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Faunas of Relic Lore — Official 
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Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,526 posts.

Faunas of Relic Lore

With Relic Lore being such a diverse and vivacious area in Canada, it is no surprisingly that it is full of a variety of flora and fauna. All of the mammals and plants listed below are native to Canada, more specifically British Columbia. This is not an exhaustive list of everything you can expect to find in Relic Lore as it only lists the main things you would encounter, but if you have any questions, direct them to Genius Bar.

Ever wondered just how large a bull moose is? Or how many wolves you need to be in order to take one down? This guide outlines the basic physical appearance and mental characteristics of Relic Lore's most common animals, tailored towards their interactions with wolves. You will also find some general hunting advice and regulations, so we recommend you check it before embarking on a hunt for you chosen prey!

In general, prey larger than hares cannot have their necks broken by wolves. Larger prey are killed by the combined effects of shock and blood loss, as the wolf often deal great wounds to their haunches, sometimes even managing to disembowel them. In addition to running it ragged, they might crush the windpipe and sever the arteries in the throat if their prey is downed alive.

Detailed guides follow below.

Summary
(Common name, scientific name) Fauna
Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus)
Arctic Fox (Salvelinus alpinus)
Arctic Grayling (Vulpes lagopus)
A. Marten (Martes americana)
A. Mink (Neovison vison)
B. Magpie (Pica hudsonia)
B. Godwit (Limosa lapponica)
B. Lemming (Lemmus trimucronatus.)
Beaver (Castor canadensis)
Beaver (Castor canadensis)
Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Broad Whitefish (Coregonus nasus)
Burbot (Lota Lota)
Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
C. Goose (Branta canadensis)
C. Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
C. Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
Caribou (Rangifer tarandus)
Cougar (Puma concolor)
Coyote (Canis latrans)
Dall Sheep (Ovis Dalli)
Elk (Cervus canadensis)
Fishing Spider (Dolomedes)
Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos)
L. Sturgeon (Acipensir fulvescens)
L. Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)
Longnose Sucker (Catostomus catostomus)
Lynx (Lynx canadensis)
H. Marmot (Marmota caligata)
M. Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)
M. Goat (Oreamnos americanus)
Moose (Alces alces)
Muskox (Ovibos moschatus)
Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
N. Water snake (Nerodia sipedon)
P. Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)
Prairie Dog (Cynomys)
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)
Raven (Corvus corax)
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
R. Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta)
S. Hare (Lepus americanus)
S. Martin (Riparia riparia)
Salmon (Oncorhynchus)
Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)
Stoat (Mustela erminea)
Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator)
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)
W. Bison (Bison bison athabascae)
W. Strugeon (Acipensir transmontanus)
Wolverine (Gulo gulo)
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
Woodchuck (Marmota monax)
(This post was last modified: Jul 06, 2018, 06:51 PM by Sahalie.)
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#1
Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,526 posts.

The Fauna of Relic Lore: Aerial Prey.

                 
Canada Goose.
Average Lifespan: 10-24 years.
Branta canadensis.
Prey.

The Canada goose is a large bird with a wingspan ranging between 127 and 185 cm (50 – 73 in). As a migratory species they travel south for the winter, leaving the territories of Relic Lore far behind. The distinct V formation they fly in is often a distinct sign of the beginning of spring and the start of autumn. The winter migration can be seen from late September to early November. Male geese display agnostic behavior both on and off breeding and nesting grounds.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): Wolves have been witnessed chasing and killing Canada geese before they manage to gain enough speed to take off. They will also hunt those that are in water, attempting to swim close enough to snatch them from the water. Geese will dive down in an attempt to flee the predator as well as flapping their wings and attempting to take flight.

Mallard.
Average Lifespan: 3 years.
Anas platyrhynchos.
Diurnal. Prey.

The mallard or “wild duck” is an aquatic, dabbling bird that feeds mostly on plants and insects. The males have a distinctive green, iridescent head while the females are mottled brown. Both have iridescent blue feathers on their wings. These birds are of medium size, weighing 2-4 lbs on average. The mallard is gregarious, and is usually found in groups near waterways outside of breeding season. Females have a much louder call than males, and produce the stereotypical duck “quack.” males are much quieter with lower pitched calls. Their nests, built in secluded areas at the water's edge, make an easy meal for a nearby predator. Mallard ducklings, hatched in groups of 8-13, are also easy prey. When threatened mallard ducks will attempt to take flight or escape the predator in deeper water.

FISHING/HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Ducks must be caught before they can get into the air. It is easiest to ambush a duck from the ground, especially while they are sleeping. Wolves would do well to keep this prey away from the water. Mallards are far slower and less agile on land. A wolf may attempt to catch a mallard already in the water much as he would a goose, by attacking before the duck can gain enough speed to take off. It is best to be careful when stalking a mallard, as any one of the flock's members can alert the rest to danger.

Pheasant.
Average Lifespan: 10-20 months.
Odocoileus hemionus.
Prey.

There are many color forms of the male Common Pheasant, ranging in color from nearly white to almost black in some melanistic examples. Common Pheasants are gregarious birds and outside the breeding season form loose flocks. They are capable of being short-distance fliers, but they prefer to run. They feed solely on the ground in semi-open woodland and grassland habitats, but roost in sheltered trees at night. The males are polygamous and are often accompanied by a harem of several females. They build their nests on the ground, producing a clutch of around ten olive-brown-colored eggs over a two-three week period in April to June. The incubation period is about 23–26 days. The chicks stay near the hen for several weeks after hatching but grow quickly, resembling adults by only 15 weeks of age.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): It has a distinctive call which often piques the interests of determined Hunters. Care should be taken when opting to track and take down a pheasant; wherever they are hunted they are always timid once they associate particular stimuli with danger, and will quickly retreat for safety after hearing the arrival of hunting parties in the area. If startled however, they can suddenly burst upwards at great speed, with a distinctive "whirring" wing sound and often giving kok kok kok calls to alert conspecifics.

Rock Ptarmigan.
Average Lifespan: 3-4 years.
Lagopus muta.
PREY.

This common bird is a member of the grouse family found in nearly every territory of Relic Lore, though there seems to be a greater density of the population present in higher elevations. These plump chested prey animals can be heard from far off, distinguishable most often by the croaking call of males. Their plumage changes with the seasons, allowing them to camouflage well even in the absence of plant life. Because females prefer more cover, it is the males which are most often caught by predators out in the open.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Sneaking up on these birds can be a challenge. Their well-adapted plumage makes it hard to find them in the surrounding terrain. Ptarmigans make for challenging, but rewarding catches. The best time to catch these birds is during their mating season. Often, the males can be so thoroughly distracted by calling for females that they may not even notice a large predator quickly stalking behind them for the kill.

Sand Martin.
Average Lifespan: 1 year.
Riparia riparia.
Prey.

Sand martins, known particularly as Bank Swallows in North America, are social, perching birds which are apart of the swallow family. Its brown back, white throat, small size and quick jerky flight pattern quickly set it apart from other birds of its species. All along the banks of the Swift River, as many as a dozen to nearly a hundred pairs of sand martins will nest closely together in tunnel-like homes. They begin nesting at the end of March and depart from their nesting grounds at the end of September. Four or five white eggs are laid from mid- to late-May. While they feed over open waters when they are not present in Relic Lore, they hunt down small insects, mostly gnats and other flies whose early stages are aquatic. While rare, it is possible to come across a nest with two different broods present simultaneously.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Wolves don't usually make meals from birds, but as omnivores and opportunistic scavengers, some just might be lucky enough to raid an unattended nest for a small bite to eat.

Spruce Grouse.
Average Lifespan: 5-6 years.
Falcipennis canadensis.
Diurnal. Prey.

The spruce grouse is a small, relatively arboreal grouse that inhabits the forests and taiga of North America. They are usually only 15-17 inches long, weighing between 16 and 23 ounces. The adult males are much more striking than the females; possessing darker plumage dotted with white spots and a patch of bright red skin over their eyes. The females are mottled brown or grey. Spruce grouse prefer coniferous forests, where they feed on the pine needles. These birds are well adapted for walking and perching in trees. In the summer they also search for food on the ground; including insects, berries, fungi and other plants. The grouse nests on the ground from May to July, laying clutches of 4-7 eggs on average. These nests and the chicks that inhabit them are a tempting meal for a whole host of predators. Adults often fall prey to raptors, foxes, coyotes and owls.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): The grouse relies heavily on camouflage as its best defense. It will remain still in its hiding place until the very last minute, when it takes flight into the nearest tree, earning it the nickname “fool's hen.” Wolves don't often prey on grouse, but if the opportunity presents itself they are unlikely to turn it down. Hunters must have a keen eye to spot the quiet bird among the foliage.

Trumpeter Swan.
Average Lifespan: 12 years.
Cygnus buccinator.
Difficult Prey.

This pure white swan is the heaviest bird native to North America, and the largest known species of living waterfowl, weighing a staggering 15-30 pounds. Its wingspan sometimes exceeds 10 feet in length. The trumpeter is distinguishable from other species by its all black bill. They are a migratory species that spends the winter in the northern United States. In the summer during breeding season they inhabit the lakes and wetlands of Canada and Alaska. These gigantic birds mate for life and lay 3-12 eggs in April and May on a small island, a beaver dam, muskrat lodge or floating platform of vegetation. Swans are incredibly protective parents; harassing all other creatures that come near the nest and even fighting would-be predators. Shortly after the eggs hatch, the females moult and become effectively flightless. The males begin this process after the females. These are dabbling birds, preferring to feed on aquatic plants. They will also consume roots and tubers.

