Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Kangaroo Rate-98% of its habitat gone, the giant kangaroo rat continues to be threatened by agricultural and urban development, and rodenticides. Kangaroo Rats are found only in the more arid regions of the western and southwestern U.S. Several species occur in all four southwestern deserts. Many of the 22 Kangaroo Rats occur only in California. The Ord's Kangaroo Rat is the most wide ranging and occurs between the Sierra Nevada and Rocky mountains from southern Canada to central Mexico. They mainly eat grass and seed and live years in the wild. Burrowing Owl-As of 2011, there remain only an estimated 10,000 breeding pairs of burrowing owls in the world. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act established provisions to protect the remaining populations in Canada, Mexico and the United States. They are active during both day and night, and nest underground in burrows rather than in trees. They mostly dwell in open grassland areas or bare desert ground like Fairmont Butte, relying upon the burrows dug by small rodents like ground squirrels for the spaces they make their homes. Land development has impacted upon burrowing owl owls and their grassland habitats when human expansion erodes their territory. Farmers near the homes of burrowing owls use pesticides to diminish the presence of crop harming pests which the owls rely on to create their habitats. With decreased presence of the rodents they depend on, the species has fewer homes to nest in. Desert Tortoise- It has a life span of 50 to 80 years and weighs 8 to 15 lbs. A desert tortoise's diet may include herbs, grasses, some shrubs and the new growth of cacti and their flowers. The desert tortoise is able to live where ground temperatures may exceed 140 degrees because of its ability to dig underground burrows to escape the heat. It spends up to 95% of its time under ground to escape the heat of the summer and the cold of winter. They live in burrows which they dig that can be 3-6 feet deep. They will spend November through February in a torpid or dormant state in their underground burrows. Ground Squirrel-The Mojave ground squirrel measures about nine inches from nose to tail and feeds on leaves and seeds from February to July. In mid summer they begin a period of estivation which is a prolonged state of inactivity of an animal during hot or dry weather adapting to the desert heat. The squirrel inhabits the western Mojave Desert in portions of Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties. It lives within Joshua tree woodlands, creosote scrub, saltbush scrub and Mojave mixed woody scrub. Typical forage plants are those that meet nutritional and water content requirements. Mohave ground squirrels emit a high-pitched "peep" as an alarm call, when startled or when young begin to emerge from their natal burrows.