Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Fauna of South Carolina: Cetaceans, Foxes and Otters

Here is the second in the "Fauna of South Carolina series."  Today, we are going to take a brief look at some of the cetaceans, foxes and otters that we saw while we were down there, either in the wild or in zoos.  Let's start with the otters.
River Otters ("Least Concern" by the IUCN) at Brookgreen Gardens
We saw both the otters and the foxes at Brookgreen Gardens, at their Lowcountry Zoo.  Not quite as cool as the foxes in my opinion were the river otters.  They were definitely really cool, as they were running around and playing a great deal, and we had a great view of them.  I'm not sure if I have ever seen otters playing so much, and seen it so well.  It was definitely quite a treat!  The range of the river otter is slightly weird; encompassing Oregon, Washington, and parts of California,and then extending throughout most of Alaska and Canada, and then coming down along the east coast of the United States, down to Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
Gray Fox in tree
Prior to that, we had visited the fox exhibit.  We were looking for red fox and gray fox.  If I recall correctly (which I often don't), we were having trouble seeing the gray foxes, when I noticed something moving in one of the trees.  It was the gray fox!  I had no idea that foxes climb trees!  In fact, other than the raccoon dog found in Asia, I believe not many other canids in fact do climb. 
Gray fox in tree
Gray fox in tree
Gray fox in tree
 The gray fox, like the river otter, is labeled "Least Concern" by the IUCN.  Its range stretches from most of North America, down through Mexico, Central America, and into bits of South America.  The Channel Island Fox (a very interesting animal that we will by all means talk about at some point soon) is almost certainly descended from gray fox on the mainland. 

Instead of doing the cetaceans like we previously planned today, I think we should do them some other time.  See you later!

This post is part of "The Fauna of South Carolina" series.  For the rest of the posts in this series, click HERE.

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