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 September 03, 2006 5:48 AM

BEHAVIOR AND HOME RANGE Jaguars are most active at night, early morning, and late evening. Like most wild cats, jaguars live alone and only come together for brief periods to mate. Males roam over large territories that can encompass 50-139 km2 (19-53 mi2) in many regions. Females have smaller territories, usually between 26-97 km2 (10-37 mi2). Several females may reside within the territory of one male, with which they breed. The resident male fiercely defends his territory from other male jaguar to ensure that the females in his territory mate only with him. As with other large wildcats, young males must roam large areas avoiding resident males. These young males, often referred to as "satellite" or "transient" males, must keep up this wandering existence until a resident male dies and leaves a territory vacant or they defeat the resident male in battle and gain control of his territory - and his females.

Interestingly, Florida panthers actually use much larger home ranges than jaguar. Differences in home range size are related to habitat quality. Whereas the tropical forests in which jaguar live provide excellent habitat and abundant prey, the scattered remaining forests available to panthers in south Florida offer relatively poor habitat in comparison. Consequently, the home range of Florida panthers is considerably larger with male home ranges averaging about 520 km2 (200 mi2) and home ranges of female panthers averaging about 195 km2 (75 mi2). For both jaguar and panthers, therefore, the size of the home range is influenced by the availability of high quality habitat and prey, and this is particularly important for females raising kittens.

REPRODUCTION The breeding season varies between locales and can occur during any time of the year. Pregnancy lasts about 100 days. The female will give birth to a litter of 1-4 cubs, usually two. Until the cubs are old enough to travel with her, the mother will keep them hidden in a secluded den site such as a cave or abandoned mine. The cubs remain with the mother until they are 1.5-2 years old. Males have no part in raising cubs.

LEGAL STATUS The Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) listed the jaguar in Appendix I, which means that it is illegal to trade in jaguar skins or parts, and that the transport of such items across country borders is prohibited. Likewise, the Florida panther also is listed by CITES in Appendix I. The Florida panther also is listed as a State and Federally Endangered Species, which means it is unlawful to kill or harass panthers, to possess skins, skulls, or any part of a panther, or to destroy habitat critical to the panther.
THREATS Despite its protected status, the future of the jaguar is threatened by human activities even though the jaguar is threatened by human activities despite that the jaguar is legally protected in every country where they occur. Unfortunately, law enforcement varies among countries and is generally non-existent or very lax in most developing countries where jaguar are found. Jaguars are frequently killed to obtain their fur, for sport, or to protect livestock. The loss of forest habitat due to road construction, expanding agricultural, and other activities destroys, fragments, and degrades jaguar habitat in many regions throughout its range. With expanding human populations also comes increased hunting pressure on the preferred prey of jaguar in areas where year-round subsistence hunting is a way of life. All of these factors pose threats to the continued existence of this cat. Scientists and conservationists familiar with jaguar ecology are concerned that, without sufficient protection and management, the jaguar may disappear from most of its range by the end of this century.

Similar conservation concerns exist for the Florida panther, albeit on a more urgent scale. Expanding urban and agricultural development, compounded by a rapidly increasing human population has continued to destroy, fragment, and degrade habitat in southwest Florida needed by the panther for survival. The exact number of Florida panthers remaining is unknown, but suspected to be less than 100 animals. Indeed, the plight of the jaguar and the Florida panther represent only two examples in the worldwide decline in populations of large cats everywhere. The question for the future, therefore, is whether humans will allow large, wild cats to share the planet, or will they be eliminated everywhere, forever.



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Did you know September 03, 2006 5:47 AM

tha Jaguars use to reside in Florida but they say no more are here. personally I believe that it is possible that in the remote places of Florida in the swamp areas that there may still be a few. They are elusive animals....

1428179551.jpg



Jaguar: Another Threatened Panther
DESCRIPTION Jaguars are massive cats, much larger than even the biggest Florida panther. The size of these cats varies regionally. The largest jaguar ever recorded was a male that weighed 149 kilograms, more than 300 pounds. To put this weight into perspective, this animal was about as big as a defensive lineman for the National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars. Most male jaguar weigh between 50-100 kilograms (110-220 lbs). Females will be about one-fifth smaller, and range in weight from 35-80 kg (75-175 lbs). In comparison, male Florida panthers weigh 45-70 kg (100-155 lbs) and female panthers weigh 30-45 kg (65-100 lbs).

