Resettlement of Burrowing Owls in Southern California

In Southern California, urban developers built over the burrows of the local Western Burrowing Owls, destroying their habitats.

The Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) is a small, long-legged bird in the Strigidae family of owls. It measures 19-28 centimetres (7-11 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 50-61 centimetres (20-24 inches). It is native to North America and South America. It prefers grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts and other open dry areas. 

Unlike most nocturnal (night) owls, the Burrowing Owl is diurnal, active during the day. 

It nests in burrows underground that a prairie dog or a squirrel has dug into the soil. It also nests in other shallow, underground structures.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance collaborated with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to relocate the Burrowing Owls that had lost their homes when humans began building in the area. 

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Common Earthworm

The Common Earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) is a terrestrial (land) invertebrate (without a backbone) in the Lumbricidae family of earthworms. It is also known as the Lob Worm.

The Common Earthworm is pinkish-greyish-purple. The body is cylindrical and a tube-in-a-tube, with a series of segments, called metamerisms. The last segment is the tail, and the first segment has the mouth and prostomium (flat paddle-shaped lobe). Each segment has bristle-like hairs called lateral setae. These hairs help it to move by gripping the surface of the soil. It has pores (holes) in its body that enables it to breathe. It exudes a fluid that keeps the body moist and stops it from drying out. 

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Nose-Horned Viper

The Nose-Horned Viper (Vipera ammodytes ammodytes) is a highly venomous reptile in the Viperidae family of viper snakes. It is a viperid. It is also known as the Horned Viper and Western Sand Viper. Scientists think it might be the most dangerous snake in Europe.

The Nose-Horned Viper has a head covered with small, irregular scales that can be smooth or slightly keeled (ridged). It has 10-13 small scales around its eyes. The nasal (nose) scale is large that looks like a horn with 9-17 smaller scales along it, but it is soft and flexible. 

The male has irregular dark-brown, dark-grey, or black markings and a thick black stripe from its eye to its jaw. The male has V-shaped markings on its back like a zig-zag pattern. The female lacks the dark V-shaped markings on its body, and is browner and more bronze-coloured than the male. Its underbelly can be grey, yellowish-brown, or pinkish. Both have a black tongue and golden or copper-coloured eyes.

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North American River Otter

The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) is a freshwater, semi-aquatic mammal in the Lutrinae sub-family of the Mustelidae family of weasels. It is a mustelid. It is also known as the Northern River Otter or the Common Otter.

The North American River Otter has a long, slender body, which is streamlined for swimming. Its fur is short, thick and water-repellent. It has short legs with webbed feet for swimming, but it can also walk on land. It varies in colour from light-brown to black, with a greyish chest, neck, and throat. It has a short nose, flat head, round ears, and a nose pad (like a dog). It has long whiskers, called vibrissae. It has a long, tapered tail.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Large Hairy Armadillo

The Large Hairy Armadillo (Chaetophractus villosus) is a mammal related to the Anteater and the Sloth. 

The Large Hairy Armadillo has a series of thin, grey bony plates along its head and back. This leathery shell is called a carapace. Its pinkish-white underbelly is covered in long, coarse hair. It has long, powerful claws on its front legs for digging. It has a long snout (nose), small beige ears, and small eyes. 

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Platypus

The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic monotreme (egg-laying) marsupial (pouched) mammal. It is also known as the Duck-Billed Platypus.

The Platypus has a duck-like beak, webbed feet with sharp claws like an otter, an elongated mole-like body, and a broad, flat, beaver-like tail. Its waterproof fur is brown with a whitish underbelly. The male has a venomous spur on it hind (back) feet. The female has a spur, but it is not venomous. It has small brown eyes and small nostrils. 

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Yellow Mongoose

The Yellow Mongoose (Cynictis penicillata) is a carnivorous mammal. It is also known as the Red Meerkat. 

The Yellow Mongoose has a long body with rough yellowish fur, and a bushy tail. It has lighter highlights on its underbelly and chin. It has a pointy nose and small ears. Its eyes are small and dark. It has long, strong claws that dig through soil. Its claws do not retract, and therefore they are always visible.

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Red-and-Yellow Barbet

The Red-and-Yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythroacephalus) is a bird.

The Red-and-Yellow Barbet has distinctive black, red, and yellow plumage, where the black feathers are spotted with white. It has a black forehead and crown, with a slight crest. The back of its neck is orange and red with black spots. The side of its neck is red and yellowish. Its back is mostly black with white spots. Its tail is a blackish-brown with up to eight cream spots forming bars. The under side of its tail is yellow with black bars. It has a yellow chin and throat, and there is a black patch at the centre of its throat, which is bordered by areas with more orange. Its chest is orange, and its belly is yellow. It has black wings with white spots, giving a spotted appearance.

Its beak is red. Its eyes are yellow-brown with a dark-grey or black eye-ring. Its legs and feet are blue-grey. The female is similar to the male, but duller, with less red and orange, and more yellow and white.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Common Degu

The Common Degu (Octodon degus) is a small rodent from Chile, related to the chinchilla and guinea pig. It is a mammal.

The Common Degu has brown fur with a creamy-yellow underbelly, and yellow around the eyes. It has a paler band around the neck. It has a long, thin tail with a tufted, black tip, dark sparsely furred ears, and pale grey toes. Its fifth toe is small with a nail, rather than a claw, on the fore feet. Its hind feet are bristled. Its cheek teeth are shaped like figures of eight – and that’s the meaning of Octodon.
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Unstriped Ground Squirrel

The Unstriped Ground Squirrel (Xerus rutilus) is a rodent mammal of the Sciuridae family.

It is from eastern Africa, in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Tanzania, Uganda, and Eritrea. It lives in hot dry shrublands. It is diurnal, so it is active during the day.

It is brown and furry with a white stomach and a bushy tail with black and white fur. There is a white line around their eyes. It has big white feet, with five toes. It has small triangular ears and a brown nose.

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Banded Mongoose

The Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo) is a small carnivorous mammal found in central and eastern Africa. Other species of mongoose are found in Asia and Europe.

The Banded Mongoose is brown with rough fur, with a pointy nose, small ears, and a long furry tail. It has slightly darker bands, or stripes, along its back.

It can grow to a length of 30-45 centimetres (12-17 inches) with a 15-30 centimetre (6-12 inch) long tail.

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