CAN YOU GUESS WHAT ANIMAL IS IN EACH OF THESE PHOTOS?
Big Brown Bat
The big brown bat is one of the largest bats in Iowa. If they can survive their first year, they may live as long as 20 years. They can fly up to 40mph! They are a great friend to farmers, eating rootworm beetles and other insects harmful to crops.
The Cedar Waxwing gets it's name from the small red wax-like tips on its wing feathers. They do eat eat the seeds from cedar cones, but they also love insects and berries, including the often poisonous berries of honeysuckle bushes.
The bulging sore isn't full of pus; it's a botfly larva. Botflies lay their eggs on an animal's skin. The animal's body heat causes the eggs to hatch, then the larva burrows into the safety of the animal's skin. When the larva are full grown they drop off and turn into a pupa in the soil. Then the mature botfly hatches out and repeats the cycle.
The snake skin like patterned eyes are a characteristic of deer flies. Female deer flies live on blood and have sharp mouth parts to cut skin. The males, however, live on pollen. Deer flies like Iowa's wetlands and ponds as their favorite habitat. Dragonflies love deer flies for dinner!
In winter, goldfinches are mostly olive brown. In summer, the male turns a bright sunny yellow, but the female wears olive plumage year round. Goldfinches are seed eaters and frequent visitors to backyard gardens.
Despite it's bad reputation, foxes are more likely to live on rodents and rabbits than chickens. They have adapted to many suburban environments where they add human garbage to their diet. Foxes are shy and most likely seen at dawn or dusk.
Short Tailed Shrew
You might mistake this little creature for a mouse that had an accident with it's tail, but this carnivore isn't related to rodents at all. It's also one of the only venomous mammals. They live in leaf litter and under dense plantlife where they can hunt for juicy worms and grubs.
There are several types of squirrels in Iowa. This is the fox squirrel, with its greyish brown back and red belly. This young one is still waiting for its tail to grow fluffy. Squirrels use their tails to protect them from cold, snow, and rain; to shade and cool them from the heat; to balance when they climb and leap from branch to branch; and like a flag to communicate.