Animal and Habitat Fact Sheets
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Oceans cover approximately 70% of the earth’s surface with an average depth of 2.4 miles, or 3,800 meters. The marine ecosystem, in addition to the temperate and tropical oceans, includes the shorelines, with mud flats, rocky and sandy shores, tidepools, barrier islands, estuaries, salt marshes, and mangrove forests making up the shoreline segment. Marine ecosystems support a great diversity of life and variety of habitats.
Mexican gray wolves once numbered in the thousands and roamed the wilds of the southwest. But today, after a century of persecution, only a few remain in the wild.
The Mexican spotted owl is one of three subspecies of spotted owl. Though it is the smallest of the spotted owls, it is one of the largest owls in North America.
The Mohave ground squirrel is one of the more elusive animals of the California desert.
The monarch butterfly may be the most widely recognized of all American butterflies with its distinct orange, black, and white wings. While beautiful, this coloring actually sends a warning to predators that the monarch is foul tasting and poisonous.
Despite its name, the mountain goat is actually a member of the antelope family. It has a long face, long black horns and a short tail.
The mountain lion is also known as the cougar, puma, panther, and catamount, and is the largest wildcat in North America.
The "unicorn of the ocean," the narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is one of the rarest whales in the world. Narwhals are very elusive and mysterious in nature, and is very distinct in appearance due to the large horn-like tusk on its face. The tusk is actually a tooth that grows from the upper jaw of male narwhals.
The North American River Otter is the only river otter found north of Mexico. Its luscious pelt, which was a staple of the French fur trade in the 1700-1800s, has drawn hunters for hundreds of years.
Right whales like the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) are among the rarest of all marine mammal species. These baleen whales have two separate populations – western and eastern.
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