This is a close-up of a Barn Owl’s body feathers. Aside from their undeniable beauty, there’s something special about barn owl feathers: they are SUPER lightweight. This helps them fly silently and hunt with maximum stealth. But there’s a downside… these ultra-light feathers have basically no water resistance. So you’ll probably never see a barn owl hunting in the rain, because a soggy owl would tumble right to the ground.
Today is National Opossum Day! A perfect end to our species spotlight on opossums this week. We want to wish you a happy holiday and hope you appreciate these fuzzy marsupial friends today and every day. And remember: anything is possum-ble when you believe ✨ #wcaspeciesspotlight #virginiaopossum #nationalopossumday
Say “cheese!” Well, these opossums are likely baring their teeth as a threat rather than a smile. This species isn’t equipped with particularly strong teeth or sharp claws to protect itself, so as a common defense behavior opossums will stand still and show their teeth in an attempt to appear as menacing as possible. In extreme cases, a frightened opossum will lay still and literally play dead--for up to several hours--in an effort to trick predators into leaving them alone. Now you know where the phrase “playing possum” came from! #WCASpeciesSpotlight #virginiaopossum #wildliferehab
Someone’s got their eye on you 👀 Opossums are nocturnal, so their eyes are built for seeing in the dark. They have 50 times as many rods as cones, meaning they have excellent vision even when it’s pitch dark, but they can’t see colors very well. They also have highly sensitive whiskers (vibrissae) to help them maneuver in the dark. So if you see an opossum in the daytime, it’s up past its bedtime! #WCASpeciesSpotlight #virginiaopossum #wildliferehab
This released opossum is off to forage for a delicious meal of plants, small prey animals, and TICKS! Opossums eat roughly 90% of the ticks they encounter, making them an important factor in controlling the spread of Lyme disease. So if you’d be TICKED off to find one of these bugs on you, thank your local neighborhood opossum for all their hard work. #WCASpeciesSpotlight #virginiaopossum #wildliferehab
This week marks the start of WCA’s new social media series: weekly species spotlights! Each week will feature a different species commonly seen at WCA and in the Sacramento area. Starting off strong, this week’s spotlight is on the Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana). The Virginia Opossum is North America’s only marsupial mammal, meaning the babies are carried in their mother’s pouch for part of their development. Offspring are born after just ~12 days of gestation, smaller than a dime and weighing less than a gram. They then immediately crawl into their mother’s pouch and continue developing until they outgrow the pouch (about 2.5 months). This little patient pictured above has come a long way since their pouch days! #WCASpeciesSpotlight #virginiaopossum #wildliferehab
Think you're a know-it-owl? Show off your knOWLedge by guessing what this species is in the comments!
The Common Poorwill are part of the nightjar family. These fascinating birds use their "dead leaf" coloring to hide on the ground during the daytime since they're nocturnal. Not only that but this species was the first confirmed hibernating bird!
Another successful release! Thank you to @heringerestates for hosting us and thank you to everyone who attended. #owlrelease #wildlife