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Iowa’s furbearing mammals

Author: john-kraus

Post on 12-Apr-2017

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Iowas furbearing mammals

Iowas furbearing mammals

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Iowas smallest furbearing mammal is the masked shrew

Iowas furbearing mammals

Masked shrews have really pointed noses.

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Masked shrews eat bugs and worms and even mice.

Short-tailed shrews are slightly larger cousins. Shrews need to eat twice their body weight every day to survive

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grasshopper

Grasshoppers would be a good crunchy summer food choice for a hungry short-tailed shrew

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This white-footed mouse would be attacked by shrews in the winter

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White-footed mice feast on high carbohydrate seeds, like this Virginia wild rye, out in the woods.

White-footed mice feast on high carbohydrate seeds, like this Virginia wild rye, out in the woods.

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White-footed mice, and their doll-eyed deer mouse cousins, store those seeds in hollow trees for winter

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Big brown bats look a lot like mice, but with wings

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Big brown bats have wings that open about a foot wide.

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Big brown bats gobble up to 500 mosquitoes an hour at night during the summer.

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Big brown bats also help control European corn borer moths

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Big brown bats are the only Iowa bats that sometimes sneak into houses and stay to hibernate in winter.

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Big brown bats can wake up and look for water if the attic gets too warm, giving us a scary surprise.

Big brown bats can wake up and look for water if the attic gets too warm, giving us a scary surprise.

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The little brown myotis (bat) has a wingspan of about ten inches and also hunts for bugs, often over ponds and lakes, in the summer.

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Little brown bats normally summer and winter in caves.

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Little brown bats cluster for comfort in caves during the winterWhite nose syndrome could someday wipe them out

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These domed bare dirt mounds show us where a pocket gopher colony lives. Pocket gophers make many connected tunnels about two feet below the soil surface, like a subway system.

These domed bare dirt mounds show us where a pocket gopher colony lives. Pocket gophers make many connected tunnels about two feet below the soil surface, like a subway system.

The mounds will be non-uniform with a visible plug in the hole near the center or the side. Tunnels between the mounds are generally difficult to see because they are too far below the surface. In contrast, mole hills are uniform mounds and their tunnels are visible or at least can be felt when you step on one.19

Pocket gopher

Heres a rare look at a nearsighted pocket gopher pushing some dirt up to make another new mound

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Pocket gophers like to eat plant roots, such as burdock, that grow down into their tunnels.

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Pocket gopher have little pockets below their cheeks. Notice those handy full-sized digging claws

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Eastern moles have big digging claws too

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Eastern moles have a very velvety fur that lets them push their way through the soft sod. They have even poorer eyesight than pocket gophers.

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Eastern moles are meat-eaters and key in on burrowed worms.

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Eastern moles felt-like fur feels super-soft

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Heres a muff made from mole fur

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Thirteen-lined ground squirrels are sometimes called streaked gophers. Guess how many stripes they sport on their short fur coats.

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Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels .

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels like to live in short grass areas such as pastures and cemeteries where they stand up straight and earn the slang name pasture peg. They eat the tender new grass growth in summer .

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Thirteen-lined ground squirrels retreat underground and truly hibernate from November to March, going into a long deep sleep.

The thirteen lined ground squirrel is the animal mascot for the Minnesota Golden Gophers sports teams.30

Eastern chipmunks are the woodland counterpart to those open-country streaked gophers. Eastern chipmunks only have two white stripes on their brown backs.

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Eastern chipmunks chow down on acorns in autumn, hauling huge bunches back to store in their pantries

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Tree stump holes make good homes and pantries for eastern chipmunks. They will scamper across the snow on warm sunny winter days, searching for some fresh nuts to munch on.

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Woodland habitat with some mature oak trees is very attractive to many animals

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Acorns are a nutritious superfood for many critters.

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Flying squirrels are small and cute and about the size of a chipmunk

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Flying squirrels can glide through the air for a hundred yards or more if taking off high in a tree on a hilltop.

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Flying squirrels are nocturnal and search for acorns or other favored foods like birdseed at night.

Gray squirrel

Gray squirrels are the most common squirrel in our area, found in town and out in the forest

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Gray squirrels & fox squirrels can hunted be for food

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Fried squirrel makes a fine main dish for supper.

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Save those squirrel tails for some extra spending cash

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Mepps buys squirrel tails from hunters for a quarter apiece to dress their fishing spinners

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Shagbark hickory trees could be called squirrel magnets out in the timber.

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Shagbark hickory nuts taste like filet mignon to feasting squirrels looking to fatten up for winter

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Fox squirrels are a bit bigger than gray squirrels. With orange fur, theyre sometimes called red squirrels

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Real red squirrels are barely bigger than chipmunks. Rare in Iowa, theyre also called chickarees.

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Cottontail (rabbit)

Cottontail (rabbits) are cute common critters hopping around in Iowa woodlands

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Cottontails like to hide in dense tangled bramble thickets where fox and owls cant catch them easily

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In the rabbit world, cottontails have relatively short ears

In the rabbit world, cottontails have relatively short ears

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White-tailed jackrabbits are very rare today in Iowa. Notice the long ears and legs.

