Day 3: Mammals
Get to know your mammal guide today. Learn a few of the main groups of mammals and their distinguishing features, and look at the range maps to find out which species are in your area. Look at the tracks as well— online if your guide does not include them.
This is the first of several Open University mini-courses we’ll be covering in this course. Just read it like any other reading, and think a bit about the questions they pose.
Reading: “Studying Mammals – A Winning Design (OpenU)”
An audio program on one of the most iconic and loved (but also hated) mammals:
Audio: “Sharing Our Lives with Wolves (BBC Shared Planet)” (27:45)
Remember that marine mammals are mammals too! Here is a video on the world’s largest animal ever to have existed:
Video: “Blue Whale (BBC Planet Earth)” (3:29; low res)
Try to find some mammals. This would be a good session to do at night, or at least at dusk. Some mammals are diurnal, but many are crepuscular (active at twilight) or nocturnal. Keep an eye out for their sign too— scratches, scat, tracks, dens, bones…
~Observe clouds, precipitation, stars, and the phases of the moon whenever possible~
Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.
-Edward Thomas (1878-1917)