From tip of the tail to the point of its nose, a jaguar typically measures between 1.6-2.4 m (5.3-7.9 ft), with a shoulder height of 68-75 cm (27-30 in). Florida panthers are similar in length and height, and typically vary in length from 1.8-2.2 m (5.9-7.2 ft) and range in height at the shoulder from 60-70 cm (24-28 in).

Consequently, the big difference between jaguar and the Florida panther is in body mass. The jaguar is more stoutly built than a panther, with a broader head, larger paws, and a shorter tail. A deep chest and barrel-shaped body are kept in motion by short, powerful limbs designed to take down large powerful prey in heavy cover, such as white-lipped peccaries and white-tailed deer.

The fur of most jaguars appears buffy yellow or as a golden orange hue that shades into yellow. The jaguar coat, or pelage, on the upper part of the body is covered in spots. These spots are small and solid on the head and shoulders, but take the form of broken rings, called rosettes, on the back and flanks. Each rosette encircles an area with zero to three dots. The overall pattern of these rosettes is unique to each individual jaguar, just like fingerprints are to people. Underparts are white, and marked with black splotches or bars. This pelage is cryptic and camouflages the cat when it lies motionless under broken sunlight.

Occasionally, jaguar are black, or nearly solid black, in color, an inherited genetic condition known as melanism. These "black panthers" still have their spots and if a person looks closely, the darker rosettes can be seen in contrast from the rest of the fur. Melanism has not been officially documented in the Florida panther.

DISTRIBUTION Jaguars have not been found in Florida since Prehistoric times. When Spaniards first discovered Florida, the northern limit of the jaguars range extended into Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Further south, the jaguar was found throughout Mexico, Central and South America, all the way to northern Argentina. By the 1980s, the jaguars range was reduced by two-thirds in North and Central America and, within 75% of its present range, the jaguar has been reduced or greatly reduced in numbers. Although the jaguar has been virtually eliminated from the United States, photographs of a jaguar in Arizona were documented during 2002

HABITAT Jaguar require forest cover and can be found in almost any tropical forest type including evergreen forest, deciduous forest, and thornscrub. Jaguar are rarely found in grasslands devoid of trees. Additionally, this cat seems to prefer areas near water, such as the thick forest types found along rivers and floodplains.

DIET Like all cats, jaguars are strictly carnivorous, which means they only eat meat. They are not finicky eaters, with more than 89 species of animals recorded as prey for jaguar. These large cats prefer to eat other mammals, but have also been reported to eat birds, fish, snakes, and even caimans (a type of crocodile) and sea turtles. When possible, jaguars prefer to hunt large prey, such as white-tailed deer, collared peccaries, or large tropical rodents. Where these prey are available, a jaguar may only need to eat once or twice per week. On occasion, jaguar will attack cattle or other livestock, thereby causing conflicts with livestock owners.

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Hello Frank September 03, 2006 5:06 AM

Your welcome and I am glad you are enjoying...

Waya
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Great Pics and Info. August 16, 2006 4:15 PM


Thanks so much. Fantastic.
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Barn Owl August 16, 2006 6:47 AM

Barn Owls

Barn Owls, members of the family Tytonidae, are unmistakable nocturnal birds of prey. Their ghostly appearance and blood-curdling shriek have led to their incorporation into folklore and myth and have earned these birds a variety of nicknames, including "ghost owl" and "monkey-faced owl." Thirty-six subspecies have been identified worldwide. The subspecies that lives in North America is called Tyto alba pratincola.

Identification

Barn Owls have a white or tan underside with black spotting. Males tend to be whiter and have less speckling than females The wings are long and ornately colored with shades of brown, tan, black and white. Barn Owls have a distinctly heart-shaped, white facial disk and lack ear tufts that are characteristic of many other owl species. Their eyes are dark and relatively small when compared to other owls. They have long legs that are easily seen when they are roosting or flying overhead. Female Barn Owls tend to be slightly larger than males. On average, females measure 34-40 cm (13.4-15.7 inches) in length and weigh 570 g (1.3 lbs), and males are 32-38 cm (12.6-15.0 inches) long and weigh 470 g (1.0 lbs).