FISHING/HUNTING TECHNIQUE (2 wolf minimum): Swans are a formidable foe. When threatened they bob their heads and hiss defensively. If the danger persists they attack with the powerful clobbering of their wings and bite down with their bill. They have managed to kill predators that match their weight in confrontation, such as coyotes and foxes. Wolves do prey upon swans, but they are quite the handful for a lone hunter; especially a small one. Trumpeter swans and their offspring are usually attacked when nesting.

Tundra Swan.
Average Lifespan: 10 years.
Cygnus columbianus.
Prey.

The smallest of the Holarctic swans, at 115–150 cm (45–59 in) in length, 168–211 cm (66–83 in) in wingspan and a weight range of 3.4–9.6 kg (7.5–21.2 lb). Their plumage is entirely white, with black feet, and a bill that is mostly black, with a thin salmon-pink streak running along the mouthline and – depending on the subspecies – more or less yellow in the proximal part. The iris is dark brown. In birds living in waters that contains large amounts of iron ions (e.g. bog lakes), the head and neck plumage acquires a golden or rusty hue. Pens (females) are slightly smaller than cobs (males), but do not differ in appearance otherwise. Juveniles are white mixed with some dull grey feathering, mainly on the head and upper neck, which are often entirely light grey; their first-summer plumage is quite white already, and in their second winter they moult into the adult plumage. Their bills are black with a large dirty-pink patch taking up most of the proximal half and often black nostrils, and their feet are dark grey with a pinkish hue. Downy young are silvery grey above and white below.

FISHING/HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): Significantly smaller than their Trumpeter cousins, Tundra Swans are still a formidable foe. When threatened they bob their heads and hiss defensively. If the danger persists they attack with the powerful clobbering of their wings and bite down with their bill. Even with their smaller size they are quite the handful for a lone hunter; especially a small one. Tundra swans and their offspring are usually attacked when nesting.

(This post was last modified: Mar 30, 2017, 09:17 PM by Aideen.)
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#2
Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,526 posts.

The Fauna of Relic Lore: Terrestrial Prey.

                                                                        
American Marten.
Average Lifespan: 7-10 years.
Martes americana.
Prey.

The American marten, also referred to as a pine marten, is vastly distributed across Canada and the mountains of the western United States.  It inhabits pine and mixed forests, and prefers higher altitudes.  A territorial creature, it is difficult to find them in high density, as adults do not overlap in their home ranges.  A long, slender weasel, they range from 1.6 to 2.3 feet in length and weigh 1.1 to 3.1 pounds, though they do not differ between sex.  Generally nocturnal or diurnal, these animals are capable of traveling up to 7-9 miles in a single night, and may prove to be difficult to catch during the summer months.  They have limited winter durability, and often disappear for the season as they go into torpor.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Due to the martin's durability, a wolf must use the element of surprise if it wants to avoid a long chase through the night.  If in danger, they are likely to return to a den or scale a tree, so time is of the essence.  Once caught, they have little defense outside of small claws and a marginal bite force.  However, they are extremely hard to come by during the winter, and have limited fat stores, so may not be worth the effort during colder months.

Brown Lemming.
Average Lifespan: 1-3 years.
Lemmus trimucronatus.
Prey.

Found primarily on the tundra plains of the Larkcall Lowlands, these lemmings are a brown in colour, with an reddish-brown back and rump, while the head and shoulders are grey. In the winter, the coat becomes longer and greyer. The female averages 12.5 cm (5.7 in) in length and weighs 58 g (2.4 oz), while the male averages 13 cm (5.9 in) and weighs 68 g (2.7 oz). Like other lemmings, it has small ears, short legs and a very short tail. Both the soles and toes are covered with bristles and are adapted for burrowing. They feed mainly on grass shoots and will also eat tundra grass, sedge, moss, bark, berries, lichens, and roots. They live underground, in colonies, and may produce up to three litters each year, including under the snow in winter. The brown lemming is not migratory and when overpopulated (and during mating season), they will fight amongst themselves.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): When concealed under the snow, wolves may pin-point lemmings by the scratching noise of their claws against the ice. Bounding motions may send vibrations to startle the prey so when paws push through the snow crust and jaws come down they may get away with more than a mouthful of snow. Hunting such small prey can be difficult in the warmer months, however wolves have been known to dig into nursery burrows, or slowly creep close enough to snatch an adult as it exits its burrow.

Caribou.
Average Lifespan: 10-20 years.
Rangifer tarandus.
Prey.

Living in herds of varying sizes, the caribou are often on the move, as they are a migratory species. In spring, small groups often come together and form huge herds ranging between 50,000 and 500,000 animals. During their autumn migration, they travel in smaller numbers, as it is their mating season (September - November). The males compete with one another, and often stop eating, leaving them weak once the season is over. The calves are born the following May or June. Caribou are between 2.10 and 4.11 ft tall, and weigh 350 - 500 lb. Both sexes have antlers, shedding them in different seasons.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (4 wolf minimum): Wolves are effective hunters when it comes to caribou, and often take them in large numbers throughout the winter. It is not uncommon to see a moderate number of pack wolves following the herd as it moves through their territory, preying off of it.

Dall Sheep.
Average Lifespan: 12-19 years.
Ovis Dalli.
Prey.

Dall sheep can be found in high elevations, such as the ridges, slopes, and alpine meadows of Serpent's Pass. Much like the mountain goat, Dall sheep are agile and able to traverse difficult terrain and use this to their advantage to avoid predators. They can weigh up to 300lbs, and have a white to brownish-grey coat. Males (called rams) grow large, distinctively curled horns while females (called ewes) have smaller, straighter horns. Rams and ewes travel in separate groups, only coming together during the winter to mate. During the mating season, rams compete in head-butting battles to assert dominance and gain breeding rights. Lambs are born in May.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (3 wolf minimum): Due to the dall sheep's tendency to graze near steep slopes and rocky hills, a wolf must sneak up as closely as possible before making their attack. If the sheep notice a threat, they will make a hasty retreat up difficult terrain, where it is impossible for a wolf to catch up.

Elk.
Average Lifespan: 10-13 years.
Cervs canadensis.
Prey.

Elk are large, varying between 4.3 and 4.9 ft in height and weigh 500 - 730 lb. Generally they're a brownish red in color, with patches of different hues. They tend to live in same-sex groups except during the rut in fall, when bulls attempt to gather harems of cows. The cow isolates herself from the herd while she gives birth in spring, and keeps in isolation until the offspring is large enough to escape predators: the "nursery" herds can consist of up to 50 cows with calves. The elk migrates in each spring and fall, forming huge bands of up to 200,000 individuals.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (4 wolf minimum): While males still wear their antlers, which is at least through the winter, they tend to stick to themselves, making them easy prey for wolves. In spring and summer they tend to form bachelor groups, making them harder targets. Typically elk protect themselves either with their antlers, or strong front leg kicks.

Hoary Marmot.
Average Lifespan: 8-12 years.
Marmota Caligata.
Prey.

Hoary marmots live near the tree line on slopes with grasses and forbs to eat and rocky areas for cover - typically found in the territories that line the mountain range that edges up against the Mountain of Dire and sometimes around the Sierra Hills. They are also plentiful within Nomads Pass. It is a large, bulky, ground squirrel, with short, heavy limbs, and a broad head. They are diurnal and herbivorous, subsisting on leaves, flowers, grasses, and sedges. They live in colonies of up to 36 individuals, which consist of only one dominant male, and hibernate seven to eight months a year (usually September through May) in burrows they excavate in the soil, often among or under boulders. A litter of 2-5 young are born between late May and mid-June; the young emerge outside of the den as early as three or four weeks of age, fully weaned and with full coat of fur. They are also vocal animals, with at least seven distinct types of calls, including chirps, whistles, growls, and whining sounds - many of these calls are used as alarms, alerting other animals to potential predators.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): Hoary marmots are a staple food for not just wolves, but other major predators too. They frequently sun themselves on rocks, spending as much as 44% of their time in the morning doing so, although they will shelter in their burrows or otherwise seek shade in especially warm weather. They forage for the rest of the day, returning to their burrows to sleep during the night.

Mountain Goat.
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years.
Oreamnos americanus.
Prey.

Sure-footed and bred for high elevations, the mountain goat lives above the treeline and often rests upon tall perches predators cannot reach. Roughly 3.3 ft in height, and ranging from 99 to 310 lb in weight, they're the largest mammal at their altitude. Their coat is double, thick and white, and both sexes sport long, black horns. Their rutting season is in autumn, and afterwards the nannies form nursery groups of up to 50 individuals, before giving birth in spring. In general they're a violent species, often participating in fights but only seldom do they become seriously injured.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (2-3 wolf minimum): Wolves typically do not hunt mountain goats, and close to never above the treeline. However, they'll take the opportunity if it presents itself. The mountain goats are not afraid to fight back with their horns, and nannies will stand over their kids to protect them.

Moose.
Average Lifespan: 12-25 years.
Alces alces.
Difficult Prey.

