Arizona Mammals Update–November 2013

By Garry Rogers

Arizona Mammals

Rock Squirrel on a Fence Post

I always feel closer to mammals than other species groups.  The Rock Squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus) in the photograph is a member of the local colony that lives in the retreating face of eroding lake sediments back of my house.  Though they live in burrows and harvest seeds and fallen fruit, these squirrels are great climbers.  I often see them in the tops of the pear trees picking fresh fruit and the tops of willow trees eating tender buds.  They routinely gather fallen seeds beneath the bird feeders, and it is there that some become nervously tolerant of my presence.

The least skittish of my other neighbors include the raccoons who love to slip in the cat door and eat cat food, the skunks who stroll by brushing my leg in the dark, and the coyotes and deer who often stand and return my stare. Continue reading

Arizona Bat Update–November 2013

By Garry Rogers

Arizona Bat Peril Increases

Big Brown Bat from Smithsonian North American Mammals

The most important change since my last post about Arizona bats is the increased risk of white-nose syndrome.  The disease continues to spread west from its point of introduction on the U. S. Atlantic coast despite research and quarantine efforts.  In September, 2013, researchers confirmed the disease had reached Oklahoma and South Dakota (

The entities that gain most from
bat extinction are insecticide producers.

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Endangered Species No. 58 – The Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey

Endangered Species

See on Scoop.itNature Conservation & Science Fiction: #EcoSciFi

Description Visualise someone leaping upwards fifty feet into the air carrying a twenty-five pound weight.  That is the equivalent of a female Zanzibar red colobus monkey travelling upwards with he…

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Endangered Species No. 50 – The Javan Leopard

The Javan Leopard

Unaware of the thousands of tiny species we impact, humans are also careless of those living at our scales of size and age.

Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

The Javan leopard inhabits one of the most densely populated and richly bio-diverse islands in Indonesia.  Given the amount of attention by visiting biologists and conservationists over time, it is surprising there is so little information available about this and other island species.

Most of scant data written has come from those observed in captivity or those captured in the wild and returned with radio collars, or caught on camera traps.  They are said to be extremely elusive, though someone has clearly been finding them.  If only to export to various zoos.

Driven back deep into the forests by man, having been deprived of more than ninety per cent of its original habitat  (and with that its prey base),  the Javan leopard has been forced to turn to domestic livestock for food supplies.  The irony of this situation seems to be lost on the local population as conflict between…

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Wildlife Rescue in Arizona

Wildlife Rescue in Arizona

Great Horned Owl chicks

Great Horned Owl chicks

“Baby animals you see are probably not orphans; parents are usually nearby.”

Wildlife Rescue in Arizona is licensed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  Visit the AZGFD website for a list with contact information and taxa treated.  A second list includes other animal charities in Arizona.  Find more information from local veterinarians and animal control departments of local governments.

These organizations provide additional information:

Mule Deer and Fawn at Coldwater Farm

Mule Deer at Coldwater Farm

During the long drought this spring, several mule deer visited Coldwater Farm near the Agua Fria River in central Arizona.  A lone doe became a resident, and browses in the yard in the evenings and mornings.  In early August I saw a fawn bouncing about beside the doe.  Yesterday, the fawn was racing about in the cow pasture while the doe watched.

There are no cows at the farm.  The cow pasture is fallow and covered by weeds taller than the fawn.  Getting good photographs is almost impossible.  In the picture below you can probably see the fawn’s spots, but not much else.

Mule Deer Fawn

Mule Deer Fawn at Coldwater Farm

Mule Deer Doe

Mule Deer Doe

The Mule Deer doe has been much easier to photograph.

Over the past 15 years, deer have visited the farm only twice, and the visits lasted just one day.  There were always dogs in the past, and now that the last dog died, deer are free to roam about the farm, and so they do.

Mule Deer Eat Almost Everything

Deer are fond of domestic roses.  When we moved to the farm in 1997, I planted 175 hedge and climbing roses in hopes of attracting deer.  The previous visitors took a few rose leaves and hips, but now, at last, the roses are being seriously browsed.  The deer like other plants too, and seem to browse all the woody plants on the place.  They especially like grape leaves, but they also eat willow, plumb, desert hackberry, and mulberry.  They also to eat a variety of weeds.

None of the woody plants have been harmed.  Perhaps the local winter and spring droughts will get worse and the deer will begin damaging the plants.  The trees and grapes are too tall for the deer to reach a significant portion of the leaves, but they might strip the bark.  Before that was necessary, the human farm manager would do his job to save the plants, and bring in hay.

Click here for more about the mammals at Coldwater Farm.

Tell me about the mammals you see.–An Important Wolverine Supporter

Earthjustice Works to Protect Wolverine, other Wildlife, and Places

Wolverine by AYImages.

A member of the Earthjustice team, Tim Preso, the managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Northern Rockies office, has been advocating for Wolverine since the Bush administration.

“The presence of the wolverine tells us that the landscape is productive not only for the wolverine but for lots of other creatures that also require that kind of landscape: the fish, smaller mammals and, ultimately, us.”  Earthjustice Managing Attorney Tim Preso
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Endangered Wolverine

Climate Change Pushes Wolverine Toward Threatened Species List (via Environment News Service)

DENVER, Colorado, February 4, 2013 (ENS) – Under a court-ordered deadline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect the North American wolverine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. In 2011 the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement…[contact_form] or [contact_form lang=en]

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Gray Fox Visit

Common Gray Fox image from Smithsonian Institution

Common Gray Fox image from Smithsonian Institution

Last night, a Common Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) spent 30 minutes cleaning up spilled sunflower seeds beneath a bird feeder.  Fantastic tail. This is the first fox seen here in 15 years. Tracks and scats began appearing this fall, and last night’s sighting confirmed the species. It was too dark for a photo, but there are plenty online.  Go here for a complete list of Arizona mammals.  Look under Canidae for the Gray Fox and its relatives, and click the link to go to the Smithsonian for more information.

Arizona Wildlife Notebook, Volume I: The Vertebrates

Wildlife Notebook: The Vertebrates

Arizona Wildlife Notebook, Volume I: The Vertebrates

This notebook has complete checklists for the amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, lizards, snakes, and turtles that live in Arizona. A brief introduction to each checklist provides references to field guides and notes on conservation. Symbols in the lists show the conservation status of all Arizona species as of July 1, 2012.

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