World Wildlife Day – Who’s in your backyard?

March 3 is World Wildlife Day. It is a United Nations International day to celebrate all the world’s wild animals and plants and the contribution that they make to our lives and the health of the planet.

At Camp Kintail, we see all kinds of wildlife in our forests, at the beach and in our garden! We often see wildlife such as butterflies, chipmunks, squirrels, birds of all kinds, bunnies and lots of interesting insects. If we’re lucky, we will see some wild turkeys in the field, or maybe even find some deer tracks!

In Southwestern Ontario (and around the world), there is so much wildlife to see outside! Maybe you hang a bird feeder outside your window to see how many different birds stop by for a snack, or maybe you often see tracks for something even bigger! Seeing wildlife is always exciting, and today Hydra and Snail are sharing their top 10 wildlife facts with you about animals you might just see in your own backyard:

1. Rabbit

Because their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads, bunnies can see an almost perfect 360 degrees (we can only see about 180 degrees!). In the wild, this helps them know when a predator is near. Their only blind spot is right in front of their nose!

2. Downy Woodpecker

Woodpeckers with long tongues have specialized wiry structures that wrap around the skull, but not in direct contact with the brain. This Y-shaped structure consists of stiff, yet flexible, cartilage-and-bone connected to their tongues called the hyoid apparatus. No wonder us humans would get a headache doing what a woodpecker does!

3. Skunk

Skunks are known to eat poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes, as they are immune to snake venom. They also might eat insects and grubs, small rodents, and various plants!

4. Coyote

Coyotes can run up to 40 miles per hour when chasing prey (that’s just over 64 kilometres per hour)! They will often communicate with a growl, bark, wail, huff, yelp, squeal, or howl. How fast can you run?

5. Henslow’s Sparrow

The Henslow’s sparrow is one of the rarest breeding birds of Ontario. They can be identified by its short tail, olive head with black streaks, and light, chestnut-brown back with black checkered spots.

6. Snail

Snails have a ribbon-like tongue called a radula that contains thousands of tiny teeth. But don’t worry! Picking up a garden snail may make it confuse you for a leaf, but they cannot hurt you!

7. Red Squirrel

Red squirrels are feisty and territorial towards intruders, and confrontation between two red squirrels often means a lot of tail flicking, chattering, and foot stomping. When we see this it might look cute, but it can actually mean that things are getting heated in a squirrel argument.

8. Monarch Butterfly

Each fall, monarchs set out on an incredible 4,000 to 5,000 kilometre journey from southern Canada to their wintering sites in the mountain forests of Mexico. This is one of the world’s longest insect migrations!

9. Green Frog

Green frogs will eat any animal that they can fit in their mouth. They usually eat things like insects, fish, small snakes, slugs, and snails.

10. Beaver

Beavers don’t just build dams, they also build lodges to live in! These dome-like structures are often constructed away from the shore, forming islands that can only be entered from the water. A lodge can have multiple underwater entrances, with living quarters located in the top above the water line. The walls are typically insulated, and a small air hole in the roof provides ventilation. The floor of a beaver’s lodge is often covered in wood shavings to absorb moisture and provide a comfortable place to sleep.

What type of wildlife do you hope to see? Remember when you meet wildlife, be sure to respect their space and just look from afar.

Check out our Seasonal Nature Bingo printables on our website for a great outdoor activity and let us know what you find!

Have a great day friends!

-Snail & Hydra