Black Bear

Image

Black Bear

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. Black bears are omnivores with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely 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 IUCN as Least Concern, due to the species’ widespread distribution and a large global 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 globally threatened with extinction by the IUCN. American black bears often mark trees using their teeth and claws as a form of communication with other bears, a behavior common to many species of bears.Although they live in North America, American black bears are not closely related to brown bears and polar bears; genetic studies reveal that they split from a common ancestor 5.05 million years ago. Both American and Asian black bears are considered sister taxa, and are more closely related to each other than to other species of bear. Reportedly, the Sun Bear is also a relatively 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 also been placed within U. americanus.
The ancestors of American black bears and Asiatic black bears diverged from sun bears 4.58 mya. The American black bear then split from the Asian black bear 4.08 mya. The earliest American black bear fossils, which were located in Port Kennedy, Pennsylvania, greatly resemble the Asiatic species,[10] though later specimens grew to sizes comparable to grizzlies. From the Holocene to 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 short-faced bears (Arctodus simus and A. pristinus) and the Florida spectacled bear (Tremarctos floridanus). These Tremarctine bears evolved from bears that had emigrated from Asia to North America 7–8 ma. The short-faced bears are thought to have been heavily carnivorous and the Florida spectacled bear more herbivorous, while the American black bears remained arboreal omnivores, like their Asian ancestors. The black bear’s generalist behavior allowed it to exploit a wider variety of foods and has been given as a reason why of these 3 genera, it alone survived climate and vegetative changes through and last ice age while the other more specialized North American predators went extinct. However, both Arctodus and Tremarctos had survived several other ice ages. After these prehistoric Ursids went extinct during the last glacial period 10,000 years ago, black bears were probably the only bear present in much of North America until the arrival of brown bears to the rest of the continent.

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Image

Alligator Snapping Turtle

The alligator snapping turtle is characterized by a large, heavy head, and a long, thick shell with three dorsal ridges of large scales (osteoderms), giving it a primitive appearance reminiscent of some of the plated dinosaurs. They can be immediately distinguished from the common snapping turtle by the three distinct rows of spikes and raised plates on the carapace, whereas the common snapping turtle has a smoother carapace. They are a solid gray, brown, black, or olive-green in color, and often covered with algae. They have radiating yellow patterns around their eyes, serving to break up the outline of the eyes to keep the turtle camouflaged. Their eyes are also surrounded by a star-shaped arrangement of fleshy, filamentous “eyelashes”.
Though not verified, a 183 kg (403 lb) alligator snapping turtle was found in Kansas in 1937, but the largest verifiable one is debatable. One weighed at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago was a 16-year resident giant alligator snapper weighing 113 kg (249 lb), sent to the Tennessee State Aquarium as part of a breeding loan in 1999, where it subsequently died. Another weighing 107 kg (236 lb) was housed at the Brookfield Zoo in suburban Chicago. They generally do not grow quite that large. Breeding maturity is attained at around 16 kg (35 lb), when the length is around 38 cm (15 in), but then they continue to grow through life. Adult alligator snapping turtles generally range in carapace length from 40.4 to 80.8 cm (15.9 to 31.8 in) and weigh from 68 to 80 kg (150 to 180 lb).[9][10] Males are typically larger than females. Among extant freshwater turtles, only the little-known giant softshell turtles of the genera Chitra, Rafetus, and Pelochelys, native to Asia, reach comparable sizes.
Head of a young alligator snapping turtle
Alligator snapping turtle with carpet of algae
In ‘mature’ specimens (carapace length over 30 cm (12 in)), males and females can be differentiated by the position of the cloaca from the carapace and the thickness of the tail’s base. A mature male’s cloaca extends beyond the carapace edge, a female’s is placed exactly on the edge if not nearer to the plastron. The base of the tail of the male is also thicker as compared to females because of the hidden reproductive organs.
The inside of the turtle’s mouth is camouflaged, and it possesses a vermiform (literally, “worm-shaped”) appendage on the tip of its tongue used to lure fish, a form of Peckhamian mimicry. The turtle hunts by lying motionless in the water with its mouth wide open. The vermiform tongue imitates the movements of a worm, luring prey to the turtle’s mouth. The mouth is then closed with tremendous speed and force, completing the ambush.
Contrary to claims that alligator snapping turtles possess one of the strongest bite force of any animal, it has been recorded at 158 ± 18 kgf (1,550 ± 180 N; 350 ± 40 lbf), which is lower than several other species of turtles and at about the same level as humans, relative to the turtle’s body size.Still, these turtles must be handled with extreme care and considered potentially dangerous. This species can bite through the handle of a broom and rare cases have been reported where human fingers have been cleanly bitten off by the species. No human deaths have been reported to have been caused by alligator snapping turtles.

Wood Duck

Image

Wood Duck

The Wood Duck is a medium-sized perching duck. A typical adult is from 47 to 54 cm (19 to 21 in) in length with a wingspan of between 66 to 73 cm (26 to 29 in). This is about three-quarters of the length of an adult Mallard. It shares its genus with the Asian Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata).The adult male has distinctive multicoloured iridescent plumage and red eyes,with a distinctive white flare down the neck. The female, less colourful, has a white eye-ring and a whitish throat. Both adults have crested heads.
The male’s call is a rising whistle, jeeeeee; the females utter a drawn-out, rising squeal, do weep do weep, when flushed, and a sharp cr-r-ek, cr-e-ek for an alarm call.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Image

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Average adult size is 36-72 inches (91-183 cm), record is 96 inches (244 cm). A large, heavy-bodied snake with a row of large dark diamonds with brown centers and cream borders down its back. The ground color of the body is brownish. The tail is usually a different shade, brownish or gray, and toward the end of the tail the diamonds fade out or break into bands. The tail ends in a rattle. The scales are keeled. The large and thick head has a light bordered dark stripe running diagonally through the eye and there are vertical light stripes on the snout. The pupil is vertical (cat-like) and there is a deep facial pit between the nostril and the eye.The young are similar to the adults in color pattern. The tip of the tail of new born Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake ends in a “button,” which is the first segment of the future rattle.