Hunting and Diet

Barn Owls hunt using their excellent low-light vision and hearing. Their facial disk funnels sound into their ear holes, which are located beneath the feathers on each side of their face. These openings are slightly lopsided from each another. This allows the owls to sense how far away a sound is from them. Barn Owls are so good at locating prey by sound that they can do so even when the prey is completely hidden from view.

Small mammals are the primary food of Barn Owls. Voles (Microtus sp.) are the most common prey in northern North America and Europe, although mice, shrews and moles also are eaten. In southern Florida, where no voles and few mice occur, larger rats, such as cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus), roof rats (Rattus rattus) and rice rats (Oryzomys palustris) are eaten, along with small marsh rabbits (Sylvilagus palustris) and round-tailed muskrats (Neofiber alleni). Non-mammalian prey, including birds, amphibians, reptiles and large insects are occasionally consumed. Prey usually are swallowed whole, although large items are sometimes torn into smaller pieces before being eaten. Indigestible bones and fur are later regurgitated in the form of an "owl pellet." The diets of Barn Owls can be analyzed by examining the contents of these pellets.

Habitat and Nest Sites

Barn Owls inhabit open areas, including agricultural fields, grasslands and marshes. They nest in hollow trees and in buildings where there is not much human activity. Barn Owls also will use artificial nest boxes. Nests typically are located on the floor of the natural tree cavity or building They are made with broken-down bits of old owl pellets. Nest sites are commonly reused by the original occupants or other pairs of owls. The availability of potential nesting sites limits Barn Owl abundance in some areas.

Range

Barn Owls have a global distribution. They are absent only from parts of the West Indies, Indonesia and New Zealand, and seldom occur at extreme northern latitudes. Estimates of individual home ranges, which vary greatly, have been as large as 3174 ha (12.3 sq mi) and as small as 151 ha (0.6 sq mi). This variation probably is due to differences in habitat and prey availability. For example, if food is scarce in a particular area, an owl may have to travel long distances to get the amount of food that it needs to survive. It would have to hunt over a much smaller area if food is plentiful. The home ranges of neighboring Barn Owls can overlap significantly.

Behavior and Sociality

These owls are strictly nocturnal predators and spend the daylight hours resting, or "roosting," in quiet protected areas. Members of a pair frequently roost together. They usually do not actively defend their foraging territories from other owls, but they will defend the area immediately around their nests. If food resources are abundant, Barn Owls sometimes nest in close proximity to each other. For example, at least five pairs are known to nest regularly in a single barn in south Florida. When cornered, Barn Owls exhibit a variety of threat displays including wing spreading, head waggling, hissing, and bill snapping.

Reproduction and Development

Barn Owls usually are monogamous and often remain with the same partner for several consecutive breeding seasons. Eggs are laid between February and June, depending on locality and climate. In Florida, eggs are usually laid in February. In subtropical and tropical areas, including southern Florida, a second set of offspring are produced in the late summer or fall. The average number of eggs produced is 4-6, but extremes of more than 10 eggs in a single nest have been observed. Eggs are laid 2 or 3 days apart and hatch in that same sequence. As a result, there is always an age difference of a few days between each chick This ensures that at least a few of the chicks, because they are older and stronger, will always be fed if food becomes scarce. If food is plentiful, all of the chicks will be able to eat. Chicks grow rapidly, achieving adult weight and feathering in 8-9 weeks At this point they roost near the nest while learning to fly and hunt. Their parents still bring food to them for another few weeks until they become fully independent.

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Frogs and Toads August 13, 2006 3:38 AM

_SpringFloral_HappyDay.jpg

DESCRIPTION

Frogs look different than toads in several ways. Most toads, except the eastern narrowmouth toad, have dry, warty skin, whereas frogs have moist, smooth skin. Most toads also have a pair of parotid glands bulging out from behind their eyes. These glands produce a bufotoxin that protects them from being eaten by most animals. All toads have these glands, but most are too small to severely affect people and our pets. The one exception is the non-native Marine Toad which is large enough (6-inch long body) to release toxin amounts that can make people seriously ill, cause skin irritations, and kill dogs and cats. Frogs do not possess these glands, and there are no poisonous frogs in Florida.