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White-tailed jackrabbits went the way of the magnificent prairie where they lived, which once covered most of Iowa, but is missing today.

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White-tailed jackrabbits wear a white fur coat when wintertime comes as a fine camouflage

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Hasenpfeffer is a popular rabbit stew

A traditional German dish. The rabbit is often marinated with wine and vinegar.54

Soft fluffy rabbit fur is sometimes used to make a warm glove or mitten lining.

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The long-tailed weasel, shown here in summer coat, is one of three Iowa weasel species.

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All three weasels live out in the woods where they hunt for mice and birds. Being curious, they love to crawl around in hollow trees.

All three weasels live out in the woods where they hunt for mice and birds.

Being curious, they love to crawl around in hollow trees.

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Least weasel summer coat

Heres a least weasel, our smallest, also shown in summer coat

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Long-tailed weasel winter coat

Least weasel winter coat. When weasels turn white, theyre called ermine for that different color phase of their fur pelts

Least weasel winter coat. When weasels turn white, theyre called ermine for that different color phase of their fur pelts

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Short-tailed weasel with a kill. Note the black tail tip, which least weasels lack.

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Short-tailed weasel skins sewn on Native American Indian war shirt.

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Mink are bigger cousins in the weasel family. They stay all brown all year long.

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Mink like to poke around country creeks looking for their food.

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Leopard frog

This green frog would be a good mink food.

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Mink are famous for their luxurious chocolate-brown-colored fur coats

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Fancy mink fur coat.

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River otters look like overgrown mink

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River otters roam around the banks of our rural Iowa rivers.

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River otters build their dens in bank rootballs.

River otters are excellent swimmers, and with that streamlined shape they can easily catch foods like live fish.

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Bluegills rank high on a river otters dinner list.

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River otters sometimes have food fights.

River otters stay active all year long, often spending free time sledding down steep snow-covered slopes on their slippery bellies.

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River otter release site at Sweet Marsh.

Otters were extirpated from Iowa due to overharvest in the 1800s and early 1900s. The Iowa DNR re-introduced about 345 otters between 1985 and 2005 to help re-establish this animal in Iowa.74

River otter fur coat

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Muskrats are brown rabbit-sized marsh-dwelling rodents.

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Muskrats make small domed huts from cut cattail stems out in the marsh.

Muskrats rely on nice shallow wetlands in order to thrive. Their numbers have decreased in many areas as wetlands have either been drained or converted into shallow lakes with deeper water and less vegetation.77

Muskrats dine on tender green growth in the marsh.

Muskrats have a fine thick soft fur for staying warm as they swim underwater in the winter.

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Muskrat fur is used for dubbing material to make realistic trout flies

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Muskrat fur-bodied trout fly

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Muskrat fur is also used to make warm winter hats

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By the way, muskrats have a skinny rat-like tail

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In contrast, beavers have a big wide paddle-like tail that they slap on the water when scared

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Beavers also have big front teeth, and adults can weigh up to 80 pounds

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Beavers put those sharp teeth to good use, cutting down and chewing on shoreline trees

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Classic beaver-cut tree.

Beavers eat the smaller tender twigs and take the bigger branches back to make their lodges and dams

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Beaver lodges are made with logs and mud and might be eight feet high.

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Beavers are renowned for their dam-building skills

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Beavers have a heavy-duty durable warm thick fur.

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Beaver fur coat

Demand for beaver pelts taken to make hats fancied by rich Europeans opened up the American Frontier

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Classic beaver-felt fur hat

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Roast that fatty beaver tail for a real rich meat treat.

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Abandoned farm buildings are attractive to several familiar animals.

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The woodchuck is also called a groundhog.

The woodchuck (groundhog) likes to chow down on tender plant tips during spring, summer and fall.

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The woodchuck (or groundhog) likes to live around old stone walls and is also called a whistle-pig

The woodchuck (or groundhog) likes to live around old stone walls and is also called a whistle-pig.

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When cold weather comes in October, woodchucks retreat to underground burrows and hibernate til March

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Punxsutawney Phil, the worlds most famous groundhog, as seen predicting winter on February 2.

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After a rain, fresh tracks in the mud around an old farm can tell us who else is living there.

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Raccoons often take up residence around deserted farm buildings, where they find easy food to eat

Raccoons often take up residence around deserted farm buildings, where they find easy food to eat

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Raccoons are famous for being mischievous.

Raccoons like to ransack the countryside after dark. This would be a good night to go coon hunting with hounds in November.

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Bandit raccoons often seek shelter in hollow trees

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When winter comes, raccoons often den up in small cozy underground caves.

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Raccoons have a fairly long coarse fur coat

Raccoons have a fairly long coarse fur coat.

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Raccoon fur coat for sale

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Old-timers rave about roast raccoon.

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Opossums are rather homely mammals that like to live around human habitations.

