When we think of Alberta’s wildlife we don’t always think about the birds and the bees. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for some added romance. Here are our picks for this year’s five most loving, though not always the most lovable creatures.
1) Ord’s Kangaroo Rat
Looking for love and romance!
You may be thinking, ‘What self-respecting Valentine looks for a rat?’, never fear: these unique creatures aren’t rats at all!
The Ord’s kangaroo rat can be found in southern Alberta, not far from Medicine Hat in the Suffield area. Their population is in extreme threat, with less than 400 left in the province. They live in sandy areas where roads, crops and climate change have drastically reduced their habitat.
This is part four of a six part series on hibernators. You can find the first three parts on bears, bats and amphibians here.
For those cold-blooded reptiles that call Alberta home, our winters are the perfect opportunity to slow their breathing and fall into a deep, deep sleep. Located mostly in the south of the province, the types of reptiles found here are few – only seven snake, one lizard and one turtle species.
Into the Snake’s Den
Prairie rattlesnakes, western hog-nosed snakes, bull snakes, yellow-bellied racers and three species of garter snakes: plains, wandering and red-sided can be found in Alberta. Only the wandering garter snake and the red-sided garter snake are found outside of southern Alberta.
Not all snakes winter in the same places. What makes the best winter home? In most cases, lots of friends and an underground den, or hibernacula, are ideal. Snake dens are usually located in rock crevices or caves, or small mammal burrows. The temperatures within hibernacula remain just above freezing during the winter because of the insulating effects of the earth. Continue reading →