May 2018, Wildlife Report

In May the Mercer County Wildlife Center accepted the following 461 animals for

rehabilitation:

71  Eastern cottontail

53  Virginia opossum

44  Common raccoon

31  Canada goose

27  European starling

24  American robin

23  White-tailed deer

23  Mallard

20  House sparrow

16  Eastern gray squirrel

12  Eastern box turtle

 9  White-footed mouse

 8  Northern copperhead

 7  Common grackle

 7  Blue jay

 7  Red fox

 6  Common merganser

 6  Mourning dove

 6  Woodchuck

 5  Eastern screech-owl

 5  House wren

 4  Gray catbird

 4  Black-capped chickadee

 4  Striped skunk

 3  Black vulture

 3  White-breasted nuthatch

 3  House finch

 3  Wood duck

 3  Northern flying squirrel

 3  Eastern chipmunk

 3  Eastern painted turtle

 2  Great horned owl

 2  Turkey vulture

 2  Northern cardinal

 1  American crow

 1  Brown-headed cowbird

 1  Tufted titmouse

 1  Barn swallow

 1  Horned grebe

 1  Red-tailed hawk

April 2018, Wildlife Report

April, 2018 Wildlife Report

In April the Mercer County Wildlife Center accepted the following 181 animals for rehabilitation:

60  Eastern cottontail

47  Eastern gray squirrel

10  Virginia opossum

  5  Canada goose

  4  Mallard

  4  Mourning dove

  4  Red fox

  3  Tree swallow

  3  Red-tailed hawk

  3  Common raccoon

  2  Great horned owl

  2  Rock dove

  2  White-footed mouse

  1  Black vulture

  1  Cooper's hawk

  1  Eastern screech-owl

  1  American crow

  1  Herring gull

  1  Yellow-bellied sapsucker

  1  Common grackle

  1  Cedar waxwing

  1  American robin

  1  American woodcock

  1  Turkey vulture

  1  Horned grebe

  1  Big brown bat

  1  Eastern milk snake

  1  Common musk turtle

  1  Eastern box turtle  

  

Animal Ambassadors used in educational programming:

 

Big brown bats

Red tailed hawk

Northern saw whet owl

Eastern screech owl

American kestrel

Striped skunk

Virginia opossum

"Getting to know your local wildlife..."

VIRGINIA OPOSSUM

Opossums have a prehensile (adapted for grasping – not hanging) tail and an opposable (capable of being placed opposite) thumb and big toe, both unique among our native mammals.  Their young are born only 13 days after fertilization, crawl into the mother's pouch where they latch onto nipples, and continue their development for another two months.  They have 50 teeth, more than twice the number of most other mammals.

When an opossum is in danger, it will first hiss and growl, lunge at a predator, and then try to escape by running or climbing a tree.  In those few cases where it is trapped, the opossum instinctively falls down on its side with its mouth slightly open; it may also drool, defecate, and give off a bad smell, making itself very unattractive to a predator.  This state may last a few minutes or several hours, but the opossum seems to snap out of it as rapidly as it fell into it.  Since the action is an instinctive response, the opossum is not consciously controlling it.   So it is not "playing possum."

The opossum is grayish in the north and black in the south. It is 15 to 20 inches long, excluding tail, and weighs from 4 to 14 pounds.  Opossums are active at night (nocturnal).  During the day they sleep in dens or other protected spots.  They are nomadic and  tend to shift dens frequently.  Seventy-five percent of the time they use a den for only one night before moving on, though there are times when the opossum may use the same den for 20 to 30 days.  Opossums may even share dens with other animals such as rabbits, skunks, and woodchucks.

Male opossums are aggressive toward other males but not toward females.     Non-estrous females are generally aggressive toward estrous (in heat) females.  During mating the male bites the fur on the female's neck and then climbs onto her back. At this point both topple over to the right, and copulation takes place.  It has been found that they almost always fall to the right.  If for some reason they fall to the left or remain standing, copulation is less likely to be successful.  Gestation of the young lasts only 12 to 13 days, at which point each baby is about   ½ inch long and weights the merest fraction of an ounce.  There is an average of 6 to 10 young in a litter.  In about 2 weeks they are weaned, and in another 3 to 4 weeks they are independent.

Help Us Save Wild...To Donate Please Click Below:

Wildlife Center Friends, Inc., PO Box 161, 1748 River Road, Titusville, NJ 08560

Mercer County Wildlife Center

609-303-0552

Location:  Rt. 29; 3.2 miles north of the Titusville Fire Station

January 2018 Wildlife Report

January, 2018 Wildlife Report

In January the Mercer County Wildlife Center accepted the following 46 animals for rehabilitation.  For the calendar year 2017 the Wildlife Center accepted 2,451 animals for rehabilitation.  Included were 349 Eastern cottontail, 344 Eastern gray squirrel, and 156 common raccoon.

6  Canada goose

5  Mourning dove

4  Big brown bat

4  Common raccoon

3  Virginia opossum

2  Great blue heron

2  Cooper's hawk

2  Eastern cottontail

2  Eastern box turtle

1  Eastern screech owl

1  Herring gull

1  Dark-eyed junco

1  Northern flicker

1  Red-shouldered hawk

1  Blue jay

1  House finch

1  Mallard

1  American robin

1  Turkey vulture

1  Red-tailed hawk

1  Northern cardinal

1  Snowy owl

1  White-footed mouse

1  Bobcat

1  Common garter snake

Education Ambassadors:

Eastern screech owl

Red-tailed hawk

Great horned owl

Barn owl

Striped skunk

Big brown bat

Northern saw whet owl

Barred owl

 

"Getting to know your local wildlife..."

CANADA GOOSE

Canada geese are generally migratory, moving in conspicuous lines or V-shaped formations high in the air as they travel south in fall and north in spring.  Over the last twenty years this pattern has changed slightly due to wildlife management practices of providing food for the geese throughout the winter.  Now many flocks of geese are remaining in northern areas in winter.

Adult Canada geese go through one complete molt per year.  This occurs in mid-summer and is completed by about mid-August.  The young are still with the adults during the molt, and at this stage none of the family can fly; the young because they have not grown their full primary feathers and the adults because they are molting.  When the male and female are together you can usually tell the male, for he is slightly larger. 

Since there are no differences in their plumage, you must rely primarily on their differences in behavior.  The calls of the two sexes are very distinct.  The male's is low, with two syllables; "ahonk."  The female's is higher, with usually only one syllable; "honk."  Canada geese usually first pair in winter.  Pairs can remain together for as long as both geese live.  The male defends the immediate area around the female; the female closely following the male of her choice.

The nest is on the ground at the edge of open water or on small hummocks.  The outside diameter is 16 to 20 inches.  It is made of cattail leaves, grasses, and lining of feathers.  The first egg may be laid within an hour after the completion of the nest.  The remaining eggs are laid one per day until the clutch is complete.  The average number of eggs is 5.  Young geese are ready to leave the nest almost as soon as they hatch.

Help Us Save Wild!

Mercer County Wildlife Center

609-303-0552