarked "that it is altogether probable that in this word lies the origin of the name Micmac." As suggested in this paper on the customs and beliefs of the Micmacs, it would seem that megumaagee the name used by the Micmacs, or the Megumawaach, as they called themselves, for their land, is from the words megwaak, "red", magumegek, "on the earth", or as Rand recorded, "red on the earth", megakumegek, "red ground", "red earth".
The Micmacs must have thought of themselves as the Red Earth People, or the People of the Red Earth. Others seeking a meaning for the word Micmac have suggested that it is from nigumaach, my brother, my friend, a word, used as a term of endearment by a husband for his wife... Still another explanation for the word Micmac suggested by Stansbury Hagar in "Micmac Magic and Medicine" is that the word megumawaach is from megumoowesoo, the name of the Micmacs' legendary master magicians, from whom the earliest Micmac wizards are said to have received their power. Members of the Miꞌkmaq referred to themselves as Lnu, but used the term níkmaq as a greeting; the French referred to the Miꞌkmaq as Souriquois and as Gaspesiens, or Mickmakis. The British referred to them as Tarrantines. Archaeologist Dean Snow says that the deep linguistic split between the Miꞌkmaq and the Eastern Algonquians to the southwest suggests the Miꞌkmaq developed an independent prehistoric sequence in their territory, it emphasized maritime orientation, as the area had few major river systems.
According to ethnologist T. J. Brasser, as the indigenous people lived in a climate unfavorable for agriculture, small semi-nomadic bands of a few patrilineally related families subsisted on fishing and hunting. Developed leadership did not extend beyond hunting parties; the Miꞌkmaq lived in an annual cycle of seasonal movement between living in dispersed interior winter camps and larger coastal communities during the summer. The spawning runs of March began, they next harvested spawning herring, gathered waterfowl eggs, hunted geese. By May, the seashore offered abundant cod and shellfish, coastal breezes brought relief from the biting black flies, stouts and mosquitoes of the interior. Autumn frost killed the biti
The American mink is a semiaquatic species of mustelid native to North America, though human intervention has expanded its range to many parts of Europe and South America. Because of range expansion, the American mink is classed as a least-concern species by the IUCN. Since the extinction of the sea mink, the American mink is the only extant member of the genus Neovison; the American mink is a carnivore that feeds on rodents, crustaceans and birds. In its introduced range in Europe it has been classified as an invasive species linked to declines in European mink, Pyrenean desman, water vole populations, it is the animal most farmed for its fur, exceeding the silver fox, sable and skunk in economic importance. Aleut: ilgitux̂ Blackfoot: aapssiiyai'kayi or soyii'kayi Chickasaw: okfincha Chipewyan: tthełjus Cree: sâkwes Lakhota: ikhúsą Lushootseed: c̓əbál̓qid or bə́ščəb Salish: c̓xlicn̓ Ojibwe: zhaanggweshi Tuscarora: θenę́·ku·t As a species, the American mink represents a more specialized form than the European mink in the direction of carnivory, as indicated by the more developed structure of the skull.
Fossil records of the American mink go back as far as the Irvingtonian, though the species is uncommon among Pleistocene animals. Its fossil range corresponds with the species' current natural range; the American minks of the Pleistocene did not differ much in size or morphology from modern populations, though a slight trend toward increased size is apparent from the Irvingtonian through to the Illinoian and Wisconsinan periods. Although superficially similar to the European mink, studies indicate the American mink's closest relative is the Siberian weasel of Asia; the American mink has been recorded to hybridize with European minks and polecats in captivity, though the hybrid embryos of the American and European minks are reabsorbed. As of 2005, 15 subspecies are recognised; the American mink differs from members of the genus Mustela by its larger size and stouter form, which approach those of martens. It shares with martens a uniformly enlarged and somewhat tapering tail, rather than a slenderly terete tail with an enlarged bushy tip, as is the case in stoats.
The American mink is similar in build to the European mink. The American mink has a long body, its streamlined shape helps it to reduce water resistance whilst swimming. The skull is similar to that of the European mink, but is more massive and less elongated, with more developed projections and a wider, shorter cranium; the upper molars are more massive than those of the European mink. The dental formula is 188.8.131.52.1.3.2. Domestic mink, which are bred in fur farms and are substandard genetically, have 19.6% smaller brains, 8.1% smaller hearts, 28.2% smaller spleens than wild mink. The feet are broad, with webbed digits, it has eight nipples, with one pair of inguinal teats and three pairs of abdominal teats. The adult male's penis is 2.2 in long, is covered by a sheath. The baculum curved at the tip. Males measure 13 -- 18 in in body length -- 15 in; the tail measures 6–10 inches in males and 6–8 in in females. Weights vary with males being heavier than females. In winter, males weigh 1 -- females 1 -- 2 lb.