Moose are large solitary animals and mainly diurnal. While they're not a territorial species, they tend to stick around in the same place if there's food enough. An adult moose is anywhere between 4.6 and 6.9 ft tall, and weights between 440 and 1,500 lb. Their breeding season is September to October, and during those months the moose can often be seen in something that resembles groups. Testosterone levels in the bulls are very high, resulting in aggressive outbursts, which may prove a hazard to curious wolves. The cow calves in May or June the following year.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (5 wolf minimum): Moose are not easy prey, and for a lone wolf, it is virtually impossible to take one down, and a pack very rarely tries to hunt healthy moose. Instead, the pack keeps tabs on the moose moving in their territory, checking up on them every few weeks to asses their condition. If the moose suffers from injury, illness, or any other condition detrimental to their health, the pack might hunt it. The behavior of a hunted moose varies from individual to individual; some stand their ground, and some flee.

Mule Deer.
Average Lifespan: 9-11 years.
Odocoileus hemionus.
Prey.

Mule deer are known for their large, mule-like ears. Typically this type of deer is about the size of a large wolf, and weighs between 95 and 330 lb. Even though they can run properly, they're often seen stotting. In general they're not an aggressive species, with the exception of bucks during the rut in autumn. Instead, they rely on their high "on the alert" level and natural camouflage in order to avoid predators. Does give birth to their fawns in spring.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (3-5 wolf minimum): Wolves most often take the weak, sick, young or old individuals, but on occasion, if the hunting team is well-prepared, they may take down a large, healthy mule deer as well.

Muskox.
Average Lifespan: 12-20 years.
Ovibos moschatus.
Difficult Prey.

So named for the musky odor males emit during their rut to attract females, these thick coated creatures stand 1.1 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 ft) high at the shoulder, with females measuring 135 to 200 cm (4.4 to 6.6 ft) in length, and the larger males 200 to 250 cm (6.6 to 8.2 ft). Adults, on average, weigh 285 kg (630 lb) and range from 180 to 410 kg (400 to 900 lb). Both males and females sport long curved horns, and their coat, a mix of black, gray, and brown, includes long guard hairs that almost reach the ground. Their heavy coat leaves them with a preference for the coler northern reaches of Relic Lore.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (5 wolf minimum): Living in herds from 10-20 individuals, Muskoxen exhibit distinctive defensive behaviour: when the herd is threatened, the bulls and cows will face outward to form a stationary ring or semicircle around the calves. The bulls are usually the front line for defence against predators with the cows and juveniles gathering close to them. It is inadvisable for wolves to take on adult muskoxen, although the juveniles and elderly can be bought down if they can be separated from the herd. Muskox will overheat if they run for too long, and will often stop to stand their ground mid-pursuit.

Prairie Dog.
Average Lifespan: 8-10 years.
Cynomys.
Prey.

Known for their burrowing and barking calls, the prairie dog is a swift, herbivorous rodent. Their deep and rambling burrows, while providing protection for the prairie dog, may also prevent erosion and runoff. With dichromatic vision, they are capable of seeing their predators from a long ways off and have developed a special call with which to alert other prairie dogs.

 

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): Due to their special vision, alert-all calls, and never ending burrows, catching a prairie dog may only be for the desperate or those looking for a challenge.

Pronghorn.
Average Lifespan: 15-20 years.
Antilocapra americana.
Prey.

Generally known to be the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, the Pronghorn maybe spotted in the realm of Relic Lore, usually on, around and near the Mountain of Dire. The males are armed with a pair of horns that branch into a prong, averaging nearly ten inches long. Though excellent runners, Pronghorns are terrible jumpers, preferring to go under rather than over. Mixed herds of these animals can be found in the winter, while in other seasons the females form their own herds, the young males form bachelor herds, and mature males live a solitary life.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (3 wolf minimum): Although wolves are one of the pronghorn's major predators, catching one requires a bit more than running a herd down. Fawns are easier to catch typically, however, with the right strategy (due to their poor jumping ability), a well-organized pack could bring down an adult.

Red Squirrel.
Average Lifespan: 5-10 years.
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus.
Diurnal. Prey.

The American Red Squirrel - also known as chickarees, pine squirrels, and fairydiddles - is widely found across Relic Lore and the whole of Canada. It is easily distinguishable by its reddish fur and white underbelly. They are medium-sized (200–250 g) diurnal mammals that defend a year-round exclusive territory and typically inhabit territories with hardwood trees and relative mushrooms (northern Relic Lore, Cedarwood Forest, the Spectral Woods, and the Wildwood). Nests are most commonly constructed of grass in the branches of trees and are very rarely found below ground. Each individual squirrel has several nests within its territory, and females with young move them between nests; they also do no hibernate in the winter.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Though wolves typically stick to ungulates (deer, elk, etc.), the arboreal nature of the Red Squirrel make hunting this rodent quite a challenge for even the speediest wolves. Wolves beware, as Red Squirrels are also preyed upon by a majority of other Relic Lore predators (lynx, bobcats, coyotes, owls, foxes, martens, hawks, and weasels).

Snowshoe Hare.
Average Lifespan: 1 year.
Lepus americanus.
Prey.

The snowshoe hare can easily be recognized by its year-round black ear-tips, and maybe by the fact that their ears are relatively short — for being a hare. They match their color to the season, being white in winter and rusty brown in summer. While they're mainly herbivores, they tend to eat the carcasses of other dead rodents when they come across them. Snowshoe hares are largely nocturnal, and prefer living in forests. The snowshoe hare may have up to four litters in a year which average three to eight young. Males compete for females, and females may breed with several males. Diurnal activity level increases during the breeding season (late December to January and lasts until July or August). Juveniles are usually more active and less cautious than adults.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Wolves often prey on snowshoe hares and commonly take note of where a rabbit warren is located within their pack lands or surroundings territories; snowshoe hares contribute to the majority of a pack's caches.

White-tailed Deer.
Average Lifespan: 4-6 years.
Odocoileus virginianus.
Crepuscular. Prey.

These deer are smaller than mule deer on average, with adults weighing in at around 100 to 200 pounds and reaching 21-47 inches at the shoulder depending on size, age and gender. “Whitetails” are less common in British Columbia than their larger counterparts. Their namesake and most notable feature is their foot long tail, which is stark white on the underside. They use this appendage to signal danger by holding it upright and waving it back and forth in a display known as “flagging.” Male whitetails also have a different antler construction than a mule deer, where the prongs grow straight off of the main beam instead of branching. The antlers are shed in the winter and regrown every year. Whitetails are not typically aggressive, but does will sometimes defend their fawns with powerful kicks, and bucks may protect themselves with their antlers. These deer are most active at dawn and dusk, when feeding. The females usually travel in small family herds, and the males in bachelor groups.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (3-5 wolf minimum): When threatened, the deer will snort and stamp its foot to alert others. If the danger is severe enough the prey will forego the stamping and either flee while flagging, or attempt to charge the attacker. Wolves are very effective whitetail hunters. Usually wolves and other canids will attempt to chase a deer to exhaustion while biting at its legs and stomach. They attack until the vital organs can be reached and blood loss claims the victim. The typical targets are young or weak individuals, but healthy adults are taken as well.

Wood Bison.
Average Lifespan: 20 years.
Bison bison athabascae.
Difficult Prey.

Wood bison, also known as mountain bison, are large and social animals, standing roughly at 6 ft with mature bulls weighing over 2,000 lbs. whilst females weigh in at around 1,200 lb. Despite their size and seemingly lumbering form, they are able to run at speeds of 55 kilometers per hour (roughly 35 mph). Their most noticeable feature is the pronounced hump upon their shoulders that seems to dwarf its hind quarters. Their coats are dense, taking on a dark brown coloration in winter which becomes lighter in the spring. They have curving horns that point upward, adding to its rather bulky, fearsome appearance.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (4-5 wolf minimum): With their great size, weight and impressive speed, bison are not an easy kill for wolves. A single healthy animal is capable of driving off a single wolf should it stand its ground, whilst a large number of them prove to be more than a match for a pack. Wolves seek the smallest or weakest bison, often a calf or aging member, and attempt to separate it from the herd, though even then they risk injury; bison are known to charge predators.

Wild Boar.
Average Lifespan: 4-8 years.
Sus scrofa.
Rare. Difficult Prey.

Also known as wild swine or wild pig, boars in Canada are a rare sight to behold. They often take cover in dense woodlands and thickets. The first sighting was in March of 2011 by Vlarindara; it was a group of three, one of which was taken down and presented to her Leader. For some time onward, there were only a handful of hunts. The last major recollection of them by Relic Lore wolves dates back to the year 2013. From then onward, their presence on-site has been a rare occurrence.

At 0-10 months old, they are called squeakers; by 10-12 months they are juveniles; by 2 years of age they're commonly called "pigs of the sounder;" by the time they are six years old, they are considered "old" and by seven they are called "grand old boars." A group of wild swine is commonly called a "drift." WIP.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (2-3 wolf minimum): WIP.

Wood Turtle.
Average Lifespan: 55 years.
Glyptemys insculpta.
Diurnal. Semiterrestrial. Prey.

