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There are many fascinating mammals who share the area we live in! Mammals are animals who have fur and the females give birth to live young and provide milk for them.

Here are a few you may have seen or heard of:

🦊 Red Foxes can be found from Alaska to Florida and eat a variety of foods including mice, rabbits, frogs, and fruits. They are very intelligent and can adapt well to living around humans. When a female fox is going to have babies (called pups or kits), she digs a den and gives birth to between 1 and 12 pups. 

🦌 White-Tailed Deer live from Canada down as far as South America. Their diet includes leaves, twigs, grass, corn and fruit. They can run up to 30 MPH and leap as high as 10 feet and as far as 30 feet in a single bound! They weigh anywhere from 110 to 300 pounds. Their babies are called fawns.

Opossums (also called Possums) are the only marsupials in North America.  A marsupial is an animal that carries their babies in a pouch!  Opossums aren’t picky eaters and typically eat ticks (which is very important to help keep ticks from getting too plentiful), other insects, grass, fruits, snakes and mice.   They are famous for “playing possum” which means when they encounter a threat they sometimes flop over on their sides, stick out their tongue and pretend to be dead in order to throw the predator off guard.   They are excellent tree climbers and are nocturnal (they come out at night). Their babies are called joeys.

🦇 Little Brown Bats Little Brown Bats live in colonies in buildings, caves and trees.  They hunt at night and are extremely important in helping keep our insect populations in check since their diet consists of flying insects. They catch them using echolocation (they emit a high frequency sound which bounce off objects in their environment and allows them to find them).   You won’t see them in the winter because they are fast asleep (hibernating)!  Bat babies are called pups.

🦨 Skunks live all over North and South America and are known for spraying animals who threaten them with a terrible smelling liquid.  Skunks have special warning markings that they often display right before they spray.  They might also warn their victims first by doing things like stamping their feet, growling, or even springing into a handstand!  Skunks are nocturnal and their favorite foods include fruits, insects, bird eggs and small rodents (like mice).  Skunk babies are called kits just like fox babies.

🐇 Eastern Cottontail Rabbits usually browse at night on grasses, herbs and garden plants (watch out carrots)!  If spotted by a predator, they run in a zig-zag pattern up to 18 MPH.  Female rabbits give birth 3 to 4 times a year with litters of up to 3 to 8 babies each time! Baby rabbits are called kits too.

🦝 Raccoons are nocturnal animals who live throughout much of the world.  Their favorite foods include fruit, seeds, nuts, bird’s eggs and plants.  They are also happy to raid your garbage can if left open at night!  Raccoons love to swim and will catch and eat fish and frogs.  They are very intelligent and curious animals.  Raccoon babies are called kits or cubs.

For more information on the words in bold print – check out this Web site!  

And just for fun… here are a few jokes featuring some of the mammals we just learned about!

Q:  Where did the skunk go after losing his tail?
A:  A retail store!

Q:  What did the grape say when the fox stood on it?
A:  Nothing, it just let out a little wine!

Q:  Why do male deer need braces?
A:  Because they have buck teeth!

Q:  How do you know carrots are good for your eyes?
A:  Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses!

Q:  What did the bat say to his friend who returned after missing a day of school?
A:  Welcome bat!