Shared Flashcard Set


American Wildlife
Environmental Studies
Undergraduate 4

Additional Environmental Studies Flashcards





Virginia Opossum


description: pointed white face, naked tail, cat-sized, eyeshine dull orange, nocturnal


range: West and East coast and E. of the Rockies through Central America (probably were introduced to CA)




habitat: farming areas, woodlands, often along streams, also does well in urban areas


diet: omnivorous- insects, carrion, fruits, vegetables, nuts, small animals


litter: 1-4


repro: Jan-July, several litters/year, stay in pouch for 2 months



sometimes hunted for sport or fur; edible, but not commonyl eaten; may "play possum" when cornered; opposable thumb in rear feet


Gray Wolf


description: color ranges form white to black, usu. grey, round ears, long brushy tail held high when running, very large


range: Canada, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, N. Mexico, SW and N. Mexico




habitat: very adaptable, mountains, temperate forest, grasslands; key is that they need LARGE tracts of land with prey to follow


diet: medium to large ungulates including caribou, elk, moose, deer; also small mammals and birds

*hunt in packs


litter: 5-7, milked and fed regurgetated meat


repro: cooperative breeding=only alpha male and female of pack breed (seasonal pair bond), mate for season Jan-March, pups born April-May


complex social systems- packs of 2-12 or more


status: INCREASING, endangered in contiguous US, except Minnesota where listed as threatened, de-listing planned for Great Lakes, not listed in Alaska (aerial gunning)


Red Wolf


description: reddish grey to nearly black, small rounded ears, larger than coyote but smaller than gray wolf


range: historic: Southearstern US

current: North Carolina




habitat: brushy forested areas, river bottoms, coastal prairies


diet: small mammals and birds, crabs, occasionally deer (usu. fawns)


litter: 2-10 pups, born April-May


status: status as a distinct species is controversial, genetic testing shows red wolf as coyote/gray wolf hybrid (interbreeds with both)

ENDANGERED at federal level





description: reddish grey with reddish brown legs/feet/ears, belly and throat whitish, large ears, runs with tail down, larger than foxes/ smaller than wolves


range: across US and into Canada, Alaska and Central America




habitat: prairies, open woodlands, brushy or rocky areas, urban and suburban areas (usu. some sort of cover for dens)


diet: opportunistic-birds, small rodents, rabbits, berries and other vegetation


litter: 1-19, born April-May


repro: dominant pairs breed, hybridize with domestic dogs

form social groups, though usu. smaller and less cohesive than wolves, these groups maintain exclusive terretories (hunting route usu. 10 miles)


status: INCREASING, prob. due to lack of competition with larger carnivores (example of mesopredator release hypothesis)


Arctic Fox


description: bluish brown in summer/ white in winter, short rounded ears, no white tip on tail


range: N. Canada and North/West Alaska, also in Eurasia, Greenland, and Iceland




habitat: tundra (N. latitudes, treeless), mostly near shores


diet: scavenger- dead amrine mammals and fish (follows polar bears in winter), also lemmings, hares, birds, eggs, berries


litter: 6-12, born April-June


repro: monogamous, father brings food to pups


status: STABLE (may cyle with lemmings)


Red Fox


description: reddish-yellow, white belly, white tail tip, *legs and feet black, (NOT always red)


range: throughout Canada and Alaska, Eastern US and plains states; introduced in East and West and interbred with native populations




variable habitat, mix of forests and open places (some cover for denning)


diet: small mammals, birds, eggs, berries


litter: 1-10 pups, born March-May


repro: seasonally monogamous


subspecies: Sierra Nevada Red Fox



Kit Fox


description: small grey fox (25% smaller than red fox), very LARGE ears, black-tipped tail


range: Southwestern US and Mexico (Kit Fox hybridizes with Swift Fox where their ranges overlap)




habitat: low desert vegetation, junipers, open sandy ground


diet: redoents and rabbits


litter: 3-5 pups, born March-April




status: DECLINING (due to predator control programs, trapping for fur, and competition with coyotes)

this is an "umbrella species"

*San Joaquin subspecies is federally endangered (loss of habitat due to farming, development, and rodenticides)


Gray Fox


description: grey and black body, reddish below, bushy gray tail with *black stripe* along top and black tip


range: most of US except NW, central and South America




variable habitat: woodlands, brushy areas, chapparal (usu. some cover and some trees)


diet: small mammals, birds, eggs, insects, fruits, acorns


litter: 1-7, born March-May


repro: monogamous, mals tends to young but does not stay in den


status: STABLE and widespread, hunted and trapped for fur (classified as furbearer in CA)


