- are vertebrates. This means they have a backbone or spine.
- are “endothermic” or warm-blooded. Endothermic animals can regulate their body temperature, allowing them to live in a variety of habitats on Earth.
- are covered in hair or fur.
- produce milk for their young. This allows them to spend more time teaching their babies important skills for survival.
- have the presence of 3 inner ear bones (hammer, anvil & the stirrup) within the middle ear
Bob the Bobcat
Bob was born in 2002 and purchased as an illegal pet whose owners had him neutered and declawed. He was relinquished from the family and taken to the Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee. The zoo was looking to transfer him to an educational facility where he would have his own cage, and so he came to Blandford in 2006.
Meals usually consist of small mammals such as mice, rabbits, and meadow voles. Bobcats will also eat birds, snakes and occasionally will kill and consume sick or injured deer.
Bobcats are adaptable creatures, they are found in woodlots, around land near rivers and streams, and prairie areas. They sleep in hidden areas such as thickets and hollow logs during the day.
- Bobcats are adept climbers. They will lounge in trees, lazily waiting for their next meal to scurry beneath them.
- Bobcats are not social felines. The only time Bobcats interact with one another is during mating season, otherwise they keep to themselves.
Bobcats are relatively common in Michigan, but are not often seen since they are extremely elusive. The main threat to Bobcats is humans.
Amelia the Southern Flying Squirrel
Found as a baby, Amelia was cold on the ground after a possible cat attack. Now, she is non-releasable after missing crucial learning interactions with her own species and imprinting on humans during her care here.
Rocky the Southern Flying Squirrel
Due to his accident, Rocky has brain damage which limits his mobility to fly (glide). Although he cannot fly, he helps educates visitors on wildlife rehabilitation and facts about his species.
Southern Flying Squirrels mostly eat insects, nuts, bird eggs, berries, carrion and seeds.
Southern Flying Squirrls can be found in large hickory and beech trees while also living in maple and oak trees within large forests.
- Flying Squirrels don’t actually fly but instead glide using an extra skin between their legs called a patagium. They can make 180 degree turns while gliding.
- The longest recorded “flight” was 300 ft, however, they typically only go 20-30 ft.
Opal the Virginia Opossum
Opal’s mother was attacked by a dog while her and her siblings were still in need of their mother’s care. During care here at Blandford, she imprinted on humans and is non-releasable.
Opossums feed on a variety of vertebrates, invertebrates, plant material, fruits, grains, and carrion.
Opossums prefer environments near streams or swamps. They take shelter in burrows of other animals, tree cavities, brush piles, and other cover.
- Opossums have 50 teeth, which is more than any other North American mammal. This incredible adaptation helps them feed on things from hard-bodied insects to small animals like birds and snakes.
- Due to an opossum’s low body temperature and successful immune system, it’s very rare for one to carry rabies.
Elsa the American Mink
Elsa came to Blandford as a full grown adult in 2017. Our wildlife staff cares for her while she educates students and families on how mammals live and eat in the wild.
The diet of American Mink varies with the season. During the summer, they eat crayfish and small frogs along with small mammals such as shrews, rabbits, mice, and muskrats. In the winter, they mostly prey on smaller mammals.
The American Mink is usually associated with water, being found along streams, rivers, lakes, marshes and swamps while also inhabiting coastlines.
- The mink’s fur is very valuable around the world. Because of this, there are farms that raise minks to harvest their fur.
- American minks will carry their offspring for a gestation period of 40 to 75 days while European minks have a gestation period of 35 to 72 days.