Rat Poison Causes Mange in Bobcats

Rodents aren’t the only ones who suffer from rodent poisoning! Predators like owls, foxes, hawks—and even pet cats and dogs— can become poisoned when they eat animals that are sick or dead from poison. For bobcats, secondary poisoning can have a strange effect. A bobcat who eats poisoned rats and mice will suffer from constantContinue reading “Rat Poison Causes Mange in Bobcats”

Chipmunks are Harmless: Don’t Hurt Them!

Pest control companies seeking your business may be quick to exaggerate— or even totally fabricate— the damage that chipmunks can cause. Please don’t be in a rush to harm these little guys! Eastern chipmunk burrows have tiny entrances only about the size of a quarter, so unless your lawn is so neat and tidy thatContinue reading “Chipmunks are Harmless: Don’t Hurt Them!”

Do Opossums Spread Typhus?

The Virginia opossum’s rat-like appearance and association with filth leads many people to associate it with disease. In the last few years, many people have been alarmed by headlines about opossums spreading murine typhus in Los Angeles, and it has reignited fears about this gentle marsupial. No mammal actually spreads murine typhus. Typhus is causedContinue reading “Do Opossums Spread Typhus?”

Hawks are Exterminators: Don’t Poison Their Food!

Native hawks are part of nature’s most powerful pest control crew! A single red-tail hawk can eat dozens of rats, mice, and other potential pests in a single week. This benefits humans by reducing the spread of disease and keeping crops and homes safe from damage. Like most predators, hawks will often target prey thatContinue reading “Hawks are Exterminators: Don’t Poison Their Food!”

Can Barn Foxes Replace Barn Cats?

As strange as it may sound, “barn foxes” might be the solution of the future to rodent control in sustainable agriculture. It’s no secret that outdoor-roaming cats wreak havoc on native wildlife in the United States. In fact, multiple studies have demonstrated that outdoor cats present the single greatest threat to wildlife in North America,Continue reading “Can Barn Foxes Replace Barn Cats?”

Why Do Fox Squirrels and Grey Foxes Have the Same Markings?

These two native species, the Eastern grey fox and the Eastern fox squirrel, have nearly identical markings. Both developed these patterns to adapt to the same environmental pressures. The light or white markings on their undersides, called countershading, help both animals camouflage when seen from the side, while he pattern of grey and red helpsContinue reading “Why Do Fox Squirrels and Grey Foxes Have the Same Markings?”

Tennessee’s Endangered Flying Squirrel

This cutie pie is a rare sight, spotted occasionally in some of the higher altitude areas here in East Tennessee. Carolina flying squirrels are a subspecies of the Northern flying squirrel, currently facing the possibility of extinction due to habitat fragmentation and pollution. Its greatest threats come from the loss of the old-growth spruce forestsContinue reading “Tennessee’s Endangered Flying Squirrel”

Tennessee’s Red Squirrels

American red squirrels aren’t endangered, but here in our home state of Tennessee, they’re not very common. Red squirrels in Tennessee tend to stick to the high-altitude forests in Eastern Tennessee near the North Carolina border. They’re distinguished from their more widespread grey cousins by their smaller size, reddish fur, and less bushy tail. InContinue reading “Tennessee’s Red Squirrels”

Tennessee’s Southern Bog Lemming

Many people think of lemmings as exotic animals that live only in cold wilderness areas. But this little fellow right here, the Southern bog lemming, actually lives right here in the Southern U.S.! Southern bog lemmings are a vital part of our ecosystem, as the preferred prey of many threatened and endangered native animals. AlthoughContinue reading “Tennessee’s Southern Bog Lemming”