Snakes, Toads, Turtles
All three play an important role in insect control. Toads, needing fresh water and dense patches of vegetation to survive, hang out beneath porches, stones, logs and other cover. They hibernate in the winter and come out at night in other seasons to catch and eat insects. Garter snakes and turtles eat insects, and turtles will add plants to its meal choices.
These whitetail deer depend on the dense thickets and evergreens found throughout the wildlife corridor for cover. Although thickets are especially important during winter months to protect deer from cold and snow, they are needed during all seasons. The corridor provides habitat that keeps many deer off of our roadways, and enables them to traverse safely between crucial water and food supplies located throughout Northampton Township.
Cottontail Rabbits utilize the thickets and brush piles found along the wildlife corridor for habitat. They enjoy dining on clover, weeds and grasses in warm weather, and twigs and vines during colder months. Rabbits prefer foods sources close to thickets or brush piles for protection from predators. Their populations have dwindled, primarily due to loss of habitat. Rabbits are a major food source for other wildlife in Northampton Township, including foxes, hawks and owls.
This Red Fox (top) was photographed along the wildlife corridor searching for food on a cold winter day. Mice, rats, and insects are favorite foods of the red fox. Foxes play an important role in keeping rodent and insect populations under control in Northampton Township. Foxes use hollow logs located throughout the wildlife corridor as dens. They may also dig underground dens that contain several entrances. In 1966, Pennsylvania eliminated bounties on foxes after decades of exploitation. The state determined that money used to pay bounties on foxes should be used on habitat enhancement instead.
Raccoons help to distribute plant seeds. Known as the “masked bandit,” they can open latches and twist off lids. Although they may steal our tomatoes, they help us by eating pesky insects and by controlling the mouse and rat population. They also enjoy grubs and snakes, for which we are grateful. Wild seeds, berries and nuts complete their menu.
Enjoying the Northampton woodsy corridor, opossums spend much time alone, scavenging homes, eating grass, fruit, nuts, mice, insects, worms, and snakes. When threatened, they will “play possum,” lying on the ground with eyes closed or open and fixed into space. They love to climb our trees and spread seeds.
Enjoying trees and forested areas, squirrels like to remain in branches and travel across trees to avoid the ground predators. Maple, mulberry, elm, dogwood, oak, walnut and pine trees provide the transportation routes or the nuts squirrels need to last the winter. Plants, fungi and insects are also on the menu. Tree cavities and holes are used for nesting their young and for surviving the winter. Squirrels help distribute tree seeds and fungal spores when they eat truffles. Fungi help to decompose millions of tons of organic waste annually.