Frogs and toads have evolved characteristics that allow them to survive on land. Adult frogs and toads have a keen sense of smell. This is controlled by a smell-taste organ called the Jacobsons organ in the nasal passages. Frogs and toads have a wide range of vision and are sensitive to movement. They cannot turn their heads, but their large, bulging eyes give them excellent side vision to see potential predators. Frogs and toads also have a well-developed outer ear. This circular tympanic membrane is located behind their eyes.

DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT

Frogs and toads live in a wide variety of habitats throughout Florida. Adults of many species spend considerable time in dry upland habitats and only migrate to wetlands during the breeding/egg-laying season.

LIFE STAGES

Frogs and toads have two life stages, the larvae or tadpole stage and the adult stage. When tadpoles metamorphose into adults, their body structure and breathing organs change. The tail disappears, legs form, the mouth enlarges, lungs replace gills, and other organs transform to adapt to a life that includes breathing air, eating different food items, and living on land as well as in the water.

FEEDING

All adult frogs and toads are predators and feed on a wide variety of insects. They have a large mouth and a long, sticky tongue that they use to capture prey. Their hunting style is to sit and wait for their food to come to them. When an insect moves within range, they turn their body (if necessary), lunge forward, and shoot their tongue through the air. They also will pursue slower prey on the ground. Their feeding response is triggered by movement of prey. Because they swallow their prey whole there is little need for teeth. They also lack throat muscles to help them swallow, so they sort of push their food into their stomach with their upper head muscles and eyes. Tadpoles, immature frogs and toads, are herbivores (plant-eaters) and feed mostly on algae, which they filter from the water.

REPRODUCTION

Frogs and toads move to ponds, lakes, streams, and ditches to breed. Males move to the pond first and begin calling. Usually, this activity takes place on rainy nights when the barometric pressure is falling. Once a female arrives, she selects her mate and breeding begins. When the male and female come close together, the male clasps the female around the waist with his forelegs. This clasping, known as amplexing, stimulates hormones in the female that cause her eggs to be released into the water. When this occurs, the male releases sperm, fertilizing the eggs. The eggs remain inside a gelatinous mass until hatching. Amphibian eggs must remain in a moist environment, because they have no protective shell. Toads lay their eggs in single strands, chorus frog eggs are in broken strands, and other frogs lay their eggs in large clumps.

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Florida Leopard Frog August 02, 2006 8:31 AM

Florida Leopard Frog  [ send green star]
 
 August 02, 2006 8:25 AM

Thank you Waya for posting!! I just love this last picture. Awsome.  

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Gray Fox August 02, 2006 7:28 AM

Gray Fox



The gray fox is a handsome, distinctive member of the dog family, Canidae. Although common in Florida, the gray fox often is inconspicuous due to its secretive habits. It is the only fox that regularly climbs trees to evade predators and to hunt its own prey, giving it the nickname "tree fox."

The upper side of its body is a salt-and-pepper gray; its nose and sides of its muzzle are black. A black line extends from the corner of its eyes to its neck. The sides of its neck, back and legs, the underside of its tail and the base of its ears are a bright reddish-orange. This coloration sometimes causes the gray fox to be mistaken for the red fox, but it lacks the black feet and white tail tip of that animal. Tracks also show proportionally larger toe pads and smaller overall foot size than those of the red fox.

A black stripe runs along the midline of the gray fox's bushy tail, which measures 11 to 16in (28 to 41cm). It stands 15in (38 cm) at the shoulder, has a body length of 21 to 30in (53 to 76 cm)and weighs 7 to 13lb (3.2 to 6kg).

Habitat and Food The gray fox ranges from Canada to Panama and is found in almost all types of habitats except closed-canopy tropical forests. In Florida, it occurs statewide except for the Keys. Preferred habitat is dense cover in thickets, forests or swamps.

Its diet consists of small mammals, insects, fruits, acorns, birds, and eggs. Due to its climbing expertise, arboreal creatures such as squirrels are more important to the gray fox's diet than to those of other wild canids.

