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Take a Walk on the Wild Side...Fun Facts About Local Feathered & Furry Fauna

By Laura Scully

FOX SQUIRREL: People think they’re adorable or… a pernicious pest. They are the bane of many a dog’s existence. As the largest species of tree squirrel native to the US, Fox Squirrels may grow up to 2 pounds in size. They can be over two feet long (and nearly half of that is tail). Their diet includes seeds, insects, fruit, and bird eggs. Squirrels can produce up to 2 litters of as many as 3 pups per year. Expert climbers, they sometimes meet their end while scurrying on electrical wires. Unfortunately, their high wire antics can also result in power outages, as reported for parts of Long Beach a couple of years ago. In fact, squirrels are cited among the top causes of power outages throughout the country.

BROWN PELICAN: You may spy these prehistoric sea birds on streetlamps or perching on the floating Christmas trees in the Colorado Lagoon. Although the smallest of nine pelican species, Brown Pelicans have a nearly 7-foot-long wingspan. From heights of up to 70 feet, they dive into the water and snap up prey (mostly sardines) with their throat pouch. Fossil records of the bird date back 30 million years. Pelicans have been revered on Ancient Egyptian tombs and in European Heraldry. Images of a “pelican in her piety,” wounding her chest to give blood to her young, symbolized heroic or even divine sacrifice. Queen Elizabeth I is featured with such imagery in the famous painting titled Pelican Portrait. Some speculate the imagery could have arisen from when a pelican presses its beak to its chest to fully empty the pouch.



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