Deciduous Forest Animals


There are many, many animals which live in the Deciduous forest. Small and large animals alike use the forest for shelter and food. For four to seven months, the trees in the deciduous forest are leafless and food is scarce. The animals either migrate, hibernate or find other ways to endure winter. Sixty to seventy percent of the birds found in the Temperate deciduous forest migrate to the tropics for the winter months! Below you will find some examples of the animals found in the Temperate deciduous forest along with some interesting facts about them. 


Tawny Owl
Male hooting
Tawny Owls - hunt almost entirely at night, usually waiting quietly on a perch, watching and listening. After detecting a prey animal moving in the grass, the Owl glides down or drops onto it and, at the moment of impact, extends its wings to cover the victim, which is usually killed immediately by the powerful feet and claws. During courtship the male perches near the female and sways from side to side, then up and down, raising first one wing then the other and finally both together.
 
Raccoon
Raccoon - raccoons are easily identified by their masked faces and ringed tails. They have five toes on both the front and hind feet! They are omnivorous and eat a variety of foods, including frogs, fish, amphibians, insects, eggs, mice, berries, nuts, vegetation, corn, cat food, and human garbage! During cold weather, raccoons will sleep for several days, but do not hibernate.
 
Opposum
Opossum - Opossums are North America's only marsupial (pouched mammal). Opossums have opposable thumbs on their rear feet and can also grasp with their tails. Opossums in extreme danger may "play 'possum." This coma-like state can last up to four hours, during which time the opossum will become stiff, drool, and have extremely slow, shallow breathing. Most predators will give up the attack, believing the opossum to be dead!
 
Salamander
Salamander - larval stage salamanders breathe using gills, while adult salamanders use lungs or breathe through the skin. Most salamanders are carnivores. They feed on insects, worms, and similar prey. Some species use their tongues to catch the prey. Salamanders' predators include fish, snakes, and birds.
 
Black Bear
Black Bear - if need be, black bears can run faster than 25 mph or climb trees as fast as squirrels. Black bears communicate with grunts, by expelling air in different ways, or with a resonant "voice". Bear cubs readily scream in distress, whine when approaching their mother, or give a tremulous hum when nursing or are comfortably warm!
 
Bobwhite Quail
Bobwhite Quail - famous for their vocal abilities. In spring and summer, males challenge each other from their perches with a whistled bob-WHITE! or bob-bob-WHITE! At all times of the year they may caterwaul like cats. When a quail senses an approaching enemy, it instantly warns its companions. The entire flock, or covey, explodes into flight with a loud roar of wings and scatters in all directions! Bobwhites are also rapid and tireless runners.
 
Northern Copperhead
Northern Copperhead - the coloration of the Copperhead resembles the fallen leaves, sticks, and other debris on the forest floor, giving it excellent protection from its enemies. Baby copperheads, up to a year or so in age, may be easily identified by the presence of a bright yellowish-green tail tip. The tail is twitched and turned to resemble the movements of a grub or worm. Investigating animals see the movement as a possible meal but do not notice the well-hidden snake attached to the tail.
 
White Tail Deer
Whitetail Deer - these deer are extremely cautious and wary animals with highly developed senses of sight, smell, and hearing. If seriously frightened however, a whitetail deer will often utter a loud, snorting call, and then quickly run away while raising their tail upwards like a flag, exposing the white underneath as a visual alarm to other deer nearby. The young deer, known as fawns, are almost scentless for the first few days of their life!
 
American Burying Beetle
American Burying Beetle - used to be found in all states east of the Rocky Mountains and some areas of southeastern Canada. Today, the only eastern state they are found in is Rhode Island. When the eggs laid by the female burying beetle hatch into larvae, the mother and father beetle stay with the young beetles to feed and protect them. This level of parental care is very unusual in insects.
 
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal - during courtship feedings, female cardinals assume a posture similar to that of begging fledglings and quiver their wings. Males respond to this display by approaching the female with food. Both adults feed the nestlings, but male cardinals usually provide more food than do females. To encourage following, the adult glides away from fledglings in the appropriate direction with spread wings and tail. If the fledglings fail to respond, the adult returns and repeats the display.
 
Eastern Cottontail
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit - cottontail rabbits require more water in the winter than in the summer, and they can usually will eat snow to obtain this. The ear length of a rabbit is usually related to the particular habitat in which it is found - the cottontail's ears are of medium length. Baby rabbits are called kittens.
 
Eastern Chipmonk
Chipmunk - cheek pouches on a chipmunk can strech almost to the size of the chipmunk's head. A chipmunk can carry nine large nuts at a time: four in each cheek pouch and one between its teeth! A chipmunk usually bites off any sharp edges from nuts or seeds before placing them in its elastic cheek pouches as to not pinch or peirce it's cheeks.

 
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Female - Dark Phase
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - adults eat the nectar of flowers from a variety of plants including wild cherry and lilac. Caterpillars eat leaves of various plants including wild cherry, sweetbay (Magnolia), basswood, tulip tree, birch, ash, cottonwood, mountain ash, and willow. The caterpillars rest on silken mats in shelters of curled leaves.
 
European Hedgehog
European Hedgehog - eat beetles, worms, caterpillars, slugs and almost anything they can catch! Hibernation usually begins about November and ends around Easter, but is much affected by the weather. Hedgehogs normally wake up several times over winter and often build a new nest. Hedgehogs are not related to porcupines, instead hedgehog relatives include shrews and moles.
 
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