May 29, 2013
There are only 17 days left until our Nature Gardens and Nature Lab exhibits open! This makes me extremely excited and a little bit nauseous. To cope with the craziness, all I have to do is go and visit our new Nature Lab babies. Just in case you're feeling stressed out too, here's some baby love for you:
This is our new program opossum, Didelphis virginiana. She is a rescue animal that we were lucky enough to get from a local rehabber. She is blind in one eye (from a dog attack) which makes her unreleasable, and therefore our newest and cutest ambassador for L.A. wildlife.
Look she smiles, even though she's blind in one eye!
We also have 14 baby Norway rats, Rattus norvigicus! They are currently in training to move into their new home which will be decked out with lots of toys including ladders, wheels, tubes, and a see-saw or two.
Our baby rats snuggle up for a nap
You've already met our harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex spp., but here is a much better close up of the babies, aka larvae. You'll be able to visit them in the Nature Lab and watch their older sisters caring for them.
Antlings are cute too!
Recently one of our crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, had about 100 babies hatch. The fry (that's what you call a baby crayfish...not because they're good eating though) are about the size of a quarter and they zip around tank town like anything. This is mostly because they are looking for food, and trying to escape being eaten by the adults. What can I say, it's a hard life!
Biggy-baby and not-so-biggy-baby hanging out together.
Last but not least, here is one of our California Newts, Taricha torosa. Did you know that baby newts are called efts? If you are an avid L.A. Times crossworder, then you already know this, I swear eft is in the puzzle, like every other week!
Who could say no to one of our baby newts?
Want to meet our new babies? Come by the Nature Lab after it opens on June 9!
July 6, 2012
Last night many of us were enjoying the Fourth of July firework displays. Many of our pets were closed up indoors cowering under blankets, hiding under beds, or being generously shut up in bathrooms or garages. But what about the wild animals?
Up to this point in my life, I had never paused to consider how wildlife might react to fireworks. Maybe this is just me, but until I got into work this morning and saw some footage and stills from our camera traps, I had never even stopped to think about it.
Here are the images Sam Easterson sent me:
Did the opossums feel like they were under attack?
Or were they going out to enjoy the show?
Sam said, "The Opossums got really agitated by the sound of the fireworks last night. There were a lot of trips in and out of the den around dusk. Then, a little later in the evening, one of the Opossums exited the den with what looks to be 4 or 5 babies on her/his back. They must have gone out to see the show. Or, they were trying to get away from it!"
Did you witness any interesting wildlife behaviors last night, during our explosive celebrations? Drop me a line and let me know what you saw or heard!
May 10, 2012
On the tails (mammal and bird tails that is) of last week's post, I thought I'd continue to focus your attention on our wonderful new pond. Sam Easterson has set up some of his trusty camera traps next to the waterfall to see who might be visiting the pond. Check out the following images to see what he has found so far.
Nighttime is busy at the pond!
Stray cat...sorry, there aren't any fish in the pond yet
and no you can't eat them when there are!
Opossum...no tin foil in the pond either.
Although these night time endeavors are interesting, I think the action during the light of day is even more so. Over the last few weeks, Sam's traps have captured over 50 images of birds hanging out by the pond.
American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
That is one good bath!
Black-headed Grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus,
stops by for a moment.
Western Gull, Larus occidentalis, going in for a drink.
Camera shy Swainson's Thrush, Catharus ustulatus.
Male Western Tanager, Piranga ludoviciana
For the grand finale, watch three bird species drinking from the pond at once! We've got a Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura, on the far left, a Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis, center frame, and a Warbling Vireo, Vireo gilvus, doing a fly-by.
Want to see more creatures caught on camera trap? No problem, check out lots more pictures and videos on our flickr pool.
April 13, 2012
Remember back in December, when I said I'd let you all know if we had baby Virginia opossums, Didelphis virginiana? Well it's spring, and right on cue they're here! Sam Easterson's camera traps have caught the babies (we think there are three) on video over the last week, and although many people don't find opossum babies cute, there are a few of us here at the Museum that do. Check them out and make your own assessment.
Out for ride on Mom's back!
Here are some interesting facts about opossum babies.
December 28, 2011
A few weeks ago, Sam Easterson followed a trail of tin foil and discovered the den of a Virginia opossum, Didelphis virginiana, underneath one of the Museum's storage sheds. Since then he set up camera traps around the den to see what was going on. This is what we found...A night of tin foil escapades. What on Earth are they doing with all the tin foil? Tin foil hats to ward off alien thought control maybe?
All kidding aside, it seems that this opossum has extracted a tasty morsel from inside the shiny package and is taking it down into the den.
Afternoon stroll?The next day, one of the opossums emerges for a late afternoon jaunt in the park, and takes a peek at the camera trap!Running away from Museum security!Can you see the flash light?Doing the Chores Finally, we caught lots of images of the opossums collecting leaves with their tails! Their prehensile tails are a great tool for grasping small objects and are sometimes used for hanging upside down in trees. Though the notion that they sleep hanging upside down is a myth, their tails are not strong enough to hold them upside down for an entire night.
Wait, there's more tin foil!What is in store for 2012? Sam's got a few tricks up his sleeve, which I'm not willing to reveal just yet. Suffice it to say that we're all hoping there will be babies in the spring! Happy 2012!