Common Animals of the Bear Creek Watershed

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					      Common Animals
of the Bear Creek Watershed

          December 2009
          The Bear Creek Watershed Virtual Tours
          were created with funds provided by the
         Bear Creek Watershed Education Partners
                 through a grant from the
          Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
with additional funding from Oregon Trout’s Healthy Waters Institute.

                             THANKS TO:
                           •Terri Eubanks
                      •Jefferson Nature Center
Animals Need Habitats

                        A habitat is the place
                        where a plant or animal
                        naturally or normally lives.

                        All living things require
                        habitats: a place giving
                        them food and shelter,
                        where they can find what
                        they need to thrive.
Both a bear and a bug
need a habitat, and
though they may live in
the same place like the
Bear Creek watershed,
they need different
things from their
        The Bear Creek watershed
          is full of habitats and
      the animals that live in them!
• While large animals like bears and mountain
  lions need large areas for their habitats, small
  animals may easily have their habitats all
  around us.
• Almost all habitats in the Bear Creek
  watershed are affected by the actions of
          What are Mammals?
• Warm blooded
• Feed their young milk
• Usually have some kind of hair or bristles

        Can you name some mammals?
Beavers in the Bear Creek watershed often build homes or dig burrows
along the side of stream banks, not as dams across the stream. Woody
 plants are food for beavers and if you see peeled sticks in the stream
    or gnawed trees and shrubs, you can be sure beavers are near.

     Beavers are the official state animal of Oregon. To keep them warm, beavers
     have thick fur which people used to hunt them to obtain.
Raccoons are very
adaptable and have
learned to live closely
among humans.

                          What does it
                          mean for an
                          animal to adapt?
Black bears are
common in the
forested parts of the
Bear Creek watershed.
Sometimes, they can
even make their way to

Bears frequently come
to the orchards of the
Bear Creek valley in
the late summer and
fall to eat fruit.
Male deer grow antlers in the summer and shed them in the
early winter. Fawns are born in spring.

                         Do you know the difference
                         between horns and antlers?
                      Gray Fox
The Gray Fox is
usually shy and
nocturnal. It feeds
on small mammals
but also fruits,
nuts, grains, large
insects, carrion,
and small amounts
of herbs. The Gray
Fox prefers
woodland and
brushy habitats.
             What are Reptiles?
•   Cold blooded
•   Dry scaly skin
•   Claws
•   Lay eggs with leathery shells
          Western Fence Lizard
    Fence lizard are commonly called “blue bellies”
    because male lizards have especially bright blue
    undersides. The lizards use this coloration to
    communicate to each other.

What do lizards communicate?
                Alligator Lizard
Though they are small animals, alligator lizards are not afraid
to bite humans who catch them. Most lizard species can lose
their tail when they are caught, but losing a tail is still very
damaging to the lizard as is takes a lot of energy to re-grow a
new one and they store energy in their tail to use when

                                              Lizard eggs are
                                              often buried in
                                              sand or gravel.
Western Pond Turtle
        Western pond turtles are the only native
        turtle in Oregon. These shy animals can
        be seen warming themselves on logs at
        ponds or other quiet water. These turtles
        are threatened by lose of habitat and the
              introduction of bullfrogs which
                   often eat baby turtles.
           What are Amphibians?
•   Cold blooded
•   Damp skin
•   No claws
•   Lay jelly like eggs, usually in water
                Pacific Treefrog
These small frogs are common native frogs and are usually
less than two inches long with a dark eye stripe. These frogs
are commonly heard in wet areas croaking to communicate to
other frogs.

What do frogs communicate to each other?
                      Rough-skinned Newt
        These salamanders like cold, clear water. Their bright orange
        underside is an important field mark and reminds predators that
        the newt’s skin is very poisonous and can be deadly to eat.
        Always wash after handling these newts.
What is the difference between a newt and a
Newts are a subgroup of salamanders. All newts
are salamanders, but not all salamanders are
          Pacific Giant Salamander

These large salamanders can
  grow to 14 inches long
  and need cold clear
  streams to live.

If bothered, they may
    produce a sharp, low
    pitched yelp (similar to a
    dog’s bark). They may also
    attempt to bite and are
    capable of inflicting a
    painful cut.
              What are Insects?
• Invertebrates in the Arthropod group: having a hard
  exoskeleton, a segmented body and legs in pairs
• An adult stage characterized by a well-defined
  segments, including a head, thorax, abdomen, two
  antennae, three pairs of legs, and usually two sets of
• Because insects are small, they can use habitats
  within habitats: under logs, in streams, in the air, in
  tree tops.
   There are many groups of animals
 (called orders) within the Insect class.

