Earthworms are usually only several inches in length. Their bodies are made up of small rings, called annuli. The annuli are covered in small bristles that make it easier for the earthworm to move and burrow into the ground. Earthworms are able to burrow up to 6.5 feet underground.
As the earthworm burrows, it ingests soil and extracts important nutrients from organic matter. These nutrients will then be transported through the earthworm’s waste into the soil. Earthworms are extremely important to the health of the soil because of this.
Lynx rufus rufus
The eastern bobcat is populated through most of Vermont yet they are rarely seen by humans. The reason it is not often seen is because they are most active at dawn and dusk when most people are either still sleeping or in their houses. The bobcats are pretty small weighing about twenty to thirty pounds and the males are usually bigger than the females. They are brown in color with black spots throughout the body. The underside of the tail is white with black rings on top. Bobcats eat a variety of things such as mice, vole, rats, chipmunks, squirrels, snowshoe hares, cottontail rabbits, birds, and deer. The eastern bobcat lives in a variety of habitats including forests, swamps, and partially forested mountain areas. Particularly in the northeast, rocky ledges are important features to its habitat, as matting and den building usually occurs around this area.
Eastern coyote’s first arrived in Vermont around 1940. They are a decent sized animal, males usually way around 30 to 40 pounds while the females average out at about 30 pounds. Their coat varies in color but is usually a dark grey with a black strip running down the back; yet can also be a deep red or brown. Coyotes have a characteristic high pitched howl that is often heard on winter nights and at dawn and dusk. They sometimes will dig out fox or woodchuck hole for a den, but also use other sites, including caves, crevices in ledges, and holes created by over-turned trees. The mating season is in February and both the mom and dad help raise the pup in and around the den. Each family usually “claims” an area of 15 square miles around there den and are very defensive around other animals and other coyotes. Coyotes have a very wide variety of diet including small rodents, plants, fruit, deer, snowshoe hare, cottontail rabbits, woodchucks, insects, and birds and sometimes deer.
When it comes to species in the deer family (Cervidae) the elk (Cervus canadensis) is one of the largest in the world. Its one of the largest land mammals found here in North America and I have been lucky enough to see them in Montana a lot. There’s nothing quite as cool like hearing a male Elk bugle during the rut out in the woods. Male elk have large antlers which they shed each year. The males engaged in some of the most awesome ritual mating behavior during the rut, from sparring with other males to bugling and making loud series of noises so to established dominance over other males and attracts females. Elk are a very prized game species for hunting, the meat is leaner and higher in protein than most meat or chicken.
An Epiphyte is a plant that grows on trees. examples of these are mosses, ferns, and bromiliads. Individually epiphytes do not harm their host trees but in large aggregations their weight can break branches. In some cases even topple entire trees. epiphytes do not obtain nutrition from their host and use photosyntheisis for energy, using moisture in the air. Some trees have smooth bark to defend themselves against epiphytes, the smooth bark thwarts an epiphytes ability to find a root hold. An example of a tree with this adaptation is the beech.
The eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is found throughout most of the eastern United States. It can live for as long as 15 years in an aquatic habitat or in damp forested areas. The eastern newt has three life-stages: as an aquatic tadpole, a land-dwelling juvenile known as the red eft (perhaps its most recognizable stage), and then as an aquatic adult. As a tadpole, these newts are brown until they shed their gills and become the bright orange/red eft. During this phase the eft will develop lungs and travel (sometimes many miles) away from their birth waters and spend two or three years on land, jumping around from different aquatic habitats and damp woodland areas. Eventually, the eft finds a suitable pond or other waterway and begins its adult life underwater as a brown/green aquatic newt.
The eastern newt needs a permanent body of water as an adult, but during its phase as a red eft it needs, at minimum, a muddy, damp environment. For the most part the eft will retreat under wet leaves and find other moist places to reside, roaming about mostly at night. However, during the summer through late fall one may encounter many efts exploring the forest floor after a rainfall.
The eastern cottontail (Silvalgus floridanus) is the most common North American rabbit species and is found all over east of the Mississippi River. This species of rabbit thrives in meadows and forest clearings, making the edge of wooded areas, backyard corridors, and clearings, such as power lines prime habitat. Cottontails are primarily herbivores and enjoy seeds, fruit and bark as their main sources of food. The presence of eastern cottontails indicates a clearing in the forest or meadowy area as well as ample areas of cover provided by shrubbery. Fox, snakes, hawks and domestic cats are the main predators of the rabbit, which emphasizes the need for ample cover and shelter for nesting and hiding. Proximity to humans allows them to avoid certain, shier predators.