10 fun facts about the animals of Québec

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Breeding challenges!

For certain species, breeding represents an interesting challenge. Case in point … the American Porcupine for whom the female is receptive to male advances all in all only 48 hours per year!  Good luck Mr. Porcupine!

Unusual defense mechanisms

Have you ever heard the expression « playing ‘possum »? Curious little creatures, the Virginia Opposum employs a very particular defense mechanism. When faced with great dangers they enter into a catatonic state. They fall straight to the ground and play dead: lying on their side, eyes wide and glazed, body paralyzed, mouth open and a putrid stench emanating from their anal glands. Quite special!

The strident cry of the Barn Owl

Doesn’t the Barn Owl seem majestic? At first glance we are led to believe it may produce an alluring song. But this magnificent bird hides a remarkable secret … its cry! Click on the video below to listen to its surprising melody, here made by Novio, one of the Ecomuseum Zoo's Barn Owl.

The intelligence of the Raven

As astonishing as it may be, the Common Raven is without a doubt one of the most intelligent birds around. It is capable of resolving complex enigmas and has adapted well to life around humans. We invite you to view this short report on this subject produced by the BBC. A striking example of this animal’s intelligence!

Source: BBC Worldwide

The prolific Arctic Fox!

If breeding represents a timing challenge for the Porcupine, the Arctic Fox has a whole different take on the matter: the number of babies per litter! A record of 22 babies in one litter has already been reported. Dearest readers who are parents: can you imagine the challenge THAT represents!

The cunning Wood Turtle

Although the Wood Turtle enjoys eating all kinds of insects, the common earthworm is undoubtedly its favorite meal. But how does it find earthworms when the sun is shining?  Easy! By imitating the sound of rain drops with its paws, the Wood Turtle coaxes the worms out from the ground, the latter believing a flooding of their tunnels is imminent. Now there’s a well deserved meal!

 

An animal … without lungs!

The Red-backed Salamander is part of the Plethodontidae family, also named “salamanders without lungs”. Technically, they do indeed have lungs, but these are so markedly atrophied that this characteristic led to the nickname. They therefore breathe largely by their skin.

Camouflage at its best

Following the theme of funny defense mechanisms, one can turn to the American Bittern. To go unnoticed, this bird utilises a well-established camouflage technique: he stands perfectly still among the tall brush. Imitating the vegetation, he even sways along with the wind currents to ensure he remains hidden in the landscape. He is the king of camouflage! We invite you to watch a short sequence of the following video, it's worth it to observe this impressive behavior!

Source: WildBlessings2

A fish whose appearance is quite … particular

The Northern Lamprey is counted among the fish that have no moveable jaws. To eat, the Northern Lamprey pierces or grates the skin of its prey, then sucks out the blood and/or other liquids. On the photo you can see up close the mouth of one of these fish. Imagine that!

© Photo Hans Reinhard / The Bruce Coleman Collection

Color changes are not exclusive to exotic species!

The Chameleon isn’t the only one with the ability to change colors. Indeed, the Grey Treefrog, a tiny thing of a frog, is also capable of changing colors in only a few minutes moving from grey to brown. See, Québec species also have surprises in store for us!