The gray fox climbs in a scrambling motion, grasping the tree trunk with its forepaws and forcing itself higher with the long claws on its hind feet. Besides being able to leap from branch to branch in pursuit of prey, the gray fox also uses its perch to ambush victims from above. On the ground it can reach speeds of up to 28mph (17 km/hr) for short distances.

This solitary animal is most active after sundown, returning to its den during the day. These sites are located in hollow logs, ground burrows, beneath boulders, and even under buildings in some secluded areas or where the foxes have become acclimated to people. Dens frequently are lined with shredded bark or leaves.

Reproduction Most female gray foxes mate in their first year. Breeding season ranges from late January to March and may be heralded by fierce battles among males. Gestation takes 50 to 55 days, after which females produce 3 to 7 dark-brown, blind pups.

The male stays with his mate and helps care for the young. The pups are weaned at or about 6 weeks. Gradually the pups learn to fend for themselves, first leaving the den area to hunt with their parents when they are about 3 months old.

Damage and Control The gray fox is an excellent mouser. While it rarely invades poultry yards, it has been known to prey on small farm animals and birds. Other problems include an occasional outbreak of canine distemper and--more rarely--an outbreak of rabies. The gray fox also may dig holes in yards.

Solutions include the use of sentry dogs and bright flashing lights or a continuous bright light after dark, when pets and small farm animals should be confined. Other exclusionary methods include the removal of brush from around the ranch or farmstead.

Foxes often become nuisances when they are fed by people. In these cases, feeding programs should be stopped and any other food sources eliminated.

In Florida, the gray fox is a protected species and cannot be trapped or destroyed without a permit from the state Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission (GFC). Its coarse, thin coat does not have much commercial value.

Population Trends and Conservation Issues The gray fox has adapted well to urban environments. It can be found in almost any developed area that affords some degree of vegetation cover. However, urban foxes have a higher incidence of canine distemper than those in the wild due to their proximity to stray dogs. This is one reason urban foxes should not be relocated.

A similar species, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes ), is established in Florida west of the Apalachicola River and sporadically southward. Observations in peninsular Florida are probably the result of recent releases.


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 July 28, 2006 6:51 AM

bat-1434-m.jpg


here are 18 species representing 3 families of bats in Florida Twilight bats (family Vespertilionidae) are the best represented with 14 species. Free-tailed bats (family Molossidae) include three species. One species of leaf-nosed or New World fruit bats (family Phyllostomidae) occurs only in the Florida Keys. Twilight and free-tailed bats that occur in eastern North America are insectivorous and can be divided into two groups: those that typically roost only in trees and those that spend at least a portion of the year in caves. When caves and forests are scarce, bats may also roost in buildings, culverts, bridges, and hollow trees. Utilizing the key characteristics other than roosting preferences, as listed in the identification key, will help in identifying bats.

Tree roosting bats are typically solitary and roost under leaves, branches, or within tree cavities to blend into their surroundings. Free-tailed bats of Florida form roosting colonies in trees and buildings. The Brazilian free-tailed bat is the only free-tailed bat commonly found throughout the state. The Jamaican fruit bat also roosts in trees and is the only member of the New World fruit bats that occur in Florida.

Some Twilight bat colony species are entirely dependent upon caves (Gray bat). Historically, caves provided safe environments with stable temperatures ideal for bat colonies. Because cave roosting bats may congregate in large numbers (hundreds of thousands) and because suitable cave habitats for large colonies are limited in number, these species are extremely vulnerable to human disturbance. Human disturbance, such as caused by caving activities, panics bats and causes them to waste valuable energy, and may result in abandonment and mortality of young. Destruction of suitable cave habitat through commercialization, flooding by man-made reservoirs, and other causes has resulted in population declines to the point that several species face the threat of extinction. The six other Twilight bats that prefer cave roosting for their colonies will also roost in trees and/or buildings
Recognition of the need for cave conservation and protection of bat colonies (natural and urban) from human disturbance is critical for the continued survival of these fascinating animals.


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King Snake July 25, 2006 7:18 AM

king_snake3.jpg



As is true of many snake species, the broad range of kingsnake behavior has not been studied. All kingsnakes are constrictors and in addition they are immune to the venom of native poisonous snake species. Their name may have come from the fact that they were perceived as the 'king of snakes', i.e. able to eat almost any other snake species. They live in a broad range of habitats from woodlands, to prairies and marches. While usually considered diurnal animals, they have been observed in active behavior at night.