Maximum heaviness occurs in autumn. The American mink's winter fur is denser, longer and more close-fitting than that of the European mink; the winter fur's tone is very dark blackish-tawny to light-tawny. Colour is evenly distributed over all the body, with the lower side being only lighter than the upper body; the guard hairs are bright and dark-tawny approaching black on the spine. The underfur on the back is wavy and greyish-tawny with a bluish tint; the tail sometimes becomes pure black on the tip. The chin and lower lip are white. Captive individuals tend to develop irregular white patches on the lower surface of their bodies, though escaped individuals from Tartaria lost these patches; the summer fur is shorter and duller than the winter fur. The thick underfur and oily guard hairs render the pelage water-resistant, with the length of the guard hairs being intermediate between those of otters and polecats, thus indicating the American mink is incompletely adapted to an aquatic life, it moults twice a year, during autumn.
It does not turn white in winter. A variety of different colour mutations have arisen from experimental breeding on fur farms. On land, the American mink moves with speeds of up to 6.5 km/h. It climbs trees and swims well. During swimming, the mink propels itself through undulating movements of the trunk; when diving, it undergoes a state of rapid bradycardia, an adaptation to conserve oxygen. In warm water, the American mink can swim for three hours without stopping, but in cold water it can die within 27 minutes, it dives to depths of 12 in for 10 seconds, though depths of 3 m lasting 60 seconds have been recorded. It catches fish after five- to 20-second chases; the American mink relies on sight when foraging. Its eyesight is clearer on land than underwater, its auditory perception is high enough to detect the ultrasonic vocalisations of rodent prey. Its sense of smell is comparatively weak, its two anal glands are used for scent marking, either through defecation or by rubbing the anal region on the ground.
A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Lagoons are divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons, they have been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world. Lagoons are shallow elongated bodies of water separated from a larger body of water by a shallow or exposed shoal, coral reef, or similar feature; some authorities include fresh water bodies in the definition of "lagoon", while others explicitly restrict "lagoon" to bodies of water with some degree of salinity. The distinction between "lagoon" and "estuary" varies between authorities. Richard A. Davis Jr. restricts "lagoon" to bodies of water with little or no fresh water inflow, little or no tidal flow, calls any bay that receives a regular flow of fresh water an "estuary". Davis does state that the terms "lagoon" and "estuary" are "often loosely applied in scientific literature."
Timothy M. Kusky characterizes lagoons as being elongated parallel to the coast, while estuaries are drowned river valleys, elongated perpendicular to the coast; when used within the context of a distinctive portion of coral reef ecosystems, the term "lagoon" is synonymous with the term "back reef" or "backreef", more used by coral reef scientists to refer to the same area. Coastal lagoons are classified as inland bodies of water. Many lagoons do not include "lagoon" in their common names. Albemarle and Pamlico sounds in North Carolina, Great South Bay between Long Island and the barrier beaches of Fire Island in New York, Isle of Wight Bay, which separates Ocean City, Maryland from the rest of Worcester County, Banana River in Florida, Lake Illawarra in New South Wales, Montrose Basin in Scotland, Broad Water in Wales have all been classified as lagoons, despite their names. In England, The Fleet at Chesil Beach has been described as a lagoon. In Latin America, the term laguna in Spanish, which lagoon translates to, may be used for a small fresh water lake in a similar way a creek is considered a small river.
However, sometimes it is popularly used to describe a full-sized lake, such as Laguna Catemaco in Mexico, the third largest lake by area in the country. The brackish water lagoon may be thus explicitly identified as a "coastal lagoon". In Portuguese the same usage is found: lagoa may be a body of shallow sea water, or a small freshwater lake not linked to the sea. Lagoon is derived from the Italian laguna, which refers to the waters around Venice, the Lagoon of Venice. Laguna is attested in English by at least 1612, had been Anglicized to "lagune" by 1673. In 1697 William Dampier referred to a "Lake of Salt water" on the coast of Mexico. Captain James Cook described an island "of Oval form with a Lagoon in the middle" in 1769. Atoll lagoons form as coral reefs grow upwards while the islands that the reefs surround subside, until only the reefs remain above sea level. Unlike the lagoons that form shoreward of fringing reefs, atoll lagoons contain some deep portions. Coastal lagoons form along sloping coasts where barrier islands or reefs can develop off-shore, the sea-level is rising relative to the land along the shore.