This midsized turtle can be found by wide rivers, preferring shallow, clear streams with compacted and sandy bottoms. It also strays into forests and grasslands to hunt, but will rarely be seen more than several hundred meters from flowing water. During summer, the wood turtle is considered a largely terrestrial animal, traveling and resting in areas with light vegetation, or in small creeks; It will return to water at least every few days. In the hot season, Wood turtles spend the cooler hours foraging, while it takes time to bask in the sun during warmer hours, to keep up body temperature. It is not uncommon to find individuals resting under vegetation, fallen debris and in shallow puddles.

Between 5.5 and 7.9 inches (14- 20 cm) long and weighing 1 kilogram (35 oz) when fully grown, this turtle can make a nice meal for any predator that manages to find it. It has a rough carapace that is a tan, grayish brown or brown color, with a central ridge made up of a pyramidal pattern of ridges and grooves, and bright red-orange coloring on its neck and buttocks. An omnivorous animal, the Wood turtle feeds primarily on worms, slugs and snails as well as algae, grasses and tree leaves and sprouts. It is opportunistic, not  shying back from scavenging on dead animals and fish of any kind, or catching mice or small fish on its own.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Wood turtles a relatively easy to catch as they move slowly over land. But a hunter must use care, as the reptile delivers quite a nasty bite which might result in infection. Once caught and incapacitated, breaking open the shell is an easy feet, using teeth and claws.

Woodchuck.
Average Lifespan: 4-6 years.
Marmota monax.
Difficult Prey.

The woodchuck - also called a groundhog or whistle-pig - is a type of marmot also known as groundhog. It averages 7 lb in weight, and has a small, compact body made for digging with short, powerful limbs and curved claws. Due to its habitat, it has a double coat, giving it its "frosted" appearance. The woodchuck is largely diurnal, and while solitary, it may share burrow with several others, and when out feeding they have at least one "sentry" posted at all times. Despite their clunky bodies they're adept swimmers and climbers. From October to April they are in true hibernation, often in a separate "winter burrow".

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Generally the woodchuck tries to escape from its predators, either into water, up into trees or into the burrow. However, if the burrow is invaded, it'll fiercely protect itself with its claws and teeth.

(This post was last modified: Sep 14, 2016, 11:45 PM by Aideen.)
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#3
Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,526 posts.

The Fauna of Relic Lore: Aquatic Prey.

                                                                
Arctic Char.
Average Lifespan: 20-25 years.
Salvelinus alpinus.
Prey.

A cold-water relative of the salmon and river trout, the Arctic Char breeds in fresh water and populations can either be landlocked or anadromous. No other freshwater fish is found as far north, preferring deep, cold, glacial lakes. The fish is highly variable in colour, depending on the time of year and the environmental conditions of the lake where it lives. Individual fish can weigh 20 lb (9.1 kg) or more and the flesh colour can range from a bright red to a pale pink.

As with most salmonids, vast differences in coloration and body shape occur between sexually mature males and females. Males develop hooked jaws known as kypes and take on a brilliant red colour. Char do not die after spawning like Pacific salmon and often spawn several times throughout their lives, typically every second or third year.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): The Arctic Char return to the ocean from September to November and are easiest to catch as they travel across shallower sections of streams and rivers. Given the considerable weight of this fish, it is recommended you bring a friend to help drag it out of the water. Of course there is always the option of hanging around and hoping a bald eagle might drop a (smaller but equally hefty) catch or a distracted grizzly might fling his meal too far.

Arctic Grayling.
Average Lifespan: 15-18 years.
Thymallus arcticus.
Prey.

The Arctic grayling is very easy to identify because of their large, sail-shaped dorsal fin. They can range in colour from sandy brown to nearly black, with or without very colourful markings. They can be found with spots that range in colour from black to purple, blue, red, and more. Because of their various coloration, the Artic grayling are truly a beautiful fish. The iris of these fish also usually appears as a striking golden colour, which also makes them easily identifiable. These fish usually prefer very cool waters, and may be found everywhere from streams and rivers to lakes. Growing up to a length of 76 cm (30 in) and a maximum recorded weight of 3.8 kg (8.4 lb), these fish would make a reasonable meal for any wolf skilled enough to catch one.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): WIP

Beaver.
Average Lifespan: 10-20 years.
Castor canadensis.
Prey.

Weighing in at a maximum of 71 lbs. (32 kg.), the North American Beaver is one of the largest rodents in North America. With a flat paddle-shaped tail and webbed hind feet the beaver is semi-aquatic. It has nictitating membranes that cover its eyes, allowing it to see underwater, and a thick insulating layer of fat that keeps it warm in cold environments. Mainly active at night, beavers are both famous and infamous for their dam building. Armed with strong incisors and clawed front paws, the beaver may defend themselves in this manner, as wolves are a common predator.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (2 wolf minimum): While beavers may make a good meal, they can be a formidable opponent with their large teeth. They are best hunted on land, but it would be wise to keep away from the musk glands near their hind ends, which could make their meat most unsavory.

Broad Whitefish.
Average Lifespan: 18-20 years.
Coregonus nasus.
Prey.

A regular favourite of Grizzly Bears, the broad whitefish is a freshwater whitefish species. Dark silvery in colour, and like a herring in its shape, its distinctive features include a convex head, short gill rakers, and a mild overbite. It reaches a maximum length of 70 centimetres (28 in), and a maximum weight of 16 kilograms (35 lb). Most commonly inhabiting streams, it is also found in lakes and estuaries with a salinity of less than 15 percent. Fish from freshwater populations sometimes migrate to or through ocean waters, especially in the winter.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): Such a hefty fish is best artfully scavenged from larger predators if you cannot wrangle a friend to help you drag one onto the shore. Rarely they may become stranded in shallow pools after seasonal flooding.

Burbot.
Average Lifespan: 1-12 years.
Lota Lota.
Prey.

With an appearance like a cross between a catfish and an eel, the burbot has a serpent-like body, but it is easily distinguished by a single barbel on the chin. They live in large, cold freshwater rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, but are able to thrive in brackish environments for spawning. During the summer, they are typically found in the colder water below the thermocline. Burbot can live at depths below 300 m (980 ft) and tolerate an array of substrate types, including mud, sand, rubble, boulder, silt, and gravel. Adults construct extensive burrows in the substrate for shelter during the day as they are active crepuscular hunters. Burbot populations are adfluvial during the winter months, and they migrate to near-shore reefs and shoals to spawn, preferring spawning grounds of sand or gravel.

FISHING/HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Varying in weight from 1 to 12kg, your wolf may stumble across one of these strange creatures in the shallows as they migrate to their saltier spawning grounds, or washed up on shore as the leftovers from a larger deepwater predator. Otherwise they usually reside at depths too deep for wolves to access.

Channel Catfish.
Average Lifespan: 14 years.
Ictalurus punctatus.
Prey.

This species of fish is the most numerous of catfish species in North America. They are omnivores and will particularly feed on anything. They thrive in small and large rivers, reservoirs, natural lakes, and ponds - meaning they can be found all over Relic Lore: all along the Swift River, in the Secluded Spring, in the depths of Heartleaf Creek, within the Cut Rock River, in the murky waters of Dragonfly Fen, not far from Bramble Falls, along the shallows of Jasper Rocks, Clandestine Brook, Heiress Loch, in the Iridescent Lagoon and the Lost Lake, and in the small creeks of the Spectral Woods. They can grow to be 40–50 pounds (18–23 kg), but the average catfish is a meager 2–4 pounds (0.9–1.8 kg.). They possess keen senses of taste and smell and might prove hard to catch if they catch a whiff of anything strange in the water. Channel "cats" are also cavity nesters, meaning they lay their eggs in crevices, hollows, or debris, to protect them from swift currents.

FISHING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Catfish are plentiful in Relic Lore and these fish make an easy meal for a skilled fisherman who knows where and how to look for it. The most experienced of wolves are mindful of the sharp spines on the pectoral and dorsal fins. The best time to possibly fish for Channel Catfish is during twilight or evening hours as they are actively nocturnal and feed at night; it is noted they are also most active during the Winter time, though Fishers must possess enough strength and bulk to break the ice in the shallows in order to get to them.

Chinook Salmon.
Average Lifespan: 3-7 years.
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha.
Prey.

Chinook salmon, also known as king or spring salmon, reside in the larger and deeper parts of the Lore's rivers and streams. They spawn from September through December. The Chinook is blue-green, red or purple on the back and top of the head with silvery sides and white ventral surfaces. It has black spots on its tail and the upper half of its body. Its mouth is often dark purple to black. On average, they weigh 10-50 lbs. (4.5 to 23 kg) and may be as old as to 2-8 years by the time they return to Relic Lore from the ocean. It has also been noted that they may reach up to 130 pounds (59 kg). Fry and parr (young fish) usually stay in fresh water 12 to 18 months before traveling downstream and away from Relic Lore into partly enclosed coastal bodies of water. Pools and streams they inhabit often have high levels of algae.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): WIP.

Chum Salmon.
Average Lifespan: 6-7 years.
Oncorhynchus keta.
Prey.

Chum salmon, also known as dog salmon or keta salmon, are usually found in small streams and sometimes find their way into the Iridescent Lagoon. They begin to migrate out to sea from March to July. They tend to build nests called redds, really little more than protected depressions in the gravel, in shallow edges of the watercourse and at the tail end of deep pools. They boast purple, blotchy streaks in the spring. Males boast elongated snouts (called "kypes") and enlarged teeth. Chum fry migrate out to sea from March through July, almost immediately after becoming free swimmers. These are the last salmon to spawn (November to January). They die about two weeks after they return to the freshwater to spawn. Adult chum usually weigh from 4.4 to 10.0 kg, (9.7 lbs to 22.0 lbs) with an average length of 60 cm (24 inches).