Size:
Body length, 38-48 inches
Life Cycle:
Sexual maturity,
Life span, unknown
Reproduction:
Mating Season: Late spring-early summer
Number of eggs: 3-30
Incubation: 65-90 days
Diet:
Snakes, lizards, frogs, birds, eggs, rodents
Predators: No significant predators (birds of prey when young)
Social Structure: Solitary
Territory Size: Unknown

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Gopher Tortoises July 24, 2006 8:17 AM

tort2.jpg



Gopher tortoises are so called because of their burrowing habits. They excavate and live in holes and tunnels that can be 40 feet long, and are wide enough to turn around in. Newly hatched tortoises immediately either find an adult burrow or dig one of their own. The tunnels tend to maintain a constant temperature and therefore protect the animals who live there through extremes of weather and fire. The tortoises are not the only inhabitants of their burrow, snakes, skunks, armadillos, burrowing owls, and scarab beetles are among the approx. 360 species of animal known to use the tortoise excavations. Ancient Indians used the Gopher tortoise as a form of currency.

Size:
Body length, 6-9 ˝ inches
Life Cycle:
Sexual maturity, Uncertain, somewhere between 15 and 21 years
Life span, 60-80 years in stable environment
Reproduction:
Mating Season: April-June
Number of eggs: 3-15
Incubation: Approx. 80-100 days
Diet:
Low growing vegetation
Predators: Adult tortoises have few natural enemies but eggs and hatchlings are preyed on by raccoons, foxes, skunks, armadillos, and fire antsZ
Social Structure: Mostly solitary except in the breeding season
Territory Size: Unknown
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Red Tailed Hawks - Buteo regalis July 23, 2006 10:47 AM

Red Tailed Hawk.jpg



Red tailed Hawks are one of the most broadly distributed and adaptive birds of prey in North America. They live in a wide range of habitats from Northern Alberta in Canada, through Mexico, into Central America and east to Cuba. They tend to form permanent pair bonds, are sometimes migratory and have in some areas adapted to life in urban habitats. Pairs will often use the same nest sites year after year. As is true with many birds of prey, both parents incubate and feed the young. They are very territorial and on clear days patrol their domains from the sky search for intruders.

Size:
Body length, 19-25 inches
Life Cycle:
fledging 44-46 days
Sexual maturity, 1.5-3 years
Life span,
Reproduction:
Incubation Period, 28-32 days
Clutch size 2-4 eggs
Birth season, March-April
Diet: small rodents, rabbits, reptiles, smaller birds
Predators: no significant predators
Social Structure:
Bonded pairs
Territory Size: ˝ to 2 square miles

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North American River Otter - Lutra canadensis July 23, 2006 10:37 AM

Otters



The North American river otter is one of the most popular and endearing of the continent's mammals. This popularity stems from their perceived playfulness and seemingly boundless energy.

Otters have extremely high metabolisms which require that they spend large portions of each day eating… it may also account for the fact that they never store food but consume their prey immediately upon capture.

Otters like many mustelids (the family of mammals that includes weasels, badgers, wolverines etc.) have a reproductive adaptation called delayed implantation. This means that immediately after fertilization, the embryo goes into stasis, and only resumes when conditions are favourable for implantation and eventual birth. While Otter gestation is 63-65 days actual birth usually occurs 10-12 months after mating.


Size:
Body length, 26-30 inches
Weight, 10-25 lbs.
Life Cycle:
Weaning, 3-4 months
Sexual maturity, 2-3 years
Life span, 15 plus years (in captivity)
Reproduction:
Gestation Period, 63-65 days (but have delayed implantation… birth 10-12 months after mating)
Young /birth, 1-5
Birth season, March-April
Diet:
Fish, Amphibians, crayfish, and other invertebrates, they may also eat birds, eggs and small mammals when available
Predators:
None except man
Social Structure:
complex, often in pairs, but sometimes in larger social groups
Territory Size:
None territorial, but have large ranges covering many miles of waterfront


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 July 23, 2006 10:26 AM

Your welcome Essie amd Cherie for your help....

