Winter Wildlife Discovery
V O L U M E 1 , I S S U E 1 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 , 2 0 1 0
Just How Do They Do It?
sleep all winter
tailed shrews do
New England has some of open stream channel, pine ing under 10 pounds sur-
the toughest and most cone castings on a tree vive months of conditions
variable conditions on root, fresh shavings inside that can push the degree
Wood frogs freeze earth. Yet even on the mark to –30F?
most frigid, windswept
days signs of wildlife activ-
The answer is a variety of
ity may be observed. Such
fascinating strategies that
sign may be in the form of
include chemical change,
a single trackline along an
cal adaptation and a little
While not everything survives, bit of gambling.
the death of one often means
INSIDE life for another.
a punked log or a chicka-
dee flitting overhead.
Chickadees! 2 Still, how do they do it?
How do creatures weigh-
Getting Cold Feet: Mallards
Wood Frogs! 5 Mallards are one of the most While the water tempera- ity to control bloodflow
frequently observed water- ture of the summer is within the legs. By divert-
About 6 fowl in Massachusetts. In pretty comfortable, how is ing bloodflow patterns in
Greenwalks! the summer they can be it that the ducks do not get the legs, the ducks are
found on most any perma- frostbiten? able to avoid frostbite
nent waterbody or with a Mallards (and other water- without giving all the pre-
trailing line of fuzzed duck- fowl) have the unique abil- cious body heat to the icy
They What?! : The Snapping Turtle
Snapping turtles are ponds within ten feet of ferent strategy takes hold.
large, fast and grumpy. the shore looking for Snappers survive the win-
They may reach a weight tasty fish and inverte- ter by breathing through
of thirty five pounds, brates. their back ends.
have a carapace length So what happens when In the winter, the turtle
approaching twenty the pond freezes? “breathes” by pulsing wa-
inches and have a bite Where do they go? The ter in and out of the clo-
force that can snap a answer is: nowhere. aca. The turtles body
broomstick as easily as takes oxygen directly from
During the summer,
one slices cheesecake. the water.
snappers breath through
Sliders in the sun. In summer, the adults their nose and lungs. In
(males especially) hang the winter freeze, a dif-
out on muddy bottom
Surviving on Fifty Cents: The Chickadee
Bergmann’s is a rule that asso- ping 1/3 of an ounce– approxi- dee has the ability to drop its
ciates latitude with body mass. mately the combined weight of body temperature by nearly
the winter months In short, the more northward two quarters. 20*F and enter suspended hy-
an animal lives, the larger For the frigid nights and cold pothermia. On the regular win-
(greater body mass to surface ter days, the chickadee survives
by breathing snaps, the resourceful chicka-
area) it is likely to be com- by eating, eating and eating. The
pared to the southern rela- slight flier will consume up to
through their back tives. 60% of it’s body weight in one
One of our most common day. The bird depends on eating
winter inhabitants didn’t get something approximately every
that memo. The black– capped three seconds. Is it any wonder
chickadee weighs in at a whop- they spend so much time flitting
at the bird feeder?
One Day Eternal: Shrews
trees provide The Northern that, if deprived food, mogeneis (NST). This is a
both the in- Short-tailed they will literally starve chemically induced proc-
sects and de-
shrew is hungry, to death within half a ess by which the energy
nearsighted and day. How do they avoid potential of resident adi-
cranked off. Oh, this? They rarely rest. pose tissue (brown fat) is
and poisonous. This shrew increases released as heat to ele-
Shrews have such survival ability by engag- vate the body tempera-
a high metabolism ing in non-shivering ther- ture.
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 3
How Much Wood: The Woodchuck
spring. Well, at least the fe-
Old field habitat. Wood-
chuck heaven. males do.
Around February, the males
emerge from hibernation.
the true hibernators.
The males seek out the later
When the time to sleep sleeping females and mate
comes, (around October) with them (while the female
The woodchuck is a lumber- the very fat woodchuck en- is still deep in hibernation).
ing fellow often seen sitting ters the winter den, lowers The male then leaves. The
“The males seek
on his haunches, chewing all breathing, drops its body females wake up pregnant
dandelions. temperature to approxi- and give birth shortly there- out the later
This giant squirrel is one of mately 40*F, and waits for after. sleeping females
and mate with
them (while the
It Had to Be Snakes: The Ringneck female is still
The Northern ringneck the redback. In areas of high other snakes or occasionally The male then
snake is a small dark snake food abundance, they are with enter other structures
with a yellow or orange ring relatively tolerant of con- such as basements or hiber-
around the neck and a specific encounters but nating animal burrows. The
matching color on the belly. other wise are a solitary congregating snakes will use
This gentle, harmless snake creature. the slight movements and
is primarily nocturnal and Though usually found under collective body heat to sur-
feeds on invertebrates and logs or loose bark, the ring- vive the winter before
smaller salamanders such as neck will overwinter with emerging in May.
Frogsickles: The Wood Frog
The familiar barking call of what is essentially ice water. right along with the rest
the woodfrog is a spring There is a reason and kinship of the winter. A form of
greeting that comes after the for this. antifreeze is produced
first continuous spring rain. The wood frog does not sur- by the liver and pro-
Emerging from deep within vive through traditional hi- tects cellular respira-
the leaf letter surrounding bernation, but uniquely sus- tion, but the frog itself
the waterbodies, masked pends body functions and freezes so fully that if
bandit of an amphibian seems allows the body to freeze hit upon a hard surface
perfectly comfortable in it would break apart.
Greenwalks is dedicated to observing and
Organization understanding nature. This is accom-
plished through casual, guided walks
Greenwalks! through urban and suburban destinations.
A $20.00 donation is encouraged.The
proceeds go to support open space acqui-
7 Vinnie Way
sition and management.
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
Phone: (508) 792-1121 The Mission is to demonstrate that one
Fax: (508) 757-0384 does not need to go deep in the woods or
E-mail: email@example.com far away to observe and learn about na-
Warning~ Participation in Greenwalks
may lead to learning, an active body
and increased curiosity.
What is Greenwalks? ing local environments. to become involved in local
Greenwalks is dedicated to Greenwalks seeks to debunk land protection is to speak
observing and understanding those myths. with your town’s conservation
nature. This is accomplished officer. S/he will be able to
through casual, guided walks introduce you to the many
I don’t know much about
through urban and suburban ways you can contribute to
the outdoors. Will this be
destinations. land protection!
over my head?
Not at all. All walks are geared
Why urban and suburban to the novice. The most im-
areas? portant part is to be comfort-
Most of the population is lo- able and curious.
cated in an urban or suburban
environment. There is a myth How can I become more
that nature only exists in involved with local land
“wild” places and that nature protection?
is “savage”. Both of these
Great question! The best way
myths keep many from explor- Scarboro Pond, Greenwalk