Tag California

Scorpions, and nectar, and crickets, oh my!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! People in California have been having a hard time. They are having some really bad wildfires again. This week’s blog is dedicated to all the people in California affected by these fires. I found a handsome bat that lives in California called the Pallid Bat. I think I have written about this bat before, but it is so cute that I thought it would be nice to read about them again. This bat also lives in British Columbia all the way down to central Mexico. They also live as far east as western Texas, Oklahoma, and southern Kansas. The Pallid Bat is found in deserts, rocky places, oak and pine forests, and farmland. These bats like to roost in caves, rock crevices, mines, hollow trees, and buildings. These adorable bats have light brown fur with pale white fur on their stomachs. They have special glands on their face, much like the glands of skunks. The glands produce an odor just like a skunk’s too. They use this odor to defend themselves. The Pallid Bat has an amazing adaptation. Unlike most bats, the Pallid Bat does not eat their food while flying. They land and then eat! They swoop down on their pray, and then carry their meal to a safe perch where they can eat it. These bats feast on crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, and scorpions.  Most North American bats aren’t big enough to safely take down a scorpion, but these fluff balls are actually immune to a scorpion’s sting. [And they pollinate cactus! Researchers noted that pallid bats netted near columnar cactus were often covered in pollen, but it was assumed they were picking up pollen while gleaning for insects. Researchers studying the plant interactions of another bat, the nectar […]

Some very special California critters

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. The world got some sad news Thursday when we learned of the passing of Koko the Gorilla. Koko was an amazing gorilla who had learned to communicate in American Sign Language. She was able to tell the world how she was feeling and what she was thinking in ways that humans didn’t realize animals would be able to. She was a great ambassador of the animal kingdom and will be greatly missed. I would like to express my sympathy to her caretakers and friends, especially Ms. Penny Patterson, who was Koko’s friend, teacher, and caretaker throughout Koko’s life. And I would like to dedicate this week’s blog to the memory of Koko. Since Koko lived in California, I thought it would be nice to learn about a California bat this week. Yuma myotis is just one of the adorable little critters that I read about. Not only does the Yuma myotis live in California, but it also lives in other parts of Western North America from British Columbia all the way down to Central Mexico. They live as far east as Oklahoma. They are covered by short brown fur and have little white tuffs on their stomachs. They always roost near a body of water, and like to rest in caves, attics, mines, and underneath bridges. They live in forests and desert areas with access to rivers, streams, ponds, or lakes. Like most other North American bats, these adorable animals like to munch on insects. Their favorites are moths, midges, caddisflies, craneflies, and beetles. If you would like to read more about the Yuma Myotis, you can find information here.        

Pants with pockets, and a tail!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. I’m excited because it is almost Winter Break. There is only one more week before I get a two-week vacation.  I can’t wait! A lot has been going on in the news this week. One thing makes me sad. There are a lot of wildfires in California again. I would like to dedicate this week’s blog to all the people and animals affected by these fires. I researched some bats from California and found a really cute one – the pocketed free-tailed bat! This adorable little bat lives in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and in Mexico. They look similar to the Brazilian free-tailed bat, but they have one major difference. These little guys have built in pockets! How cool is that? They have a fold of skin that stretches from the middle of the femur to the middle of the tibia. This fold makes a little pocket on the underside near their knee. The pocketed free-tailed bat eats insects. They like to roost in caves, crevices, mines, tunnels, and man-made structures. Unlike the Brazilian free-tailed bat, the pocket free-tailed bats don’t live in large colonies. Their colonies are usually fewer than 100 bats. If you would like to read more about the pocketed free-tailed bat, you can find information here. I would like to wish everyone who celebrates Hanukah a very happy holiday!