Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mammals of the Adirondacks

The Adirondacks are full of all types of wildlife. Some of the most exciting species to spot are the mammals. Of course there are many deer. It is hard to imagine there is a Woodcrafter who has spent a session at camp without catching a glimpse of a deer. The deer around Woodcraft are white-tailed (Odocoileus virginianus).

A young "spike horn" buck pokes his head through the leaves to see what the camera is all about.
The white-tailed deer's much larger and rarer cousin is the moose (alces alces). Both are of the even-toed ungulate (artiodactyla) order. It has been a while since anyone at Woodcraft spotted a moose, but there are believed to be around 900 moose in the Adirondack Park. The population has climbed slowly over recent years.

A couple of Woodcraft canoeists spot a moose taking a drink from the river.

The many rivers and lakes that Woodcrafters frequent on canoe excursions are great places to catch a glimpse of the local mustelids (mustelidae). These include the ermine (mustela erminea), long-tailed weasel (mustela frenata), northern river otter (lontra canadensis), and American mink (mustela vision) among others.

Some friendly otters greet the Hadarondahs on a canoe trip in 2009.
Another aquatic mammal that a camper might spy is the American beaver (castor canadensis). More likely, however, campers will come across the obvious signs of a beaver family's presence. Dams, dens, widened streams, and freshly gnawed sapling stumps all indicate a beaver is nearby. In the summer of 2009 a family of beavers made its home along a small stream near camp and turned it into an impressively large pond.

A beaver turns a small mountain trickle into a pond large enough to navigate by canoe. Impressive engineering. 
These animals are just a small sampling of the wide variety of mammalian wildlife one might find around Woodcraft or on camping trips elsewhere in The Park. All of the pictures in this post were taken by Woodcraft staff members at camp or on a trip. Every day at Woodcraft offers an opportunity for campers to experience the environments and its inhabitants.

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