Coastal lagoons do not form along steep or rocky coasts, or if the range of tides is more than 4 metres. Due to the gentle slope of the coast, coastal lagoons are shallow, they are sensitive to changes in sea level due to global warming. A relative drop in sea level may leave a lagoon dry, while a rise in sea level may let the sea breach or destroy barrier islands, leave reefs too deep under water to protect the lagoon. Coastal lagoons are young and dynamic, may be short-lived in geological terms. Coastal lagoons are common. In the United States, lagoons are found along more than 75 percent of the Gulf coasts. Coastal lagoons are connected to the open ocean by inlets between barrier islands; the number and size of the inlets, precipitation and inflow of fresh water all affect the nature of the lagoon. Lagoons with little or no interchange with the open ocean, little or no inflow of fresh water, high evaporation rates, such as Lake St. Lucia, in South Africa, may become saline. Lagoons with no connection to the open ocean and significant inflow of fresh water, such as the Lake Worth Lagoon in Florida in the middle of the 19th century, may be fresh.
On the other hand, lagoons with many wide inlets, such as the Wadden Sea, have strong tidal currents and mixing. Coastal lagoons tend to accumulate sediments from inflowing rivers, from runoff from the shores of the lagoon, from sediment carried into the lagoon through inlets by the tide. Large quantities of sediment may be be deposited in a lagoon when storm waves overwash barrier islands. Mangroves and marsh plants can facilitate the accumulation of sediment in a lagoon. Benthic organisms may destabilize sediments. River-mouth lagoons on mixed sand and gravel beaches form at the river-coast interface where a braided, although sometimes meandering, river interacts with a coastal environment, affected by longshore drift; the lagoons which form on the MSG coastlines are common on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand and have long been referred to as hapua by the Māori. This classification differentiates hapua from similar lagoons located on the N
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most distributed bear species. American black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying depending on season and location, they live in forested areas, but do leave forests in search of food. Sometimes they become attracted to human communities because of the immediate availability of food; the American black bear is the world's most common bear species. It is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a least-concern species, due to its widespread distribution and a large population estimated to be twice that of all other bear species combined. Along with the brown bear, it is one of only two of the eight modern bear species not considered by the IUCN to be globally threatened with extinction. American black bears mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears. Despite living in North America, American black bears are not related to brown bears and polar bears.
American and Asian black bears are considered sister taxa and are more related to each other than to the other modern species of bears. According to recent studies, the sun bear is a recent split from this lineage. A small primitive bear called Ursus abstrusus is the oldest known North American fossil member of the genus Ursus, dated to 4.95 mya. This suggests that U. abstrusus may be the direct ancestor of the American black bear, which evolved in North America. Although Wolverton and Lyman still consider U. vitabilis an "apparent precursor to modern black bears", it has been placed within U. americanus. The ancestors of American black bears and Asian black bears diverged from sun bears 4.58 mya. The American black bear split from the Asian black bear 4.08 mya. The earliest American black bear fossils, which were located in Port Kennedy, Pennsylvania resemble the Asian species, though specimens grew to sizes comparable to grizzly bears. From the Holocene to the present, American black bears seem to have shrunk in size, but this has been disputed because of problems with dating these fossil specimens.
The American black bear lived during the same period as the giant and lesser short-faced bears and the Florida spectacled bear. These tremarctine bears evolved from bears -- 8 ma; the giant and lesser short-faced bears are thought to have been carnivorous and the Florida spectacled bear more herbivorous, while the American black bears remained arboreal omnivores, like their Asian ancestors. The American black bear's generalist behavior allowed it to exploit a wider variety of foods and has been given as a reason why, of these three genera, it alone survived climate and vegetative changes through the last Ice Age while the other, more specialized North American predators became extinct. However, both Arctodus and Tremarctos had survived several previous ice ages. After these prehistoric ursids became extinct during the last glacial period 10,000 years ago, American black bears were the only bear present in much of North America until the migration of brown bears to the rest of the continent.
American black bears are reproductively compatible with several other bear species and have produced hybrid offspring. According to Jack Hanna's Monkeys on the Interstate, a bear captured in Sanford, was thought to have been the offspring of an escaped female Asian black bear and a male American black bear. In 1859, an American black bear and a Eurasian brown bear were bred together in the London Zoological Gardens, but the three cubs that were born died before they reached maturity. In The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, Charles Darwin noted: In the nine-year Report it is stated that the bears had been seen in the zoological gardens to couple but to 1848 most had conceived. In the reports published since this date three species have produced young... An American black bear shot in autumn 1986 in Michigan was thought by some to be an American black bear/grizzly bear hybrid, due to its unusually large size and its proportionately larger braincase and skull. DNA testing was unable to determine whether it was a grizzly bear.
