Friday, April 27, 2012

A Tree is Home to Many Animals

Olea europaea subsp europaeaOliveTree
Photo credit: RNBC (via Wikimedia Commons)
We all know that trees are great. They produce oxygen and provide shelter from the sun. They store water, help control erosion and keep soil healthy. They give us flowers, fruit, wood, paper and sap. They also give many animals a place to live.

Birds are probably the first animals that come to mind when we think of tree-dwelling animals (not all birds live in trees, of course, but many do). However, they are far from alone. A tree in your backyard might be a full-time or part-time home to squirrels, opossums, bats, tree frogs, tree snakes, caterpillars, ants, spiders, praying mantises, snails and beetles in addition to birds.

If you head out to other parts of the world and look to the trees, you'll find more thousands of arboreal creatures. As well as the additional species of birds, squirrels, and so on, you might also come across geckos, lizards, lemurs, spider monkeys, orangutans, chimpanzees, tree kangaroos, koalas, tarsiers and sloths. We can't forget cats such as margays, leopards, jaguars and oncillas

Because so many animals live in trees, if you plan to get your tree taken down for any reason, please check for baby animals first if at all possible. (I volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center, and "we found baby squirrels/ baby birds when the tree was cut down" is one of the most common phone calls we get in the spring and early summer). If the tree isn't causing damage to your home and you can wait until fall to take it down, please do so.  

Happy Arbor Day!

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