Many Blessings,
Waya Yonega

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Thank you sisters! love ya Essie July 22, 2006 6:28 PM

Thank you for the info. I learned alot. love ya.Essie  [ send green star]
 
 July 22, 2006 11:32 AM

FLORIDA PANTHER

(Felis concolor coryii)

Florida PantherStatus: Endangered.

Population: Only 30 to 50 individuals survive today. Threats: Increasing human development and population growth in Florida has led to habitat loss and collisions with vehicles. Survival: The Florida panther has an average life span of 12 years in the wild.

   The Florida panther was once common in western Texas and throughout the southeastern states, but is now found only in Florida. Their habitat includes cypress swamps, pine, and hardwood hammock forests.

Florida Panther

   An adult male panther can weigh up to 130 pounds, while females typically weigh about 70 pounds. The Florida panther is a solitary animal, and very territorial. Males establish a home range of up to 400 square miles and females about 50 to 100 square miles.

   While white-tailed deer are the most common prey of Florida panthers, they also hunt wild hogs, rabbits, raccoons, armadillos, and birds.

National Parks: Florida panthers are found in Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park, FL.
Factoid: The Florida panther is a highly endangered subspecies of mountain lion.  [ send green star]
 
American Crocodiles - Crocodylus acutus July 22, 2006 6:09 AM

American Crocodiles are very rare in the United States and are only found along the Florida coast in the bay area, in Everglades National Park, and in the keys. Throughout their worldwide range, from Western Mexico to Ecuador along the Pacific, and from Guatemala to Florida along the Atlantic, they live in coastal wetlands. Unlike their alligator cousins the adults can tolerate a saline aquatic environment. Another comparative difference to the alligators lies in the fact that males will sometime help to guard nesting areas and hatchlings. Adult Crocodiles maintain dens near nest sites… usually a burrow which they dig in stream or creek beds. Unlike the alligators, female crocodiles don't cover usually their eggs with a mass of vegetation but bury them in mounds of soil or sand; some excavate nest holes. Two or more females may share a nest area.

Size:
Body length, 71/2-12 feet ( confirmed record 15 feet)
Weight, 150-450 lbs.
Life Cycle:
Sexual maturity, when they are about 7 feet long, usually10-12 years of age
Life span, 60-70 years in stable environment
Reproduction:
Mating Season: March-May (in the US… usually timed to dry season throughout range)
Number of eggs: 20-60, average 38
Incubation: Approx. 90 days
Diet:
Juvenile, invertebrates especially insects, small reptiles, amphibians and fish
Adults, fish, turtles, snakes, small mammals, birds
Predators: Hawks, perhaps larger carnivorous mammals including bobcats and mountain lions
Social Structure: Solitary
Territory Size: Unknown
Conservation Status:Endangered


American Croc



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Animals Native To Florida July 22, 2006 5:56 AM

American Alligators - Alligator mississippiensis

American Alligators are residents of great river swamps, lakes, bayous, and other bodies of fresh water in Florida, the Gulf, and lower Atlantic states. While they can processing gland as do their crocodile cousins. The full grown American alligator is dark, though sometimes the paler markings of juveniles may last into early adulthood. These reptiles are baskers, laying in the sun to raise their body temperature to a working level. Females make nest mounds of vegetable matter which they protect from spring to autumn when they are incubating young.

Size:
Body length, 6-16 ˝ feet (average female length 8.2 feet, average adult male length 11.2 feet)
Weight, Adult males can weigh ˝ a ton
Life Cycle:
Sexual maturity, when they are about 6 feet long, usually10-12 years of age
Life span, unknown
Reproduction:
Mating Season: April-May
Number of eggs: 35-88, average 50
Incubation: Approx. 65 days
Diet:
Juvenile, invertebrates especially insects, small reptiles, amphibians and fish
Adults, fish, turtles, snakes, small mammals, birds
Predators: As Juveniles, various including herons, eagles, raccoons, etc. As adults none except humans and occasionally other alligators
Social Structure: Mostly solitary but individuals come together in the mating season and newly hatched juveniles live in small groups called pods
Territory Size: Males 2 square miles or more, females varied but much smaller
Alligator


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