A photographic journal exploring the smaller--and often overlooked!--natural wonders encountered "off the beaten path" at the Virginia Living Museum. New entries posted every two weeks.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
More "Whose Tail?"
For all of my "guess who" readers, here's another installment of "Whose Tail?" The first photo is of a scaly animal--it's pretty easy to guess:
This next photo is of a mammal's tail--really!--even though it looks a bit scaly, it's not a reptile's tail:
This furry tail belongs to another mammal--he's a canid (a member of the "dog" family):
You might find this next tail in the water....there's definitely something fishy about it:
The last tail looks like a fluffy ball of cotton (that's a clue!):
Have you figured them all out? The first tail is from an alligator. This photo was taken from the upper level of our Cypress Swamp exhibit. When an alligator swims it uses its tail to propel itself through the water. Even though it uses its feet to help it swim, the tail is really the main "motor!":
The odd-looking scaly tail is from the only marsupial we have in the United States--the opossum. This photo is of a juvenile opossum, caught in the act of yawning. Opossums tend to hiss and gape (show their teeth) when confronted by a predator, or even "play dead," but in this case it was just a yawn. No, opossums don't sleep hanging upside down by their tails--they use their tail to help them climb or carrying things like leaves used as nesting material:
The long fluffy tail belongs to a gray fox. Gray foxes are native to the United States whereas red foxes were brought to America from Europe. Believe or not, gray foxes can climb trees, so all the large trees in our gray fox exhibit on the Outdoor Trail have a sheet of hard plastic wrapped around the tree trunk--fox proofing!:
Did you guess "seahorse" for the next tail? Seahorses are fish (yes, really!) and use their tails to hold onto things and help propel them in the water. A cool thing about seahorses--males have a pouch. What for? Females lay eggs, but males keep the eggs safe in their front pouch until the little ones are ready to hatch:
The last tail belongs to an eastern cottontail rabbit. We had several wild rabbits on the Museum grounds earlier this spring:
I hope you enjoyed these photos! More "off the beaten path" in two weeks.