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Opossums are marsupials, related to kangaroos. Babies live in mothers pouch for several weeks after birth.

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Young opossums finally get to big too fit in mothers pouch, so they ride around on her back instead.

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Opossums claim to fame is playing dead when scared

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Opossum

Opossums hate winter but still stay awake and suffer through the cold season

Possums used to be more of a southern or even tropical animal, but they have expanded their range northward significantly in just the last 200 years.114

Some people claim that opossums are excellent eating

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Anybody up for possum pot pie?

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Opossum fur doesnt feel real thick and not worth nearly as much as a mink.

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Opossum fur might be used to make a pillow fringe, but not much else

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Striped skunks have a very recognizable fur coat

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Striped skunk

Striped skunks search through ditches and fields for bird eggs, baby mice, caterpillars, worms and fleshy bugs

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Striped skunks raise their tails in a defensive posture before releasing that stinky spray.

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Believe it or not, but striped skunk scent is used in many perfumes, as a base to hold the better smells we buy to spray on our skin.

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How about buying a striped skunk fur coat?

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Spotted skunk

Spotted skunks are very rare in Iowa. Notice the full-body striping or spotting pattern

Spotted skunks are very rare in Iowa. Notice the full-body striping or spotting pattern.

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Spotted skunks like to live around and under field rock piles, foraging for nearby bird eggs and bugs.

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Spotted skunk are also called civet cats or pole cats and can certainly spray.Spotted skunks are also called civet cats or polecats.

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Just like striped skunks, spotted skunks can certainly spray!

The badger has some white striping on its face, but is definitely not a skunk species.

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Badgers are big diggers with belligerent attitudes and are best avoided if encountered. They hunt gophers.

Badgers are good at keeping gophers in check, but some settlers hated them because their holes were large enough to break a horses leg. 129

Badgers have a fur with long coarse hoary guard hairs.

Badger fur is found mostly in old-fashioned shaving brushes

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The gray fox roams through our woodlands looking for rabbits and squirrels to eat. Not common by any means

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Gray fox can climb trees just like a house cat.

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This big old hollow oak log might be a gray fox home for the summer.

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Gray fox can give a pretty cool call.

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Gray fox go hunting year-round.

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Gray fox fur coat

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Red fox are more colorful than their drab gray cousins

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Red fox like to live out in grassy open pastures and hayfields where they are super mousers.

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Red fox dig dens down in dirt banks.

Red fox kit peeking out of its den.

Red fox hunting for a meadow vole.

Red fox pouncing on a meadow vole.

Red fox dining on a meadow vole.

Meadow voles are red fox favorite foods.

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Red fox hunt field mice and meadow voles all year long

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Red fox running down a deer mouse.

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Red fox have a rather haunting call.

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Red fox makes a very desirable fur coat

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Coyote

The coyote is Iowas largest wild dog, with a drab brownish gray fur coat

The coyote is Iowas largest wild dog, with a drab brownish gray fur coat

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Coyotes are up and actively hunting every day, even in winter.

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Coyotes travel through fields and along forest edges looking for food rodents, rabbits and pheasants.

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This cottontail has to be on the lookout for coyotes.

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Coyotes form family packs for big game hunting.

This coyote pack has downed a white-tailed deer.

Coyotes are known for their crazy yapping howls

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Coyote fur coats keep their wearers plenty warm.

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Bobcats are a rare sight here in Iowa.

Bobcats are a rare sight here in Iowa.

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Bobcats live in remote bluff country where they den in limestone cliffs.

You can also encounter cats in the hilly southernmost counties of Iowa.159

Bobcat

Bobcats sneak through the woods hunting for mice or rabbits or birds like the ruffed grouse

Bobcats sneak through the woods hunting for mice or rabbits or birds like the ruffed grouse

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Ruffed grouse look like a wild woodland chicken.

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Bobcats dont seem to mind the cold winter snow.

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Bobcat coats look pretty classy.

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White-tailed deer are Iowas largest fur bearing animals. Bucks give a low grunting call.

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White-tailed deer prefer to hide in brushy areas, feeding on tree leaves, twigs and yard flowers at night.

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White-tailed deer are always out and about. Does bleat like a sheep.

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White-tailed deer does make a mighty-fine tasting tender venison roast.

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White-tailed deer hides were once tanned to make warm durable leather clothing.

Leather and fur from Iowa furbearers is a fine functional and renewable resource for future use.

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Opossum, Opossum Profile, Facts, Information, Photos, Pictures, Sounds, Habitats, Reports, News - National GeographicOther11964.052Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)Andrew Spencerxeno-cantoPhasianidae59856.0eng - XC21080 Andrew Spencer. Windsor, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, United States, ?m, 09:30h, 19-06-2008, 0.0'0" 0.0'0", calls, calls from a female near her young, these calls made in response to playback of the previous track. When giving these sounds, the female would raise her ruff and spread her tail, and strut around much like a male in display.. also: Red-eyed VireoWestern Rivers, Inc.Doe Estrus Bleat Mild, track 1012003Other181273.55eng -