While going on a leisurely walk in a Spring, Texas nature preserve, I heard the lovely call of the female barred owl. What I wasn't prepared for was the monkey-like sounds that came next. It seems that mated pairs emit "monkey calls".
Barred owls are found in treed swamps and old-growth forests. Their range includes the eastern United States to Minnesota and east Texas, up to Canada and across the Pacific northwest. They nest in tree cavities near water and at night they hunt rodents and other small animals.
Although they are still a common and widespread species, they have declined in areas of the south with the loss of swamp habitat. They generally lay between 2-3 white eggs and take around a month to hatch.
If you want to observe these beautiful birds of prey, try hiking quietly in nature preserves close to swamps, bayous, or coniferous forests at dawn or dusk. However, the best time to hear them, or perhaps see them, is at night. Often if you hear their calls and repeat it back to them, they will fly down closer to you for further inspection and answer your call. Don't forget to bring your binoculars and your camera! These gentle-faced owls don't disappoint with their 43 inch wing span and inquisitive demeanor.
We've made it to the land of Blue Bonnets, even if they're not in season until next year! The air is hot, the sun is strong, and the people are welcoming! Last week we spent two days traveling from Michigan to Texas, and we're excited to say that we have arrived and are ready to bring our best! We've only been here a few days and we've already come into possession another species-an invasive species-the Mediterranean House Gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus.
The Mediterranean House Gecko is a small gecko that naturally lives in the Mediterranean region. They are highly adaptable and flourish in regions with climates similar to their native region. They are often found in homes and other human structures, and are voracious consumers of moths and other insects! Originally from southern Europe and northern Africa, they secretly traveled with ancient humans across the old world, reaching far into Asia. In modern times they have expanded to the Caribbean region and the southern United States. They have few predators in their introduced locations and are even considered beneficial by some cultures.
They are a fortunate species to actually have an increasing population, and while some are collected for the pet trade and others are killed by human activity, they are flourishing. Females lay clutched of 1-2 eggs several times a year. While they are relatively harmless, it is important to make sure we do not accidentally introduce species to regions where they may be harmful!
Last week some of our staff visited Joy Preparatory Academy in Detroit, Michigan to deliver reptile books and magazines to the school! The children there love reptiles and are excited to read about some of their favorite animals. Their passion for these animals is definitely thanks to the work of Ms. Angela Bowen, the Middle School science teacher, whose passion for wildlife has shaped these children's appreciation for animals! We'd also like to give a thanks to Mrs. Jessica Rice, the principal, who helped set up the date, greeted us at the door, and eased our load carrying magazines by calling the eighth graders to help us out!
One of our missions is to educate children about wildlife and inspire them to be active stewards of the Earth. It was great seeing not only the middle school students reading the magazines but the kindergarten students flipping through the pages! While the kindergartners may not be able to read more than a few words now, we hope the magazines drive the children to want to read and ask elders to read the passages for them.
Work like this always makes us feel good to make a difference in not only animal lives, but human lives as well. We love to give back to our communities. Seeing the smiles on the children's faces is what makes all our hard work and efforts worthwhile. This is what life is all about and we are proud that this is what our company, REPCO, represents.
Did you know that all 8 species of pangolins are threatened with extinction? Shockingly, more than 1 million pangolins have been traded internationally, illegally. This has made them the world's most trafficked mammal.
But wait, you may be asking yourself, exactly what is a pangolin? Pangolins are a small mammal that lives between Asia and Africa, weighing 4-5 pounds. They eat ants (up to 70 million a year!) and termites, and have protective scales that cover their body. When pangolins get scared, they roll in a protective ball, much like the hedgehog. They often only give birth to one baby after being pregnant for 140 to 300 days, depending on the species.
Unfortunately, pangolins are poached for chinese "medicine". They are falsely believed to cure cancer, help asthma, reduce swelling, increase blood circulation, etc. In Africa and Vietnam they are often consumed as the pangolin meat is thought to prolong life. Those who practice voodoo or Juju believe pangolins have magical properties.
Many conservation groups like WWF, Pangolin Conservation and SavePangolins.org are currently working to end the illegal poaching of these endangered mammals. By working with governments and helping educate others, we can help save this amazing species before it is too late! Support your local zoos and conservation, societies to help protect our Earth's wildlife.
About Crystal Poyfair