The Local Fauna

INDEX: 1: Local Species 2: Tips for trekking or camping 3: Beavers 4: Coywolfes 5: Coyotes 6: Wolfes 7: What’s Putting Bats At Risk? 8: Identifying nocturnal nature sounds 9: Carla’s research (mink, red fox, bears, loons, ground hog) 10: HINTERLAND WHO’S WHO?

PLEASE NO NOT FEED THE DEER DURING WINTERTIME!

Feeding deers with carrots, apple etc. will eventually damage their health (their guts don’t digest human food like us), alters their feeding habits and exposes them to predators and other dangers.


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LOCAL SPECIES to spot here:

During the winter season take a look at this guide showing you the different tracks of different species living around us.

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LOW-IMPACT VISITING TIPS FOR TREKKING IN THE WOODS OR FOR CAMPING:

  1. Learn about the area you are visiting first and plan ahead with an emergency kit, a GPS and a map as a back-up;
  2. Travel on established trails, rock, gravel. dry grasses or snow or any durable surfaces;
  3. Prepare food to minimize waste. Dispose of it properly;
  4. Walk in a single file and leave there what you find;
  5. Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them;
  6. Never feed the animals;
  7. Control your pets at all times;
  8. Deposit solid human waste in holes dug 15 to 20 centimetres deep and at least 70 m from water. Fill and cover the hole.
  9. Check this site for more ideas: http://leavenotrace.ca

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THE    BEAVER …  ENNEMY    OR    ALLY ?

The Beaver – an Ally?

A growing number of scientists and environmentalists consider the beaver a valuable ally in the battle to improve our environment. A very interesting documentary aired on the CBC’s “The Nature of Things” clearly illustrates this point. To view it, click here.

When the Beaver doesn’t Cooperate:

Some members have experienced problems with beavers’ taking down lakeside trees. In such instances, you might consider taking preventative action by protecting the trunks of your favourite trees with galvanized mesh fencing. Such fencing should be wide enough to allow for tree trunk growth, be secured to the ground to prevent the beaver from pushing it out of the way, and be high enough to deter the beaver from chewing above it (about a meter to prevent winter snacking).

You might also try using abrasive tree paint for other than saplings (see below for recipe) or an aversion taste repellent (eg: vegetable or mineral oil infused with cayenne pepper). If such defensive measures aren’t sufficient, check with the Municipal Inspector before considering any more aggressive action. Remember that beavers – as forbearing animals – are protected under federal and provincial law.

The following is the recipe for abrasive paint:

  • Paint: exterior latex (choose a colour to match the bark)
  • Mason sand: 30 mil or 70 mil
  • Formula: mix 5 oz of sand per quart of paint, or 20 oz of sand per gallon of paint, or 150 grams of sand per liter of paint

It is advisable to make only small batches of the paint at a time on the day you are going to apply it. Using too much sand will cause the mixture to roll off the tree. Apply paint to the bottom three to four feet of the tree trunk. For best results, do not paint every tree; leave some for beaver food. This formula does not work for saplings, so protect them with wire fencing. To reduce the conspicuousness of the repellent, it is usually possible to get the paint tinted to match the colour of the tree if you bring a sample of the tree bark to your local hardware store.

How to Control Problem Beavers and Dismantle Beaver Dams

As stated in the Best Practices Guide of the Quebec Ministry of Wildlife and Natural Resources2, beavers are found in most areas of Quebec. The beaver is well known for its ability to alter the landscape and the flow of water by building dams. Periodically, these dams can threaten man-made infrastructure or flood private land. To mitigate the impact of beaver dams, it may be necessary to take preventative measures and – sometimes – to relocate, frighten away, or even eliminate problem beavers and destroy their dams.

The Best Practices Guide on How to Control Problem Beavers and Dismantle Beaver Dams provides information on how to proceed. However, care must be exercised when taking such action as doing so can modify fish habitat, adversely affect downstream property owners, and destroy wildlife habitat and human property.

To view:

Other General Information from Ontario:

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources offers an interesting fact sheet on the issue of living with beavers. Among other things, it provides some suggestions on how to prevent and handle a conflict with beavers. To view this fact sheet, click here.

1 Source – The Cottagerʼs Guide to Beavers, 15 April 2011 (http://thecottagersguidetobeavers.blogspot.ca/2011/04/how-to-deal-with-beavers-that-destroy.html)

2 Ministère des ressources naturelles et de la Faune. Contrôle des castors déprédateurs et démantèlement de barrages de castor – Guide des bonnes pratiques- Région l’Outaouais, 22 août 2012.