 

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): WIP.

Coho Salmon.
Average Lifespan: 4-5 years.
Oncorhynchus kisutch.
Prey.

Coho salmon, also known as silver salmon or simply "silvers," are commonly only found in the rivers, usually fighting the currents in Cedarwood Forest, along Heartleaf Creek where the water runs deep enough, and through the Sacred Grove in the Autumn. Eggs hatch in the late winter or early spring.  Young coho spend one to two years in their freshwater natal streams, often spending the first winter in off-channel sloughs, before transforming to the smolt stage. Smolts are generally 100–150 mm (3.9–5.9 in) and as their parr marks fade and the adult's characteristic silver scales start to dominate. Smolts migrate to the ocean from late March through July. By the time the salmon come back to Relic Lore, they develop a light-pink or rose shading along the belly. Males may show a slight arching of the back as females might become darker than males in coloration. Both sexes, once mature, have a pronounced red skin color with darker backs and sport hooked noses.

 

FISHING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): Ideal fishing times for this type of salmon spans from March through July as they begin their journey to return to the sea.

Lake Sturgeon.
Average Lifespan: 50-55+ years.
Acipensir fulvescens.
Prey.

Slow growing and long-lived, Lake Sturgeons - also called rock sturgeons - rarely grow to about 1.5 meters in length. They are normally found in lakes of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba; here in Relic Lore they have been found to inhabit the deep waterways of the Swift River and Iridescent Lagoon. They are omnivores and have been said to grow to be 6 feet (1.8 meters) long if left alone in the wild. Males may live for up to 55 years, whereas females may live to be as old as 150+.

FISHING TECHNIQUE (2-5 wolf minimum): This fish poses an interesting challenge and wolves would only seize the opportunity to make the lake sturgeons a meal if the opportunity was open (ie. the fish was stranded in shallow water after a flood moved it from the river onto the flood plain, it happened to flop onto dry land and is unable to return to the water, etc.).

Lake Trout.
Average Lifespan: 25+ years.
Salvelinus namaycush.
Prey.

Lake trout are the largest of the chars; the record weighed almost 46.3 kilograms (102 lb) with a length of 50 inches (130 cm), and 15– to 40-pound fish are not uncommon. The average length is 24–36 inches (61–91 centimetres). A slow-growing fish, it is also very late to mature.

FISHING/HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1-3 wolf minimum): Smaller fish may be caught in much the same manner as salmon, however larger fish would pose a greater challenge and it would be a rare occurance that one was washed by floods into a shallower section of river, or left stranded on the banks.

Longnose Sucker.
Average Lifespan: 17-24 years.
Catostomus catostomus.
Prey.

The longnose sucker is a bottom-feeding fish, eating aquatic plants, algae, and small invertebrates. Its body is long and round with dark olive or grey sides and top and a light underside. They are typically 15 to 25 inches (38 to 64 cm) long and weigh between 1 and 2 pounds (0.45 and 0.91 kg). Often preyed upon by larger predatory fish, they are more often used as an indicator of other, larger more substantial fish that might be found in the same waterways (that isn’t to say a starving wolf won’t snap one up given the chance).

FISHING/HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): WIP

Muskrat.
Average Lifespan: 3-4 years.
Ondatra zibethicus.
Nocturnal. Prey.

The Muskrat is a meduim-sized semi-aquatic rodent somewhat like the beaver. It thrives in wetland habitats and along waterways. They are most active at night and around dusk; feeding mainly on plants such as cattail and water lilies. They live in small family groups of parents and their young in small mounds of vegetation and mud called push-ups. In bodies of water like streams or ponds they construct an underwater burrow at the water's edge. Muskrats are covered in short thick fur that protects them from the wet and cold. They can spend up to 15 minutes submerged in water and are well-suited to aquatic life. They are prolific breeders and can have as many as 3 litters per year. These rodents have a long scaly tail and weigh between 1.5 and 4.5 pounds on average.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Muskrats are slower on land than in the water, and therefore much easier to catch before they can submerge. Because these rodents can hold their breath for 15 minutes at a time they must be prevented from reaching deep water and escaping.

Painted Turtle.
Average Lifespan: 55 years.
Chrysemys picta.
Diurnal. Semiaquatic. Prey.

A smaller sized terrapin that can be found in all kinds of water habitats. It is an omnivore eating both plants and underwater invertebrates as well as slow moving fishes. It has a smooth dark brown carapace with bright orange, red, or yellow bits of coloring on its head by its eyes and neck; Plus bright orange or red coloring on the underneath of its carapace along the bridge of its shell. Adult females measure 4–10 in (10–25 cm) and weigh about 500 g (18 oz), while males are a bit smaller: 3–6 in (7–15 cm) and around 300g (11 oz). They can be found anywhere with water that is more than three feet deep in some places, spending the warm season hunting and basking in the sun, while they retread to the muddy water bottoms during winter to hibernate.

As cold-blooded reptiles, Painted turtles need to bask in the sun several times during the day to bring up their body temperature enough to hunt. The ideal body temperature for activity lies between 63 and 73 °F (17–23 °C), but when they're fighting off infection, individuals can manipulate their temperature up to 8 °F (5 °C) higher than normal. When water temperatures drop below 59 °F (15 °C), Painted turtles go into hibernation, at which point their temperature lowers to  43 °F (6 °C). Periods of warm weather bring the turtle out of hibernation, so while hibernation can stretch as long as from October to March, individuals have been seen basking in February.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Painted turtles are quick swimmers and rarely stray far from water. As such they are difficult prey for even the quickest of wolves. Catching one requires stealth and quite a bit of skill, as the hunter must sneak close enough to pounce on the prey before it escapes into the water. Once caught, the small turtle's shell offer little protection from the strength of a grown wolf's jaws, a quick crack giving access to an unusual, but protein rich meal.

Pink Salmon.
Average Lifespan: 2-7 years.
Oncorhynchus gorbuscha.
Prey.

Pink salmon, also known as humpback salmon, have a two-year life cycle. Spawning occurs late June and mid-October. After returning to their spawning streams, their coloring changes to pale grey on the back with yellowish-white belly (although some turn an overall dull green color). The fish is characterized by a white mouth with black gums, no teeth on the tongue, large oval-shaped black spots on the back, and a v-shaped tail. During their spawning migration, males develop a pronounced humped back. The eggs hatch from December to February, depending on water temperature, and the juveniles emerge from the gravel during March and April and quickly migrate downstream to estuaries, at about one-quarter gram in weight. The fish achieve sexual maturity in their second year of life. They return to freshwater in the summer or autumn as two-year-old adults.

FISHING TECHNIQUE (1-2 wolf minimum): While some wolves are capable of mastering the art of fishing, most test their luck by vying with grizzly bears for a popular fishing spot or searching the riverbeds for recently deceased salmon days after they have spawned. Caviar might also be a special treat if artfully acquired.

Rainbow Trout.
Average Lifespan: 4-6 years.
Oncorhynchus mykiss.
Prey.

Rainbow trout, also known as steelhead, can be found in deep, cold, clear freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes in Relic Lore. This fish has an olive green-yellow coloration with plentiful black spots, with a pink band down their side. Adults typically weigh 8 lbs (3.6 kg) and measure 20 to 30 inches in length (51 to 76 cm), though particularly large specimens can top out at 50 lbs and 4 feet in length. Rainbow trout have either an enitrely freshwater lifecycle, or a lifecycle alternating salt and freshwater. All rainbow trout hatch in gravely, fast flowing rivers and streams. Ocean-dwelling steelhead migrate to saltwater as juveniles, returning to freshwater as adults to spawn and reach Relic Lore's inland waters in summer runs lasting from May to October. Unlike most salmon, rainbow trout do not die after spawning and may spawn for several seasons. Rainbow trout that do not migrate to the ocean may be found in Relic Lore year round, moving into deeper waters during winter freezes.

HUNTING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): A wolf will have the best chance hunting rainbow trout during the summer runs from May to October, where many fish enter smaller tributaries to spawn. A good strategy for catching spawning rainbow trout is to catch them as they cross shallow sections of water, or to snatch them from the air as they jump over short waterfalls. Some rainbow trout remain in freshwater their entire lives, providing year round hunting opportunities. Rainbow trout are known for being one of the hardest fighting game fish, so a wolf will need ample strength to successfully land a steelhead.

White Sturgeon.
Average Lifespan: 20-100+ years.
Acipensir transmontanus.
Prey.

The largest species of sturgeon at a whopping 6.1 meters in length for a large adult. Normally found a bit smaller than this. Found in the ocean and large lakes and rivers on the Pacific coast of North America, Alaska Bay to northern Baja, California. Within Relic Lore, it typically inhabits the deep streams of the Swift River and certain segments of Heartleaf Creek. WIP.

FISHING TECHNIQUE (5-8 wolf minimum): WIP.

Zebra Mussel.
Average Lifespan: 4-5 years.
Dreissena polymorpha.
Prey.

