2 There are forests in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and Australia. The growing season in these forests is about 6 months long.
3 Temperature and Precipitation: The average temperature in forests ranges from about 75 F - 86 F, depending on where the forest is. Forests higher in the mountains are colder. Forests receive from 2 to 5 feet of precipitation (both rain and snow) each year. The soil in the forests is quite fertile, since it is often enriched with falling leaves, twigs, logs, and dead organisms.
4 Fall Colors: In the Fall leaves turn brilliant colors, ranging from red to orange to yellow to brown.
5 Brown bears are large mammals that live in cool mountain forests. These solitary bears can run up to 35 mph for short bursts. Brown bears are found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Grizzly bears are a type of large brown bear found in North America.
6 Although they sleep in dens (caves, hollow logs, or holes they dig) during the winter, they are not true hibernators and can be easily awakened. Brown bears have a life span of about 25 years in the wild.
7 Brown bears are up to seven feet long and weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Females are smaller than males. Their thick fur ranges in color from black to brown to reddish brown to blond. Like all bears, they are flat-footed. Newborns weigh only about one pound, the size of a rat.
8 Brown bears are omnivores who eat plants, roots, berries, fungi, fish, small mammals, and large insects.
9 Porcupines are nocturnal, which means they are active mostly at night. They like to sit quietly in trees, and when porcupines are on the ground, they shuffle and waddle along.
10 North American Porcupines are herbivores (plant-eaters) who eat leaves, bark, evergreen needles, buds, twigs, fruit, and salt.
11 Animals that prey on porcupines include horned owls, coyotes, bobcats, cougars, and wolves. Fun facts: * Porcupines don t see very well, but they have an excellent sense of smell. * Baby porcupines are called porcupettes. * Porcupines live up to 20 years in captivity. They live in North America.
12 The North American Porcupine is about 29 inches long plus a short tail that is eight inches long. They have short legs and long, curved claws on the feet. Like all rodents, the porcupine's front top teeth continue to grow throughout its life. It must gnaw on hard things to keep wearing the teeth down. The North American porcupine's front teeth are orange.
13 Sharp, barbed quills protect the back, sides, and tail; long, stiff guard hairs cover the front upper part of the body. The quills are usually held flat against the porcupine's body. When the porcupine is in danger, it raises the quills upright, so they can easily stick into in an enemy when it brushes up against the porcupine. The barbs in the quills make them difficult to remove, since they point backwards.
14 Opossums are nocturnal. They sleep during the day in a den in a hollow tree or in an abandoned rodent burrow.
15 The opossum is about 2.5 feet long, including its foot-long, hairless, grasping tail. This is about the size of a cat. It has a clawless, opposable thumb on each hind foot.
16 The young are about the size of a bee when they are born. Females have a furlined pouch on their tummy into which these tiny babies crawl. The young live and drink milk in the pouch for about 2 months.
17 The opossum is an omnivore (eating both plants and animals). It eats insects, lizards, mice, snails, earthworms, fruit, nuts, seeds, grasses, and carrion (dead meat that it finds, like road kill).
18 When opossums are attacked, they will "play possum," pretending that they are dead; they remain still, do not blink, and their tongue hangs out. This act often makes the attacker lose interest in the opossum. Some of their many predators include foxes and dogs.
19 Raccoons are small, very adaptable mammals from North and South America. They live in a variety of habitats, including marshes, forests, prairies, cities, and suburbs. These nocturnal animals have a life span of about 6 years in the wild.
20 Raccoons have distinctive black patches around their eyes that look like a mask. They have a bushy, black-ringed tail, clawed feet, and a pointed snout. They have long fingers and toes and an acute sense of touch.
21 Newborn raccoons do not have black eye patches or a ringed tail; these develop after a few days. Raccoons grow to be about 18 to 26 inches long plus a striped, furry tail 9 to 12 inches long.
22 Raccoons are omnivores; they will eat almost anything, including frogs, crayfish, birds, mice (and other small mammals), fruit, nuts, plants, crops, and garbage.
23 Raccoons find much of their food in water. Adult raccoons have few natural enemies; young raccoons can be eaten by wolves and bobcats.
24 Squirrels are common rodents that have hairy tails and strong hind legs. There are over 200 different kinds of squirrels.
25 There are three types of squirrels: tree squirrels (with bushy tails), ground squirrels (with a non-bushy tail), and flying squirrels (who cannot really fly, but can glide up to 150 feet using a flap of skin). Tree squirrels are the squirrels that are common in cities. Many ground squirrels hibernate during cold winters, sleeping in a nest until warm weather arrives. Squirrels can live up to 15 years in captivity.
26 Squirrels range in size from 5 to 36 inches long (including a long tail). Baby squirrels are born in nests; they are blind and hairless at birth.