Listed alphabetically. American black bears occupied the majority of North America's forested regions. Today, they are limited to sparsely settled, forested areas. American black bears inhabit much of their original Canadian range, though they occur in the southern farmlands of Alberta and Manitoba; the total Canadian black bear population is between 396,000 and 476,000, based on surveys taken in the mid-1990s in seven Canadian provinces, though this estimate excludes American black bear populations in New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. All provinces indicated stable populations of American black bears over the last decade; the current range of American black bears in the United States is constant throughout most of the northeast and within the Appalachian Mountains continuously from Maine to northern Georgia, the northern Midwest, the Rocky Mountain region, the West Coast and Alaska. However, it becomes fragmented or absent in other regions. Despite this, American black bears in those areas seem to have expanded their range during the last decade, such as with recent sightings in Ohio an
The snowshoe hare called the varying hare, or snowshoe rabbit, is a species of hare found in North America. It has the name "snowshoe" because of the large size of its hind feet; the animal's feet prevent it from sinking into the snow when it walks. Its feet have fur on the soles to protect it from freezing temperatures. For camouflage, its fur turns white during rusty brown during the summer, its flanks are white year-round. The snowshoe hare is distinguishable by the black tufts of fur on the edge of its ears, its ears are shorter than those of most other hares. In summer, it feeds on plants such as grass and leaves, it can sometimes be seen feeding in small groups. This animal is active at night and does not hibernate; the snowshoe hare may have up to four litters in a year. Males compete for females, females may breed with several males. A major predator of the snowshoe hare is the Canadian lynx. Historical records of animals caught by fur hunters over hundreds of years show the lynx and hare numbers rising and falling in a cycle, which has made the hare known to biology students worldwide as a case study of the relationship between numbers of predators and their prey.
Snowshoe hares occur from Newfoundland to Alaska. Locations of subspecies are as follows: Lepus americanus americanus – Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and North Dakota L. a. cascadensis – British Columbia and Washington L. a. columbiensis – British Columbia and Washington L. a. dalli – Mackenzie District, British Columbia, Yukon L. a. klamathensis – Oregon and California L. a. oregonus – Oregon L. a. pallidus – British Columbia L. a. phaeonotus – Ontario, Saskatchewan, Michigan and Minnesota L. a. pineus – British Columbia and Washington L. a. seclusus – Wyoming L. a. struthopus – Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Maine L. a. tahoensis – California, western Nevada L. a. virginianus – Ontario, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee L. a. washingtonii – British Columbia and Oregon Snowshoe hares are found in boreal forests and upper montane forests. In the Pacific Northwest, snowshoe hares occupy diverse habitats, including mature conifers, immature conifers, alder /salmonberry, Sitka spruce /salal, cedar swamps.
In western Oregon, snowshoe hares were present in brush patches of vine maple, willows and other shrubs. In Utah, snowshoe hares used Gambel oak in the northern portion of the Gambel oak range. In the Southwest, the southernmost populations of snowshoe hares occur in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico, in subalpine scrub: narrow bands of shrubby and prostrate conifers at and just below timberline that are composed of Engelmann spruce, bristlecone pine, limber pine, and/or common juniper. In Minnesota, snowshoe hares use jack pine uplands, tamarack bogs, black spruce bogs, sedge and scrub fens. In New England, snowshoe hares favor second-growth aspen -birch near conifers, but other forest types occupied by snowshoe hares include aspens, paper birch, northern hardwoods, red maple, balsam fir, red spruce -balsam fir, eastern hemlock, northern red oak, oak -pine, eastern white pine -northern red oak-red maple, eastern white pine. Snowshoe hares use shrub swamps dominated by buttonbush and silky dogwood.
Further details on plant communities used by snowshoe hares in different regions are in Bittner and Rongstad. Snowshoe hares are crepuscular to nocturnal, they are shy and secretive and spend most of the day in shallow depressions, called forms, scraped out under clumps of ferns, brush thickets, downed piles of timber. They use the large burrows of mountain beavers as forms. Diurnal activity level increases during the breeding season. Juveniles are more active and less cautious than adults. Snowshoe hares are active year-round; the breeding season for hares is stimulated by new vegetation and varies with latitude and yearly events. Breeding begins in late December to January and lasts until July or August. In northwestern Oregon, male peak breeding activity is at the minimum in November. In Ontario, the peak is in May and in Newfoundland, the peak is in June. Female estrus begins in March in Newfoundland and Maine, in early April in Michigan and Colorado. First litters of the year are born from mid-April to May.