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THE COYWOLF:

The what? The coywolf… We share our paradise with it… You may have read about it, maybe seen it or its tracks… or even heard it. More often, its calls and howls ring out at night or early morning.

But what is it? Wolf… Coyote… Actually, it’s a hybrid. It results from a cross between eastern wolves and western coyotes… and dogs. According to genetic research, this animal’s DNA is made up firstly of a high percentage of coyote, then wolf and finally a small part of dog. According to an article published by a journalist on the matter, this represents respectively 60%, 25% and 15%. 6 out of 10 of Quebec’s wolves have coyote blood.

Some advice:

Don’t feed your cats and dogs outside.

Keep your dogs on a leash.

Well over a century ago, wolves were found in Quebec and Ontario and coyotes out West. These two species lived differently and in different habitats. Their cross is surprising since wolves tend to attack and kill coyotes. So how is this hybrid explained?

According to scientists, the near wipe-out of wolves following a number of factors including climactic changes, human’s desire to rid itself of it and a lack of sexual partners led to their first mating in 1920 with coyotes having travelled from the West to Ontario’s Algonquin Park.

Are they dangerous? What do we do if we meet one? Though they’re curious and may observe us a few moments, they’re generally wary of humans and will avoid us. However, if you’re outside, be alert, make noise and bring a whistle.

According to the NCC, these animals are an important part of our ecosystem.

Article sources (LINKS) :

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/eastern-coyote-a-wolf-hybrid-confirmed-in-gatineau-park-1.3285228

http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/features/urban-coywolf-guide,

https://www.sentiercp.com/fr/chasse-articles/article-coyloup.html

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Meet the COYOTES:

The coyote howl can be a frightening sound for some cottagers, but these shy animals mostly avoid confrontation with humans. They’re considered one of the most vocal wild mammals in North America, so familiarize yourself with some of their common, attention-grabbing noises: a lone, chattering howl is used to contact other coyotes, a group yip howl is used to respond, and dog-like barking is used to warn their pups to retreat to safety.

“In general, do not be afraid of coyotes, they are very afraid of humans and are very discreet.”

Dominic Gendron, coordinator at Heritage Saint-Bernard

A text by Michel Thibault – collaboration David Penven

Usually standing away from the reflectors, except in cartoons, the coyotes attract attention in these days.

Coyotes have been in the area for a long time, says Dominic Gendron, Protection and Land Planning Coordinator at Heritage Saint-Bernard in Chateauguay. According to him, meetings with this animal are rare and there is no need to worry.

Very few coyote attacks on humans are known,” he says. Personally, I have been to the natural environment of the region for 17 years and I have never had the chance to cross a coyote. On the other hand, I regularly observe traces [footprints and feces] of their presence. “

Mr. Gendron says that the coyote population is controlled by trappers who are active in the area.

Are the coyotes more numerous than before? Not particularly, according to the Wildlife Protection Branch.

“Even if there were an increase in reports, this does not mean that there are more coyotes, but could be attributable to the fact that the population is more aware of their presence,” notes the spokesman. speech of the MFFP.

“The coyote is part of the region’s ecosystem,” said Dominic Gendron. It plays an essential predatory role in the control of certain species. “

Both speakers remind us that under no circumstances should we feed them!

Five questions about coyotes

Sylvain Carrier, spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, answers questions from the Reflet regarding the presence of coyotes in the region.

How to explain that these usually fearful animals of man approach them?

“Some coyotes seem to have been used to the human presence since they approach passersby, mainly in the evening, in order to get food. The coyote is part of our wildlife, but it is not uncommon to encounter it in urban areas. This animal adapts easily to the modifications of its environment and has a varied diet. In urban areas, the coyote can easily find shelter, food and access. With urban development, the animal tends to use the railways to move from one area of ​​the city to the other. Generally fearful, however, he can become accustomed to human presence. “

What to do in front of a coyote or a group of coyotes?

“Of a timid nature, the coyote poses no threat to the safety of the population as long as certain instructions are respected.”

Some precautions to take?

“Do not approach or feed the coyotes. They are easily tamed in contact with human beings. Accustom children never to approach wild animals, especially coyotes. Keep dogs on a leash in the parks at all times. Circulate only on developed trails, as required by municipal regulations.