*only American canid that climbs trees


Island Gray Fox

description: smallest fox in US, gray with shorter legs and tail


range: found only on CA's Channel Islands


habitat: all types of habitat found on Channel Islands (grassland)


diet: small mammals, insects, fruit, mice, birds


litter: 1-5


repro: probably monogamous

nocturnal, crepuscular (active at dusk), solitary


status: DECLINING (<40 today)

multiple subspecies on different islands, 4 of 6 subspecies listed as endangered

causes: diseases introduced form domestic dogs, Golden Eagle predation (after Bald Eagle left due to DDT), competition with feral cats or introduced herbivores


Mountain Lion


description: largest cat in US, tawny to greyish coat, LONG black-tipped tail


range: Western north America, Florida, Central and South America (originally throughout US)

require LARGE home ranges, may disperse up to 100 miles




habitat: varied- mountains, forestsm swamps


diet: mostly deer, also hares, rodents, bighorn sheep, moose, domestic animals

ambush predator, "cache-ing" (partially bury carcass)


litter: 1-6 cubs, usu. 2


repro: polygamous/ promiscuous

solitary, nocturnal and secretive


status: common in W. US, rare in E. US, Florida and Eastern subspecies are endangered

increasing in CA, game species in most Western states

protected in CA since 1972 (but around 100 killed each year under depredation permits)


Canada Lynx


description: short tail with COMPLETELY black tip, *long tufts on ears, large feet for walking in the snow


range: Northern North America (Canada, Alaska)




habitat: forests, swamps


diet: mostly snowshoe hares, also rodents and birds

*populations fluctuate with hare abundance, approx. 9 year cycle


litter: 1-6 (usu. 2)



reproduction: polygamous/ promiscuous

solitary and nocturnal


status: game species in Canada, trapped for fur

threatened in US due to habitat loss

extirpated in much of former US range




description: short tail, black only on top of tail, shorter ear tufts


range: most of US, S. Canada, N. Mexico




habitat: forests, chapparal, swamps, brushy areas (usu. with some cover)


diet: small mammals and birds, sometimes carrion


litter: 1-7, born April-May


repro: polygamous/ promiscuous

nocturnal and solitary


status: STABLE, common in some areas, scarce in others

valued for fur, hunting/trapping/commerce in fur is regulated, fully protected in 10 states (furbearer in CA)


Black Bear


description: black to reddish, straight profile, *no hump at shoulders, sometimes white area on chest, drown face, smallest bear


rabge: widespread in US and Canada, range expands to Mexico (places with mtns. and forests)




wide varietyof habitats: mountains, forests, shrubby areas, swamps, NOT in plains or desert


diet: omniverous- berries, nuts, insects, small mammals, grass, honey, carrion, garbage (naturally, tend to eat what's available seasonally)


litter: usu. 2 cubs born in winter den, Jan-Feb


repro: mate in spring, females reproduce every ohter year, young stay with mother for 2 years


generally nocturnal, solitary except females with cubs, semi-hibernate in winter North


status: STABLE or INCREASING, important game animal, can damage orchards, behavioral problems from contact with  humans (have learned to break into cars, coolers, etc. and will teach to their young)


Grizzly Bear


description: yellowish brown to nearly black, *hump above shoulders, white/ silvery tips on hairs ("grizzled"), BIG


range: now mostly restricted to wilderness areas, also in E. Europe and Siberia



non-migratory, but HUGE home ranges


habitat: high mountains and tundra


diet: meat (fish to rodents to elk), fruit, grass, grubs, carrion, omniverous and will eat what's available


litter: usu. 2 cubs born in January (during hibernation)


repro: polygynous/ promiscuous


status: threatened in US due to habitat loss, still fairly common in Canada and N. Russia

game animal, regulated hunting in most of range, may prey on livestock


active at any time of day, solitary or small family groups, hibernate in winter




Polar Bear


description: all white or yellowish


range: arctic coasts and islands  (above Canada), (similar to arctic fox)





habitat: ice, rocky shores


diet: carniverous (mostly seals)


litter: usu. 2 cubs born in winter den


reproduction: polygynous/ promiscuous

solitary except for mating or female with cubs; hibernate


status: DECLINING but still abundant (20-25K)

listed as threatened due to decrease of sea ice coverage (climate change), almost completely portected from hunting (some cultural hunts do occur)

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