These include many you know:
Butterflies & moths
Bees & Wasps

 Some insects in the Bear Creek watershed are
 unique to this area and some are very common.

 Can you think of some insects you know?

                               Photo: Maya Cross-Killingsworth
• Beetles have hard wing
  coverings. And comprise nearly
  a quarter of all the described
  species on Earth.
• Many people know that
  ladybugs help humans by
  eating crop pests like aphids.
  But did you know that many
  native ladybug species are
  disappearing, possibly due to
  the release of non-native
  species for crop pest control
  decades ago.                   A native insect: Nine-spotted Ladybug
       Different beetles have many
          different kinds of jobs.
                                Ground Beetles are usually black and
                                shiny and often found under logs and
                                rocks. Most ground beetles are active
                                predators, hunting for prey items on the
                                forest floor, in trees and vegetation and
                                within the soil itself. However, not all are
                                entirely predatory and a number of species
                                are scavengers.

Bark Beetles are tiny beetles whose larvae can tunnel under
the bark of conifers. Wildfire, drought, disease, and land
management practices can weaken trees and attract bark
beetles that can then overpopulate and kill many trees in a
                                        Photo: Edward H. Holsten, USDA Forest Service
  • Bees and wasps have very thin “wasp waists”
                            European Honey Bees are not
                            native, but are now critical for
                            pollinating most of our food

There are several local species of Yellowjacket Wasps.
Some species are native, some are not, but they are
common and prey on other insects as well as scavenge
(like at your picnic). These colonial insects build paper
nests which can house thousands of individuals.
Franklin’s Bumble Bee

                Southwest Oregon
                including the Bear
                Creek watershed is
                one of the few places
                on earth this Bumble
                Bee is found and it
                may be extinct. One
                of the last live
                Franklin’s Bumble
                Bee was found on Mt.
                Ashland in 2003.
• Butterflies & moths belong to the order
  “Lepidoptera” which means scale wing.

             Oregon Swallowtail
             The Oregon Swallowtail lives in
             the Columbia River watershed
             and was designated the official
             Oregon State Insect.

         Oregon Swallowtail
         - Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest; Mountain Press;
         Bill Neill-
Mardon Skipper
                 Mardon Skipper
                 is a small tawny –
                 orange colored
                 butterfly found in
                 grasslands. One
                 of the few places
                 it lives on the west
                 coast is in
                 Jackson County.
                           True Bugs
• Have an “X” shape made by their wings and
  wing coverings.
   Box Elder Bug or
   Maple Bug

These common bugs over-
winter as adults in
protected areas such as
garages and cracks and
crevices in homes. Their
favorite food: maple and
box elder trees.
There are many animals to discover in the
  habitats of the Bear Creek watershed.

  Emigrant Lake & Bear Creek watershed   Photo by Brandon Goldman
Now, get outside and explore!
                       Note to user:
• Objective of presentation: Brief introduction to common and
  interesting mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects found in
  Bear Creek watershed.
• Most appropriate for: Ages 6 and up

• How to integrate this presentation into other activities:
    – Go outside and look for animals or their signs. Do not overlook what
      can be found in schoolyards, undeveloped land, or parks. A close
      search can often yield evidence of animals, especially insects.
    – Use field guides and other materials to learn more about animals.
    – Read literature about wild animals (see list following)
    – Write animal stories including elements such as where animals live
      (habitats) and what they need.
    – Draw or paint animals in habitats.
                    Children’s Wildlife Literature

•   Albert, Richard E. Alejandro's Gift.
•   Allsburg, Chris Van. Just a Dream
•   Arnosky, Jim. Guide to Knowing Animal Habitats
•   Bunting, Eve. Secret Place
•   Brown, Ruth. Toad
•   Fleming, Denise. Where Once There Was a Wood
•   MacLachlan, Patricia. All the Places to Love
•   Yolen, Jane. Owl Moon
                   Other Wildlife Resources

• USFWS “Let’s Go Outside”
• USFWS “Endangered Species” Kid’s Corner
• Project WILD -
• National Wildlife Federation -
• North Mountain Park, Ashland OR:

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