The zebra mussel is a small freshwater mussel measuring up to two inches (50 mm) long. Originally from Russia and Ukraine, they invaded North America in the 1980's and have since found their way into the waterways of Relic Lore. They are often found in fish-populated ponds and rivers where they compete for algae as food - most especially along Jasper Rocks, Heartleaf Creek, and Swift River. Zebra mussels get their name from a striped pattern commonly seen on their shells and can survive out of water for about 7 days. They are common prey for crafty birds, crawfish, and some fish.

FISHING TECHNIQUE (1 wolf minimum): Scavengers and hunters in search of an easy meal need only knowledge of where to find and how to spot these hardy, riverbed-dwelling creatures. With a normal bite force of 400 lbs., wolves are capable of cracking open zebra mussel shells for a tasty treat. Just be careful of the jagged edges!

(This post was last modified: Apr 02, 2017, 08:24 PM by Aideen.)
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#4
Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,526 posts.

The Fauna of Relic Lore: Predators & Rivals.

Apart from wolves, there are other inhabitants within Relic Lore who share power at the top of the food chain. Whether they are a true predator (a being that kills and eats another living being) or an opportunistic scavenger, these species compete for sustenance within the various territories to survive.

Please note, it is very rare for a wolf to eat another dead predator.

                     
American Mink.
Average Lifespan: 10 years.
Neovison vison.
Minor Rival.

American minks range throughout the entirety of North America, inhabiting all habits except those that are arid or hot.  They range from 12-18 inches in size and 1-3 pounds in weight, with males being the larger of the sexes.  Despite their small size, minks are incredibly predators, often outcompeting much larger animals, such as otters.  Incredibly clever, they are difficult to catch.  These critters can swim, run, and climb – and perhaps more importantly, are prone to releasing a terrible, pungent secretion from their anal glands that some claim is worse than a skunk's.  While a royal pain (and liable to steal part of a wolf's attended kill if allowed), they are not likely to make a good meal, nor present a real danger to a grown wolf other than that of fleas or ticks.

Arctic Fox.
Average Lifespan: 3-4 years.
Vulpes lagopus.
Minor Rival.

Well adapted to living in cold environments, the Arctic fox has a deep thick fur which is brown in summer and white in winter. Its body length ranges from 46 to 68 cm (18 to 27 in), with a generally rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat. It preys on any small creatures such as: lemmings, voles, fish, and waterfowl. It also eats carrion, berries, insects, and other small invertebrates. Arctic foxes form monogamous pairs during the breeding season and they stay together to raise their young in complex underground dens. Occasionally, other family members may assist in raising their young.

Arctic foxes are the primary host of the Arctic Rabies Virus, and so caution should be taken when approaching individuals who seem unwell.

Badger.
Average Lifespan: 4-14 years.
Taxidea taxus.
Minor Rival.

The American badger is stocky with a low-slung body and short, powerful legs; they are identifiable by their huge fore claws (measuring up to 5 cm in length) and distinctive head markings. Except for the head, the American badger is covered with a grizzled, silvery coat of coarse hair or fur. Its triangular face shows a distinctive black and white pattern, with brown or blackish "badges" marking the cheeks and a white stripe extending from the nose to the base of the head. It preys predominantly on small rodents, lizards, fish, skunks, carrion, a variety of insects, fungi, honeycombs, and ground-nesting birds. American badgers are largely nocturnal, but have been reported to be active during the day as well. They do not hibernate, but become less active in winter, spending time in abandoned burrows. It has been noted that badgers and coyotes form beneficial relationships by means of hunting underground-dwelling prey.

Bald Eagle.
Average Lifespan: 20 years.
Haliaeetus leucocephalus.
Diurnal. Minor Rival.

The bald eagle is north America's largest bird of prey. They weigh in at about 9-12lbs and have a wingspan of around 6-7ft. Their plumage is dark brown with white areas on the face and tail. Their toes are armed with large, dangerous talons. These large birds are opportunistic carnivores. They often scavenge wolf kills and may even follow hunting wolves in the hope of feeding on their catch. Their typical hunting strategy involves perching on a high ledge, cliff or tree and using it to spot prey. Fish, waterbirds and smaller mammals are the eagle's usual food sources, but they have been known to kill deer fawns and wolf pups as well. The bald eagle is believed to mate for life and it builds the largest tree nest of any animal species. They are usually observed alone or in pairs.

Black Bear.
Average Lifespan: 18 years.
Ursus americanus.
Minor Rival.

The smallest of North American bear species, it is also the most common. Medium in size and black in color, the black bear is usually marked with a chestnut brown on it's snout. It is not much taller than a wolf. Sometimes the black bear will challenge wolves at kill sites, though typically a wolf pack can drive one off, or even kill them. Packs have been known to kill them while they hibernate, though wolves do not eat black bears. Black bears are quite active in daytime, as they try to avoid the more nocturnal brown bears.

Bobcat.
Average Lifespan: 10-15 years.
Lynx rufus.
Minor Rival.

Smaller than a wolf, the lynx has a grey to brown pelt with distinguished tufted black ears. Named for it’s black-tipped bobtail, the bobcat has intricate dark stripes and spots along its body. Smaller than the lynx, the bobcat is a territorial but solitary creature. They primarily hunt rabbits and other smaller prey, but have been known to also hunt animals as large as deer. Flexible and powerful, the bobcat makes a fierce opponent for a lone wolf and are usually avoided. Wolf packs have been known to kill bobcats, but never for food.

Cougar.
Average Lifespan: 8-13 years.
Puma concolor.
Crepuscular. Rival.

Cougars are about the size of a small-medium wolf, and are agile and powerful: they're fast sprinters, great jumpers, and proficient climbers. They're territorial but solitary, and mainly nocturnal. A cougar is most often tawny in color. When a female has cubs, she is fiercely protective, and highly dangerous. Despite their hunting prowess, cougars are seldom the apex predators in a range, often resorting to steeper terrain. Generally cougars avoid confronting wolves, but especially around kill sites conflicts may arise. The outcome can go either way, as there's been cases of wolves killing cougars and vice versa.

Coyote.
Average Lifespan: 10-14 years.
Canis latrans.
Rival. Vermin.

A coyote looks a bit like a small, redder wolf, and have a similar social structure. Though they live in small packs, they tend to hunt in pairs and their socialization is a lot more volatile than a wolf's. Coyotes are often attracted to kill sites, though wolves can easily drive them off. Where the wolf population flourishes, the coyotes do not, and often resort to steep terrain where their greater maneuverability allows them to escape the faster, heavier wolves. Despite their similarities, the two canine species seem to be archenemies.

Golden Eagle.
Average Lifespan: 25-30 years.
Aquila chrysaetos
Predator. Rival.

This bird is the only other true raptor of Canada that can give the bald eagle a run for its money. Where the bald eagle might be a bit longer in the wing and body the golden eagle is a bit more hefty in weight. They can have a wingspan between 6-7 feet and may weigh 7-14 pounds. The females are notably the gender that grows to the larger end of the scale compared to males who are relatively small. These birds prefer to hunt their food rather than scavenge. They normally go after rabbit, hare, fish, rodents, young deer (fawns) of various species, fox, water birds, and young coyote or wolf pups. However, they have been known to go after adult deer, mountain goats, bear cubs, coyotes, and small adult wolves. They sometimes have dark brown plumage, but most have the light brown body with golden brown head and neck feathers. The easiest way to differentiate between an immature golden versus a bald eagle is to remember that golden eagles have feathers reaching all the way down to their toes. Both immature birds are almost impossible to identify without seeing this feature. This eagle is usually seen alone or in pairs as it mates for life. Click here for additional information.

Great Horned Owl.
Average Lifespan: 13 years.
Bubo virginianus.
Nocturnal. Minor Rival.

The Great Horned Owl is the most common true owl in all of the Americas. It is an impressive nocturnal hunter, weighing in at anywhere from 2 to 5.5 pounds. They are easily identified by the feathers protruding from above their large yellow eyes. This aerial carnivore's wingspan reaches 3-5 feet in length. They often kill animals much heavier than themselves with their deadly talons. Rabbits, raccoons, skunks, falcons and even other owls are fair game. Small wolf, fox and coyote pups could also become prey if discovered unattended. Smaller creatures like mice and rodents are also consumed. As hunters they make effective use of stealth and camouflage; often perching in tall trees and diving silently at their prey. Great Horned owls are also fiercely protective parents; attacking any threat that comes too close to the nest site. They form pair bonds and lay 2-4 eggs in stumps, caves, or the abandoned nests of other birds. The owl's signature “hoo hoo” call is often heard after dusk and just before dawn. This is the easiest time to spot the creatures, as they take care to camouflage themselves well in trees during the daylight hours.

Grizzly Bear.
Average Lifespan: 22-26 years.
Ursus arctos ssp.
Crepuscular. Rival.

Grizzlies are large, standing at 3.35 ft at the shoulder and weighing between 290 and 790 lb. They're typically brown, though their hairs are white-tipped. They have a distinctive "hump" on their shoulders, which the Black bear lacks. Generally they are solitary (most sightings have been primarily noted within Cedarwood Forest), though they have been known to gather near lakes (the Lost Lake) and rivers (along Jasper Rocks, Swift River, Heartleaf Creek, Cut Rock River, and Copper Rock Creek) during the salmon spawn. A sow gives birth during hibernation, and is extremely protective of her cubs. Wolves and Grizzlies generally meet at kill sites, were one wolf will typically try and distract it while the others feed. Despite their frequent encounters, they seldom kill one another.