What to do if you cross a coyote?

“Keep calm and give the animal space to continue or escape.

If the coyote does not go away or has a suspicious behavior?

Give yourself an imposing air by raising your arms. Make some noise to scare him. Stay away by slowly backing up and keeping eye contact with the animal. Avoid turning your back on him to run. Contact S.O.S Poachers (1 800 463-2191) to contact a Protection Officer

Link to know more about them

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WOLVES

According to many nature lovers, there are no wolves in our area… mostly coywolves (mixture of wolves, coyotes and wild dogs).

The link that follows is to a truly incredible, four minute video explaining how the reintroduction of a relatively small number of wolves to Yellowstone Park had a remarkable – and positive – effect on the environment. It is an illustration of how a small enhancement to the environment can have a tremendous impact.

Watch them in action: click here

Want to learn how to communicate with them?

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WHY BATS ARE IMPORTANT:

Bats are amazing animals that are vital to the health of our environment and economy. Although we may not always see them, bats are hard at work all around the world each night – eating thousands of insects, pollinating flowers, and spreading seeds that grow new plants and trees. Step outside around dusk and take a few moments to look for bats in your neighbourhood!

Follow this link to know how to help them: click here

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A guide to identifying nocturnal nature sounds at the cottage

By Mai Nguyen

Going to the cottage is a great way to escape the noises of civilization. No blaring fire trucks, no car honks, no rowdy teenagers hanging out past curfew. But being less on-grid doesn’t mean you fully escape from all noises, especially the nocturnal ones produced by nature. Spend one night at a cottage and you might hear a variety of sounds from mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles. Here’s a primer on how to identify some of the coos, hoots, and caws when you’re at the cottage.

Meet the bullfrog:

The wildlife call of a bullfrog is far from the high-pitched “ribbit” that we were taught in elementary school. Their sound is marked by a low, repetitious drone, which is made by males to attract females during breeding season. They also make the noise as a defence mechanism.

Meet the Crickets:

Evenings are when you’ll most often hear crickets chirping. This two-tone attraction call is made when male crickets rub their wings together. It can be heard two or three times per second when it’s 25 degrees Celsius and above. The rate slows down when the temperature drops.

Meet the owl:

Like most owls, most of their calls can be heard at night. These owls like to reside in holes dug up by other animals such as prairie dogs or skunks. They make two kinds of calls. Listen for a soft, two-note hoo hoooo—the last note trails a bit longer—which is known as their typical hooting call. The alarm call is used when they’re in defence mode and sounds more aggressive and high-pitched. It’s often compared to the chatter sounds of a rattlesnake.

Meet the Whippoorwill :

These birds might be hard to spot but their sounds are easily identifiable by their three-syllable, sing-songy whistle. Accents are on the first and last syllable, with a rise in the last. Males often repeat it throughout the night, sometimes for hours, on warm summer nights.

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Carla’s list:

THANK YOU CARLA MONETTE FOR THE RESEARCH!

Meet the mink:

By Jackie Davis:

Mink? They stink. Literally—they have anal glands that, when the animal is threatened, produce a foul-smelling liquid defence almost as reeky as a skunk’s. Gah! But don’t worry: mink can’t aim, or even spray very well.

When they’re not in the water, these glossy-furred, semi-aquatic carnivores spend their winters in rock piles, hollow logs, or abandoned beaver or muskrat lodges that they’ve repurposed into their own dens. Thanks to partially-webbed feet and an oily, waterproof coat, they’re suited to life in streams and lakes. Mink are strong swimmers. They can dive as deep as six metres, swim as far as 30 metres, and stay underwater for several minutes at a time.

Mink keep to themselves until mating season starts at the end of February. Then they use that powerful, musky stench to attract mates. Yup, love is in the air! And it’s potent.

Meet the red fox

By Jackie Davis

Late December marks the start of breeding season for one of Canada’s most widespread mammals, the secretive and clever red fox.

Red foxes are largely nocturnal. Their eyes are highly light-sensitive and better adapted to seeing in the dark, thanks to a special reflective layer of cells behind the retina. When the cold season hits, however, scarce food resources force these gingers to hunt during daylight hours—which is why you’re more likely to spot them out and about in the winter.

