River Otter, parent with pups
Lontra canadensis. A fresh water weasel not to be confused with larger sea otter living in salt water. Before 1990, river otters were missing from the SF Bay area, but are coming back and as of 2016, the River Otter Ecology Project (ROEP) based in Marin County has cataloged more than 1,730 sightings and 5,000 video trappings. Need to consume 12+% of their body weight each day and prefer fish, but are designed for aquatic hunting including transparent nictitating membranes to protect their eyes while swimming and can find and catch fish in muddy water.
Mephitis mephitis. White stripes - watch out for that smell. Nocturnal. Their favorite foods include fruit and plants, plus insects, bird eggs, small rodents, and birds. Birds like the great horned owl prey on skunks (due to poor smelling). The spray, which comes from two glands near the base of the skunk’s tail, can hit a target 12 feet (3.7 meters) away. To remove the scent, the Humane Society of the United States recommends using a mixture of dilute hydrogen peroxide (3%), baking soda, and dish washing liquid.
Mustela frenata. A carnivore with a very high rate of metabolism and eats about 40% of its body weight every day! Most of its diet is made up of small mammals like mice, voles, rabbits, gophers and chipmunks. It will occasionally eat birds and insects. It crushes its prey's skull with its canines. It lives in the abandoned burrows other mammals, in rotting logs or under tree roots or rocks. Can climb trees and swim.
Red Fox (kit)
Vulpes vulpes. Nonnative, originally introduced for hunting and pelts, has become quite successful in our wildlands and are adept hunters with a diverse diet prefering rodents, but will also eat berries, lizards, birds, and bird eggs. Not to be confused with our native Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator), which dates back millions of years in the archaeological record.
Microtus californicus. Also called the California Meadow Mouse. Nocturnal and herbivorous on grasses and sedges. spend much of their time below ground, using burrows connected by above-ground runways they use to find food. Home ranges are relatively small, with the animals rarely venturing far from their burrows. The vole is preyed upon by hawks, kites, and owls here in the wetlands. By Jerry Kirkhart (originally posted to Flickr as Vole (Microtus)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Columbian Black-tailed Deer
Odocoileus hemionus columbianus. Herbaceous browsers and ruminants (chew cud like cows) prefer forest edges near agricultureal land for food and cover. Males (bucks) and females (does) live separately most of their lives and have social groups defined by dominance. Black-tailed deer are smaller than the mule deer and have larger tails completely covered with black or dark brown hairs. "
Canis latrans. The coyote resembles a small German shepherd dog with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black tipped tail. Its high pitched, yodel-like yapping can frequently be heard at night and the sound can travel up to 3 miles or more. Coyotes are beneficial to our ecosystem since they kill destructive, vegetation eating rodents, which are 80% of a coyotes diet."
Procyon lotor. Characteristic "bandit's mask". Raccoons are noted for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for up to three years. The diet of the omnivorous raccoon, which is usually nocturnal, consists of about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates.
Lepus californicus. Black-tailed jackrabbits are not actually rabbits, but are hares because its young are born with fur and with their eyes open and are larger than rabbits. Are herbivorous and get most of their water from the plants they eat, and are most active in later afternoons and night. Prey to many raptors and carnivores and also many ectolparasites including fleas, lice, mites, so human hunters have to handle them with long gloves and avoid using them for food.
Ondatra zibethicus. A large rodent, 1-2 feet long, but not a rat, is more closely related to voles and lemmings. Crepuscular, most active at dawn, dusk and at night. They're known mostly for their destructive burrowing in ponds, streams and dams. Muskrats are omnivores, but they mainly enjoy a plant-based diet consisting of the roots, stems, leaves and fruits of aquatic vegetation. A good swimmer with webbed feet and a 7 to 12 inches longtail that is vertically flattened, and works like a rudder.
Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse
Reithrodontomys raviventris halicoetes. Salt marsh harvest mouse is one four local species on the Endangered Species List and depends on pickleweed in high marsh habitat which is being lost and fragmented. Pickleweed habitat is under threat by human development and competition from both native and nonnative grass Spartina and alkali bulrush. By USGS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Northern Pocket Gopher
Thomomys talpoides. Named for their fur-lined cheek pouches used for transporting bits of plant food. Pocket gophers have long incisors that protrude from the mouth, and their eyes are easy to see and are vegetable eaters, whereas moles have small teeth and tiny, unapparent eyes, and are insect eaters. Pocket gophers face numerous threats from predators. A typical pocket gopher can move approximately a ton of soil to the surface each year, an important ecological function.