Lynx.
Average Lifespan: 10-20 years.
Lynx canadensis.
Nocturnal. Predator.

With its dense silvery-brown fur, ruffed face, tufted ears, short tail and very long legs, the Canada lynx is smaller and much lighter than a wolf. It is a secretive, nocturnal animal, living in dense forests and seldom stepping outside of them. Oddly enough, they have no aversion to water. Solitary and territorial, they often retreat to areas of higher altitude or deeper snows to avoid other predators, though they coexist well with wolves. Their ranges have been known to overlap with minimal conflict, probably because they largely hunt different prey - the lynx mainly lives off snowshoe hares, or other rodents.

Peregrine Falcon.
Average Lifespan: 16-20 years.
Falco peregrinus.
Minor Rival.

A large, crow-sized falcon, peregrine falcons typically hunt other birds, including pigeons and doves, waterfowl, songbirds and waders. As is typical of bird-eating raptors, they are sexually dimorphic, females being up to 30% larger than males. The peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 322 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects.

Red Fox.
Average Lifespan: 5 years.
Vulpes vulpes.
Minor Rival.

The red fox, while the largest of the foxes, is smaller than a wolf, and much lighter as well. They're agile, and both jump and swim well. Their hearing is extremely acute and precise, making them expert hunters of their favored prey—small rodents. While they are territorial, they prefer to live out in the open unless they have kits in spring, when they stay near a burrow. Red foxes typically form monogamous pairs which lead small packs. Wolves and red foxes sometimes butt heads at kill sites, and usually the wolf wins. Wolves have been known to kill, and even eat, red foxes at the point of starvation.

River Otter.
Average Lifespan: 8-9 years.
Lontra canadensis.
Minor Rival.

Also known as the common otter, river otters are the rulers of Relic Lore's waterways.  Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians, turtles, crayfish, and sometimes small mammals and birds. The North American river otter is a stocky animal with short legs, a muscular neck no smaller than the head, an elongated body and a long, tapered tail. River otters are active year-round, and are most active at night and during evening hours. They become much more nocturnal in the spring, summer, and fall seasons, and more diurnal during winter. They are renowned for their sense of play and may even frustrate the most high-strung of wolves. They live in a family unit consisting of an adult female and her offspring and sometimes close relatives. River otters living in groups hunt and travel together, use the same dens along the riverbanks, resting sites, and latrines, and perform allogrooming. Groups occur most often in autumn and during early winter. From mid-winter through the breeding season, adult females move and den alone. River otters are not territorial, but individual otters of different groups portray mutual avoidance.

Snowy Owl.
Average Lifespan: 10-15 years.
Bubo scandiacus.
Minor Rival.

Snowy owls are mostly white with narrow, sparse brown bars and spots. Their golden colored eyes are rather small for an owl and their toes and claws are thickly covered with feathers. Their dark colored bills are short and strong and sharply pointed. They are among the largest North American owl species. Unlike most other owls, they are most active during the daylight hours.

Snowy owls are highly nomadic and their movements are tied to the abundance of their primary prey species, lemmings. They are known to aggressively defend their nests and will attack those who wander too close. They mainly eat mammals, ranging from small rodents to large hares. They are also known to eat birds ranging in size from small songbirds to medium-sized geese and lemmings. An adult owl may eat around three to five lemmings each day (1,600 per year).

Striped Skunk.
Average Lifespan: 3 years.
Mephitis mephitis.
Crepuscular. Minor Rival.

Skunks, also known as Polecats, are most commonly known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong odor. Though skunks can be found with varying coloration, those that frequent Relic Lore can be found with the common black and white stripes, a clear warning marker for any that think they could make the skunk into a tasty snack. Not only would their ability to disarm with scent make them a rival, due to its ability to cause temporary blindness and irritation, but they are also armed with sharp front claws, not unlike badgers, which are used for digging, but could easily be used for defense as well.

Stoat.
Average Lifespan: 4-6 years.
Mustela erminea.
Minor Rival. Vermin.

The stoat, also known as the short-tailed weasel, is a small predator that is well adapted to hunting rats and hare. Their coats in winter are pure white, save for the black tip of their tails, whilst in spring and summer they're brown with cream stomachs and throats. Stoats are active by and at night and are easiest to spot in open habitats such as Hush Meadow, Fireweed Rise and Blackberry Fields. The often feed from the carcasses larger predators leave behind. Interactions between wolves and stout are typically of an aggressive nature, with wolves chasing scavenging stout away from their kill, often resulting in the scavenger being killed.

Wolverine.
Average Lifespan: 6-13 years.
Gulo gulo.
Rival.

With thick and dark oily fur and a stocky, muscular body, the wolverine resembles a small bear more than it does its true family - Mustelidae, weasels. Only about 1-1.6 ft. tall, and 20-55 lb., it has the strength and ferocity which is grossly out of proportion with its small size. It is an opportunistic animal that often scavenges at kill sites, but is capable of bringing down most prey, including moose and elk, though it prefers easier food, such as weak or trapped animals. While it is able to dominate wolves in food competition, most encounters result in the wolverine being violently chased off or mortally wounded.

(This post was last modified: Sep 15, 2016, 12:00 AM by Aideen.)
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#5
Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,526 posts.

The Fauna of Relic Lore: Miscellaneous Creatures.

Has your wolf found a curious nest on the ground? Smelled something odd in the air? Or perhaps heard something peculiar nearby? Don't be alarmed! They just might have found themselves in the company or some of the lesser known inhabitants of Relic Lore!

                                             
Bar-tailed Godwit.
Average Lifespan: 20-30 years.
Limosa lapponica.
Prey.

The bar-tailed godwit is a relatively short-legged species of godwit. The bill-to-tail length is 37–41 cm (15–16 in), with a wingspan of 70–80 cm (28–31 in). Males average smaller than females but with much overlap; males weigh 190–400 g (6.7–14.1 oz), while females weigh 260–630 g (9.2–22.2 oz). The adult has blue-grey legs and a slightly upturned bi-colored bill, pink at the base and black towards the tip. The neck, breast and belly are unbroken brick red in breeding plumage, off white in winter. The back is mottled grey.

Migrating from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, the birds travel north to birth their young each year. The nest is a shallow cup in moss sometimes lined with vegetation. Both sexes share incubation of the eggs and care for the young.

Black-Billed Magpie.
Average Lifespan: 2-3 years.
Pica hudsonia.
Year-round.

Known for their domed nests, Magpies are not hard to find in the forests and fields of Relic Lore. It is not their nests that make them easy to find, but their call which is a high-pitched, nasal, and inquisitive "mag mag mag" or "yak yak yak". Black-billed magpies are opportunistic omnivores, eating everything from insects and seeds to garbage and carrion. They are usually easy to spot, if not by their call, then by their plumage which is iridescent and black, with white markings evident on their primary feathers. Aggressive and bold in nature, it would not be unlike a magpie to raid a pack's cache.

Hunting: While known to hop along the ground, Magpies nest primarily in trees and can be very difficult to hunt. One is more likely to catch a black-billed magpie while it is in the act of raiding an easily accessible stash of leftover food, but even the most skilled Hunters might have a bit of trouble snagging one for a quick meal.

Burrowing owl.
Average Lifespan: 6-8 years.
Athene cunicularia.
Diurnal.

Burrowing owls are an endangered species in Canada, but they are still vulnerable to the wilderness of Relic Lore. They are tiny, long-legged birds which can be found in Fireweed Rise, Blackberry Fields, Verdant Mosses, Whisper Marsh, Hush Meadow, and possibly around the edges of the Iridescent Lagoon and south of Heartleaf Creek. They nest and roost in burrows, which are sometimes the abandoned homes of underground-dwelling rodents like marmots and prairie dogs. In some locations, owls will frequently reuse a nest several years in a row. Adults have brown heads and wings with white spotting with a white, brown-spotted chest and abdomen; males and females are the same size but males appear lighter in color due to spending more time outside the burrow during daylight, and their feathers become "sun-bleached." Juvenile owls are similar in appearance, but they lack most of the white spotting above and brown barring below; their down may be buff-colored rather than white. Burrowing Owls of all ages have grayish legs longer than other owls. They are active during the day and nest in an underground burrow, in which 4-12 (but, usually 9) eggs are laid sometime after nesting season in late March or April. While it seems that burrowing owl eggs would make an ideal meal, wolves might stay away as the expectant parents line their nest with mammal dung to help attract insects as a food source and control the micro-climate inside the burrow.

Common Snapping Turtle.
Average Lifespan: 100 years.
Chelydra serpentina
Semiaquatic.

A relatively large turtle with sharply grooved edges on its carapace. Dark brown in color often covered in algea, this turtle is often impossible to see as it hides on the bottom of the marsh, pond, lake, or lagoon. Found in shallow ponds or streams, the Common snapping turtles sometimes basks—though rarely observed—by floating on the surface with only its carapaces exposed, though in the northern parts of their range, they also readily bask on fallen logs in early spring. They eat fish, frogs, toads, snakes, birds and even dead animals, basically anything they come across while stalking along the murky bottoms. With sharp claws to aid in digging or gripping, though unable to swipe or otherwise attack with its legs, its strong jaws is its only weapon and its neck is very flexible. It's capable of mutilating any predator that tries to attack it, but is more likely to slip away when approached and attempt to scare off threats by hissing before it bites.

