Candid Critters' Blog

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We've seen lots of critters, but why should we care?

 

 

I think most of us can agree that it’s always exciting to see photos of cute little fawns in lush meadows, big black bears roaming the woods, and male turkey toms displaying their beautiful, multi-colored plumage. But why does Candid Critters, along with many other scientists, care so much about photos of wildlife? Are biologists just excited to see adorable animals like the rest of us, or is there a purpose to their interest?

It can be surprising how much you can learn about an animal or local species populations just from a photograph. Our camera traps provide scientists a…

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We Need Your Help!

 

 

We need to know what animals are found in the “data deserts” of North Carolina. Our volunteers have done a fantastic job running over a thousand wildlife cameras and capturing over 47,000 photos of wildlife, but we still need your help to run cameras in a few counties that have not yet seen much, if any, Candid Critters activity. The following counties have fewer than five wildlife cameras set up within their borders, so what wildlife is found there remains a bit of a mystery:

 

Perquimans

Washington

Lee

Richmond

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Critter Camera Sliver Award Project

 

We decided to do the Critter Camera project for our Silver Award for Girl Scouts. To get started on the Critter Camera project you will need to contact someone from Triangle Land Conservancy. After you do this, you will have to complete an online training including information about the camera details, eMammal, and how to complete the Critter Camera Project. The camera used for this project is motion sensored, so it takes pictures when it detects movement. Once you have completed the training, you will need to talk to Triangle Land Conservancy about how to get a camera, and figure out a…

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Black Panthers: Cats of Mistaken Identity

 
cougar

One of the biggest misconceptions about North Carolina wildlife is the existence of cougars, or black panthers, in our state. The cougar is a big cat known by many names including panther, mountain lion, puma and up to 80 more, but these are all the same species, Puma concolor

Cougar caught on an eMammal camera trap as part of the Museums Connect Mexico project.

Although cougars are sometimes called panthers, "black panther" is not a name that can be attributed to this species. This is a blanket term for any large cat with a black coat due to a…

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Armored Advance

 

There are twenty armadillo species in the world and all live exclusively in Latin America, except one. The nine-banded armadillo has been slowly but steadily making its way north from Central and South America.  In fact, it has recently made it all the way to North Carolina!  It was first sighted in the state in 2008 and since then its expansion has continued, covering twelve counties in the western and southern portions of the state. In 2013, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission sought help from the public in documenting observations of the species statewide.

So what…

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Stuck in a Rut: White-tailed Deer Rut

 

The phrase stuck in a rut describes a “blah” feeling we endure when our life is monotonous, unchanging and lacking in excitement. Summer is over, the days are getting shorter,  and you may be feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. Did you know that deer all across our state have fallen in a rut too? Their experience is very different, defined by fights and excitement, rather than boredom.

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) typically begins its mating season, otherwise known as rut, in October. Rut can begin as early as September and depends on daylight, a doe’s…

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Confusing Canids: Differentiating Red Foxes, Grey Foxes, and Coyotes

 

A recent study from eMammal found that citizen science volunteers are really good at identifying North American mammals from camera trap photos, with over 90% of the identifications correct. However, there are three species where people routinely get stumped, the canids, or members of the dog family. These include the red fox, grey fox, and coyote. It’s easy to see where people get confused as these species can look very similar at a glance. But, if you know where to look, there are some subtle but definitive…

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Start Camera Trapping with North Carolina’s Candid Critters!

 

Do you ever wonder what animals lurk in the most wild parts of the state? Or in your own backyard? Still waiting for photographic proof of a North Carolina mountain lion? Big foot?  North Carolina’s Candid Critters is your chance to discover the secrets of wildlife right here in North Carolina! 

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC Wildlife Resources Commission and NC State University are bringing you a new citizen science project that will span the entire state of North Carolina from the mountains to the sea. No matter what county you live in,…

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