27 Squirrels are omnivores (they eat plants and meat). They eat seeds, nuts, leaves, roots, mushrooms, insects, worms, eggs, small birds, and other small animals. Ground squirrels have pouches in their cheeks in which they carry food to their burrow to store.
28 Squirrels are hunted by the weasel, fox, hawk, eagle, lynx, bear, and coyote.
29 Owls eat mice. They swallow a mouse whole. Then they cough up the bones and fur!
30 There are about 162 different species of owls.
31 Owls have a large head and large eyes that face forward (unlike other birds, whose eyes are on the sides of their head). This eye placement gives them binocular vision. Also, there are circles of feathers surrounding each eye, giving them a wide-eyed, alert look.
32 Owls cannot move their eyes within their sockets like we can. In order to look around, they have to move their entire head, which has a range of movement of about 270.
33 Some owls have feathered ear tufts; these are not ears, but are part of the owl's camouflage.
34 Owls are carnivores that hunt during the night (they are nocturnal). They use their keen sense of sight to find prey in the dark (owls see mostly in black and white). They have an acute sense of hearing which also helps in finding meals. Owls are stealth hunters, they can easily sneak up on their prey since their fluffy feathers give them almost silent flight.
35 Owls are excellent hunters. An owl waits on a low tree branch until it spots an animal it wants. Then it swoops down onto the prey. They have sharp claws to catch and hold the prey. Owls hunt and eat mice, insects, frogs, and birds.
36 The owl is at the top of the food web; it has no major predators.
37 The beaver is a large, semi aquatic rodent with a large flattened tail. It is a strong swimmer and can swim up to five miles per hour. The beaver can swim underwater for up to 15 minutes. Young beavers are called kits. Beavers live in forests in North America and in parts of Europe and Asia. Beavers do not hibernate over winter, but they will stay in their lodge, where they have stored enough food to last until spring.
38 Beavers build sophisticated lodges out of sticks and mud. The dome-shaped lodge is built in water and only has underwater entrances. If the local pond water isn't deep enough, the beaver will build a dam (or a series of dams) downstream from where the beaver wants to build a lodge. The dam forms a deep pond. Beavers cut down trees for the dam using their strong teeth. The water in the pond must be deep enough so that the pond bottom won't freeze in winter, blocking the lodge's entrance.
39 Beavers are about three feet long. Their flat, thick tail is about one foot long. They weigh pounds. Like all rodents, their teeth continue to grow their entire lives. Their ears and nostrils can close while the beaver is underwater. While swimming, transparent eyelids protect their eyes. Beavers can close their mouth by closing a flap located behind their teeth, allowing them to chew while holding their breath.
40 Beavers are herbivores (plant-eaters). They eat tree bark, leaves, roots, twigs, and water plants.
41 The beaver is hunted by many animals, including coyotes, wolves, bears, lynxes, and wolverines. Minks, owls and hawks prey upon young beavers. Beavers cannot move very quickly on land, so their best defense from predators is to retreat into the water and go into their lodge.
42 Beavers create rich habitats for other mammals, fish, turtles, frogs, birds and ducks.
43 The North American beaver s tail acts as a rudder while swimming, as a prop for standing upright, as a lever when dragging tree logs, and as a noise maker for producing a warning signal when it is slapped on the water. Their fingers have long claws, and their legs have webbed feet and claws.
44 Beavers have sharp, renewable, self-sharpening teeth that can cut through wood and knock down a tree.
45 Their lodges, made of tangled sticks and caked mud, offer protection that even black bears have difficulty in breaking through. While other wildlife endure wintertime cold and hunger, beaver stay warm in their lodges with an underwater food storage nearby.
46 Skunks eat insects, mice, and garbage!
47 Skunks are the smelliest mammals. These small, nocturnal animals are found in forests in North and South America.
48 Skunks produce a very smelly spray that repels most predators. This oily, yellow liquid is produced in two glands located under the tail. They can spray up to 10 feet away. The smell is long-lasting and very hard to get rid of.
49 Wild skunks are black and white, but the patterns vary. They all have a bushy tail, short legs, clawed feet, and a long snout. Skunks that live in captivity have a variety of coat colors and patterns.
50 Skunks are omnivores; they eat insects, rodents, reptiles, small mammals, worms, eggs, fish, fruit, and plants.
51 Trees in America s oldest forests are dying more and more quickly because of climate changes.
52 New trees aren t sprouting fast enough to replace the dying trees.
53 Over the past twenty years, trees are dying more and more because of changes in the earth s weather and water cycle.
54 If the ozone layer continues to deteriorate, forests will have fewer and fewer trees over time because the trees will only live half as long.
55 In the future, forests might store less carbon than they do now, which would speed up the process of global warming.
56 We must protect our forests because they are home to so many animals.
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