Females travel extensive distances over land to find suitable areas to lay eggs. Between 25 and 80 eggs are laid in a nest of sandy soiled and covered for incubation for 9-18 weeks depending on temperature. In cooler climates, hatchlings overwinter in the nest. These turtles are remarkably cold tolerant, having been known to remain active under the ice through winter. When they do hibernate, it also happens in frozen-over ponds, where they can go without breathing for up to 6 months, by instead exchanging gasses in the water with special membranes in their mouth and throat.

Fishing Spider.
Average Lifespan: 2-3 years?
Dolomedes.
Nocturnal. Hydrophobic.

Also known as fishing spiders, these are quite possibly the largest spiders found in Canada. They are considered to be semi-aquatic; (they hunt by waiting at the edge of a pool or stream, then when they detect the ripples from prey, they run across the surface to subdue it using their foremost legs, which are tipped with small claws). Most species typically have a striking pale stripe down each side of the body; and are considered to be large in size. Some females measure up to 26 mm (1.0 in) long with a leg span of 80 mm (3.1 in).

Rather than hunting on land or by waiting in a web, these spiders hunt on the water surface itself, preying on mayflies, other aquatic insects, and even small fish. For fishing spiders, the water surface serves the same function as a web does for other spiders. They extend their legs onto the surface, feeling for vibrations given off by prey. Dolomedes are nocturnal hunters, feeding when birds, their main predators, are sleeping. The method they use to fish for insects is to hold on to the shore with their back legs while the rest of their body lies on the water, with legs stretched out. Some fishing spiders use silk draglines to prevent themselves from speeding past the prey. They can also be found in deciduous forests and can be frequently found far from water. They prefer tree trunks, logs, and and other vertical surfaces, mostly at night; and, dash into tree holes, under bark, and into crevices when startled. They are typically found wherever there are dead trees, riverbanks, and small ponds.

Garter Snake.
Average Lifespan: 2 years.
Thamnophis sirtalis.
Summer-Autumn.

Common garter snakes are common for a reason. It is not too hard to spot a snake whether or not a wolf happens to be looking for it. In the warmer months, it is active in the morning and in late afternoon. In colder months, the snake may only be seen in the late afternoon. It has been known to inhabit a large part, if not most, of Relic Lore - forests, fields, prairies, streams, wetlands, meadows, marshes, and ponds are all ideal places to find them - and it is often found near water (Secluded Springs, Lost Lake, Iridescent Lagoon, Whisper Marsh, Firefly Weir, Heiress Loch, and all along the Swift River). It is found at altitudes from sea level to mountain locations. Their bite, while not fatal to larger mammals, such as wolves, may cause itching, burning, and/or swelling. They can also secrete a foul-smelling liquid when harmed or handled. Snakes that have just eaten are more likely to strike a predator or stimuli than snakes that do not have a full stomach. Snakes are more likely to flee a threatening situation if their stomachs are empty. The females may give birth ovoviviparously to 12 to 40 young from July through October.

Gopher Snake.
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years.
Pituophis catenifer.
Diurnal.

Large and heavy-bodied, the gopher snake is reported to reach 9 feet (275 cm) in length, but 4 feet (120 cm) is more common. On its back are 33 to 66 light- to dark-brown or reddish blotches on a ground color of yellow, straw, tan or cream. Smaller blotches are located on the animal’s sides. A dark stripe runs from in front of the eye to the angle of the jaw. The underside is creamy or yellow, often with dark spots. The scales on the back are strongly keeled, becoming smoother on the sides. A habitat generalist, the gopher snake is found in deserts, prairies, woodlands, brushlands, coniferous forests, and even cultivated lands. These places can be rocky, sandy, sparsely or heavily vegetated.

When disturbed, the gopher snake will rise to a striking position, flatten its head into a triangular shape, hiss loudly and shake its tail at the intruder. These defensive behaviors, along with its body markings, frequently cause the gopher snake to be mistaken for a rattlesnake. The tapered tail, the absence of a rattle, the lack of a facial pit, and the round pupils all distinguish the gopher snake from the rattlesnake. The gopher snake is active mainly during the day, except in extreme heat when it ventures out at night. It is a good climber. A constrictor, it consumes mostly mammals, although birds and their eggs are also eaten. During the summer 2 to 24 eggs are laid which hatch in the fall. Male gopher snakes engage in ritualistic combats during the spring mating season. The combatants remain on the ground, entwined from tail to neck. Each tries to maintain its head and body position, although occasionally they will exert so much force that they roll. Hissing frequently, they rarely bite one another. Presumably the combat ritual is a means of determining the sexual fitness of a male, for usually only the victor will copulate afterward.

Great Blue Heron.
Average Lifespan: 15 years.
Ardea herodias.
Diurnal. Migratory.

This large wading bird feeds primarily on small fish it snatches with its long, pointed bill. Insects, rodents, crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles are the heron's other usual food. In British Columbia the blue heron averages 5 pounds in weight and an impressive 45-54 inches in height. They are formidable prey; capable of mortally wounding eagles and other attackers with their bill. Herons are usually found close to any bodies of water that contain fish. When hunting they wade in the shallows and spot prey with a pair of very keen eyes. The unfortunate creature is usually swallowed whole. During breeding season they migrate and group into colonies of hundreds of individuals. In British Columbia they gather on the Pacific coastline. The rest of the year is spent on foraging grounds in other areas. The Great Blue Heron's call is hoarse and much like a croak. They will vocalize if disturbed or during territorial disputes. They typically hunt alone.

Northern Water Snake.
Average Lifespan: 9 years.
Nerodia sipedon
Semiaquatic.

A banded or solid black, hefty snake, the northern water snake is a very irritable, nasty snake that would sooner bite if cornered than run/slide away. Females can grow up to 4.5 feet (135 cm) in length, while the much smaller males average at 4.8 feet (81.4 cm). They are non-venomous but easily confused with venomous snakes like the cottonmouth and copperhead; And they do have a bacteria in their mouth that causes rashes or raised bumps on 90% of those bitten. They hunt during the day, among plants at the water's edge, catching and eating both fish, frogs, toads, worms, and other small water residing invertebrates. Extremely common over most of its range, it is frequently seen basking on stream banks, from which it dives into the water at the slightest disturbance.

The snakes breed between April and June, before leaving their hibernation sites, and the females are live-bearers, meaning they do not lay eggs like most snakes. Instead, they carry the young inside their bodies and give birth to baby snakes, each one 6 to 12 inches long (15-31 cm). A female may have as many as 30 young at a time. Babies are born between August and October, and the mothers do not care for their young after birth.

Porcupine.
Average Lifespan: 5-7 years.
Erethizon dorsatum.
Nocturnal. Arboreal.

Dark brown or black, with white highlights, and a clunky body, the porcupine is not only slow-moving, but nearsighted as well. Despite its average weight of less than 20 lb it has few natural predators and is formidable with its upper side covered in thousands of sharp, barbed hollow spines known as quills. They're usually flattened against the body, unless the porcupine is disturbed — if so, it may also swing its tail towards the perceived threat. The quills detach easily, and the barbs make them hard to dislodge. The porcupine is largely nocturnal and solitary, though on hot days it can be found resting in trees.

Prairie Rattlesnake.
Average Lifespan: 16-20 years.
Crotalus viridis nuntius.
Nocturnal. Venomous.

The only venomous snake that can be found in the Canadian prairies, it is best known for the distinctive "rattle" on the end of its tail. This rattle is used to warn others of its presence, telling them to "get away." And that would be the wisest idea, because the prairie rattlesnake has the longest fangs of any snake species, hidden within a diamond-shaped head. The snake ranges in color from green-grey to green-brown, with dark markings along the back and a paler underbelly. Each time the snake sheds its skin, a new section is added to the rattle. They are typically around three feet in length, and enjoy warm rocky areas full of prey. It is often found in dry areas with moderate vegetation coverage, rock outcrops, and sometimes within the burrows of other animals. The prairie rattlesnake is highly venomous and its bite is usually lethal. They are typically active diurnally in cooler weather and nocturnally during hot weather.

Raven.
Average Lifespan: 10-15 years.
Corvus corax.
Diurnal. Highly intelligent.

Also known as the Northern Raven or Wolfbird. Common Ravens usually travel in mated pairs, although young birds may form flocks. Common Ravens are omnivorous and highly opportunistic: their diet may vary widely with location, season and serendipity. Relationships between Common Ravens are often quarrelsome, yet they demonstrate considerable devotion to their families. Ravens are quite vigorous at defending their young and are usually successful at driving off perceived threats. They attack potential predators by flying at them and lunging with their large bills. Juveniles begin to court at a very early age, but may not bond for another two or three years. Aerial acrobatics, demonstrations of intelligence, and ability to provide food are key behaviors of courting. Once paired, they tend to nest together for life, usually in the same location.

Like other corvids, Ravens can mimic sounds from their environment, including human speech. Non-vocal sounds produced by the Common Raven include wing whistles and bill snapping. Clapping or clicking has been observed more often in females than in males. If a member of a pair is lost, its mate reproduces the calls of its lost partner to encourage its return. They are also very playful, especially as juveniles.

(This post was last modified: Sep 14, 2016, 11:24 PM by Aideen.)
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