Red foxes have keen hearing. They can hone in on a mouse squeaking from 45 metres away and detect rodent prey travelling underneath the snow. (Their sense of smell, on the other hand, is only decent—at least, it’s not as powerful as a domestic dog’s.) But a red fox’s most useful tool might be that bushy tail, called a “brush” or a “sweep.” The foxes use their 40-cm-long tails for communication, balance, and to keep warm: they wrap the furry lengths around themselves and tuck their noses underneath, as if huddling under a blanket. Hey, sounds cozy!


Meet the Bears:

As fall winds down and the days start to get colder, bear season, which usually runs from the beginning of April to the end of November, is also reaching its end. Bears are getting ready to bed down and hibernate, and that means it’s a good time for humans to review some popular — and misguided — ideas about how to avoid unfortunate encounters with Ursus species across the country. Please follow this link:

https://cottagelife.com/outdoors/5-misconceptions-about-bears/

Meet the Loons:

The haunting call of a loon is a favourite sound for many cottagers. While the sound may sound melancholy or even, well, loony, loons are actually anything but. Here, Bird Studies Canada’s Kathy Jones, the Ontario programs volunteer coordinator for the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey, shares 10 amazing facts about loons you may not have known.

Meet the Dock Spiders:

By Jessica Wynne Lockhart

A dock spider emerging from its lair is a familiar lakeside sight—and it’s enough to make anyone want to dive directly into the water. But instead of getting squeamish about cottage country’s most famous arachnids, here are 10 reasons we should be celebrating them.

They’re Canada’s largest spiders

With nine species found in North America, they range in size, but can grow up to three inches across—about the width of your hand.

They don’t spin webs to catch their prey

Instead, they stalk their victims, using two large fangs to inject them with venom, paralyzing them. Don’t worry though, despite their fearsome size, their cuisine of choice doesn’t include human flesh.

However, they do spin webs to protect their young

Considered a “nursery web spider,” dock spiders reserve their silk for spinning egg sacs, which the momma spider carries in her fangs like a giant cotton ball. When they’re nearly ready to hatch, she spins another web, which shelters and protects her young.

An egg sac can hold up to 1000 baby spiders

As amazing as this fact is, we’ll understand if you get grossed out.

For one species, the dark fishing spider, death is an unavoidable part of mating

Male dark fishing spiders are only able to mate once. After discharging sperm into the female using an appendage called the pedipalp, the male remains stuck to his partner and dies within three hours. However, he usually won’t live that long—the female will eat her mate within 20 minutes, providing much-needed nutrients for healthy offspring.

Dock spiders are expert hunters

They catch and consume everything from insects to tadpoles to minnows—making them one of the few invertebrates that eat vertebrates.

This is why they are also commonly called fishing spiders

Dangling their front legs in the water allows the spiders to feel vibrations as their prey approaches. Sensitive leg hairs help them to differentiate between a leaf floating on the water and lunch—and to sense when a predator is approaching.

They have water resistant legs

Dock spiders’ legs are coated in a waxy substance. Combined with surface tension, this prevents them from being pulled down into the water.

And they can walk on water

Their unique legs allow them to complete amazing feats, including running across water and jumping vertically in the air to avoid being caught by fish.

They can “scuba dive” for up to half an hour

Using air trapped on their leg hairs and under their belly, they’re able to stay submerged underwater to hide from predators or to catch prey. So, before you dive off the dock to avoid them, remember that they might be in the water, too.

Meet the groundhog:

By Jackie Davis

By Fiona M. Donnelly/Shutterstock

Groundhog Day is in February, sure, but these tubby marmot weather forecasters are actually busiest—emerging from hibernation, mating, and having babies—in the spring. Groundhogs (a.k.a. woodchucks) are one of North America’s largest rodents. They’re squat and slow-moving, with a top running speed of 15 km/h. They are, however, very good at digging holes.

Woodchucks chuck dirt, not wood. When they’re not eating or sunning themselves, they’re below ground, in the multi-roomed, multi-tunnelled burrows they’ve excavated as their summer living quarters. The 10-metre-long chambers can include a room for sleeping or for a baby nursery, a toilet nook, and at least one or two tunnels connected to “plunge holes.” These holes function as quick escape routes separate from the burrow’s main entrance.

Trivia alert! Groundhogs are usually brown, but some, for genetic reasons, are either albino (think Wiarton Willie), or completely black. Like black panthers—the animals, not the superhero—and silver foxes, black-furred groundhogs are melanistic: they have an unusually high level of the pigment melanin in their coats.

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HINTERLAND WHO’S WHO?

Nice website to find out more about our local fauna: click here