Tundra swan

The Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) is a small Holarctic swan. The two taxa within it are usually regarded as conspecific, but are also sometimes split into two speciesCygnus bewickii (Bewick’s Swan) of the Palaearctic and the Whistling SwanC. columbianus proper, of the Nearctic. Birds from eastern Russia (roughly east of the Taimyr Peninsula) are sometimes separated as the subspecies C. c. jankowskii, but this is not widely accepted as distinct, most authors including them in C. c. bewickii. Tundra Swans are sometimes separated in the genusOlor together with the other Arctic swan species.

Duck Mallard

Image

The Mallard is a medium-sized waterfowl species although is often slightly heavier than most other dabbling ducks. It is 50–65 cm (20–26 in) long (of which the body makes up around two-thirds), has a wingspan of 81–98 cm (32–39 in), and weighs 0.72–1.58 kg (1.6–3.5 lb). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 25.7 to 30.6 cm (10.1 to 12.0 in), the bill is 4.4 to 6.1 cm (1.7 to 2.4 in) and the tarsus is 4.1 to 4.8 cm (1.6 to 1.9 in). The breeding male Mallard is unmistakable, with a glossy bottle-green head and white collar which demarcates the head from the purple-tinged brown breast, grey brown wings, and a pale grey belly. The rear of the male is black, with the dark tail having white borders. The bill of the male is a yellowish orange tipped with black while that of the female is generally darker ranging from black to mottled orange. The female Mallard is predominantly mottled with each individual feather showing sharp contrast from buff to very dark brown, a coloration shared by most female dabbling ducks, and has buff cheeks, eyebrow, throat and neck with a darker crown and eye-stripe.Both male and female Mallards have distinct iridescent purple blue speculum feathers edged with white, prominent in flight or at rest, though temporarily shed during the annual summer moult. Upon hatching, the plumage colouring of the duckling is yellow on the underside and face (with streaks by the eyes) and black on the backside (with some yellow spots) all the way to the top and back of the head. Its legs and bill are also black. As it nears a month in age, the duckling’s plumage will start becoming drab, looking more like the female (though its plumage is more streaked) and its legs will lose their dark grey colouring. Two months after hatching, the fledgling period has ended and the duckling is now a juvenile. Between three to four months of age, the juvenile can finally begin flying as its wings are fully developed for flight (which can be confirmed by the sight of purple speculum feathers). Its bill will soon lose its dark grey colouring and its sex can finally be distinguished by three factors. The bill colouring is yellow in males, black and orange for females. The breast feathers are reddish-brown for males, brown for females. The centre tail feather is curled for males (called a drake feather), straight for females.
During the final period of maturity leading up to adulthood (6–10 months of age), the plumage of female juveniles remains the same while the plumage of male juveniles slowly changes to its characteristic colours. This plumage change also applies to adult Mallard males when they transition in and out of their non-breeding eclipse plumage at the beginning and the end of the summer moulting period. The adulthood age for Mallards is 14 months and the average life expectancy is 20 years.A male Mallard’s head
An American Black Duck (top left) and a male Mallard (bottom right) in eclipse plumage
Several species of duck have brown-plumaged females which can be confused with the female Mallard. The female Gadwall (A. strepera) has an orange-lined bill, white belly, black and white speculum which is seen as a white square on the wings in flight, and is a smaller bird.More similar to the female Mallard in North America are the American Black Duck (A. rubripes), which is notably darker hued in both sexes than the Mallard, and the Mottled Duck (A. fulvigula), which is somewhat darker than the female Mallard, with no white edge on the speculum and slightly different bare-part colouration.

Black Mamba

Image

Black Mamba

The black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis), also called the common black mamba or black-mouthed mamba,is the longest venomous snake in Africa, averaging around 2.5 to 3.2 m (8.2 to 10 ft) in length, and sometimes growing to lengths of 4.45 m (14.6 ft).It is named for the black colour of the inside of the mouth rather than the colour of its scales which varies from dull yellowish-green to a gun-metal grey. It is also the fastest snake in the world, capable of moving at 4.32 to 5.4 metres per second (16–20 km/h, 10–12 mph).The black mamba has a reputation for being very aggressive, but it usually attempts to flee from humans like most snakes, unless it is threatened.Without rapid and vigorous antivenom therapy, a bite from a black mamba is almost always fatalThe black mamba has adapted to a variety of climates, ranging from savanna, woodlands, farmlands, rocky slopes, dense forests and humid swamps.The grassland and savanna woodland/shrubs that extend all the way from southern and eastern Africa to central and western Africa, eastern and southern Africa are the black mamba’s typical habitat.So I would not want to mess with one of these deadly snakes.

Timber Rattle Snake

This is me with a very deadly timber rattle snake.My friend and i came across it riding fourwheelers  almost ran over the snake.And i didnt notice the snake and my friend yelled “snake”!!and we both passed the snake and i backed up and he said to go get my dads friend while he sat there watching and messing with the snake i came back with my dads friend and he shot the snake and blew its head off. the snake had ten rattles on it.The snake was 4 feet long it was huge my friend and i were lucky that we didnt get bit because we were very close to it.

Me Holding A Timber Rattlesnake

Me Holding A Timber Rattlesnake