Do you know a 3 – 8 year old who loves animals and would enjoy getting close-up views of the antics of a red fox kit during the first summer of his life? My second children’s book, Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer, has just been published by Sylvan Dell in both hardback and paperback. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to observe and photograph young red foxes as they interact with each other and with their parents. This book consists of a selection of these photographs, accompanied by text and an educational component at the end of the book. Look for Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer in your local bookstore. If they don’t carry it, you would be doing me a huge favor by asking them to. Thank you so much. My next children’s book is on Beavers and will be coming out in the spring of 2014. (I am still looking for a publisher for Naturally Curious Kids!)
Many snakes, including this Common Gartersnake, use smell to track their prey. In the roof of a snake’s mouth are two openings, called the vomeronasal organ, also known as Jacobson’s organ. Snakes smell by sticking their forked tongue in the air, keeping it constantly moving while they collect particles (mostly pheromones) on it from the ground, air and water. Next they pull their tongue back into their mouth and insert it into their Jacobson’s organ (one fork in each opening). Then the particles are analyzed and the snake determines whether prey or a predator is in the vicinity.
Being popular prey animals, white-tailed deer have evolved an extremely good sense of smell, sight and hearing. Their elongated noses are filled with an intricate system of nasal passages that contain millions of olfactory receptors – up to 297 million (dogs have 220 million, humans just 5)! As the tongue in this photograph infers, deer lick their nose to keep it moist, which helps odor particles stick to it, improving their sense of smell. Not only do deer use their sense of smell to avoid predators (including hunters), but they use it to communicate with each other, as is evident from the seven scent glands on their head, legs and hooves.