The cottontail rabbit is a long-eared, small to medium sized mammal of the
family Leporidae. It hops when running, because its hind legs are longer than
its front legs. The fur is brownish above and white below. It has a conspicuous
two-inch-diameter white tail, and some individuals have a small white blaze on
the forehead. Cottontails are 15-18 inches long and weigh two to three pounds,
with females slightly heavier than males.
They are smaller than the white-tailed deer or about the size of a goat. The
mature buck weighs from 100 to 130 pounds, and the female from 75 to 100 pounds.
The male develops large pronged horns which average about 12 inches and are shed
each year. They stand about 3 ft. at the shoulders. The coat is light brown with
two white throat stripes, a white rump, and white under parts. Both sexes have
horns. The male develops large pronged horns which average about 12 inches and
are shed each year.
The scaled quail "Callipepla Squamata" are a small stocky quail 10-12
inches in length that looks gray-brown with a white crest. Bluish gray feathers
with black edges create a scaled affect. They are sometimes referred to as a
blue racer quail, cottontail quail or scaled partridge. The sexes are similar in
appearance. They are bluish gray with extensive markings on the back, breast and
abdomen with blackish "scaly" markings. The crest varies in color from buff in
females to more whitish in males. Jeveniles have poorly colored patterns and
resemble California quail.
The Prairie Rattlesnake is one of the largest subspecies of Crotalus
viridis. These snakes are often found in dense populations. Their size
ranges from 35-45 inches at the largest. The snake is usually greenish gray,
olive-green, or greenish brown in color, but sometimes-light brown or yellowish.
The 33-35 dark brown blotches are narrowly bordered with white. The number of
rattles varies between males and females. The number in males is 6-15 (avg. 9.8)
and females have 4-11 (avg.7.4). The two or three most recent rattles that were
formed are black.
Mature Bald Eagle
The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), or national bird, is the
only eagle unique to North America. The scientific name signifies a sea (halo)
eagle (aeetos) with a white (leukos) head. At one time, the word "bald" meant
"white," not hairless. The bald eagle is found over most of North America, from
Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico. It can also be observed here in Pueblo
West and at the Pueblo Reservoir, located just south of Pueblo West. It can have
a wing span of up to eight feet and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Young (immature)
Bald Eagles are dark brown in color when they fledge the nest at about 12 weeks
of age, and the head and tail feathers turn predominantly white in their fourth
or fifth year.
The Golden Eagle (Aquila Chrysaetos) is a large brown and golden
colored booted eagle. An immature Bald eagle may be mistaken for the Golden
Eagle, but the true Golden eagle has the golden colored boots. This bird of prey
can weigh up to 15 pounds and can have a wing span of up to eight feet.
The Red-tail (Buteo jamaicensis) is the largest hawk, usually
weighing between 2 and 4 pounds. As with most raptors, the female is nearly 1/3
larger than the male and may have a wing span of 56 inches. The adult has a
rufous-colored tail that may or may not have a black terminal bar. Adults are
dark brown on the back and the top of their wings. The underside of the bird is
usually light with a dark belly band, and a cinnamon wash on the neck and chest.
Immatures resemble the adults except their tail is brown with dark bars. The
adult Red-tailed Hawk is easily identified, for when it leaves its perch on
slow, measured wing beats, or turns while soaring overhead, the broad, rounded
tail shows a rich, russet red, hence the name. Its frequent soaring and loud
voice are a good pointer.
"Athene cunicularia," is a small ground-dwelling Owl with a round
head and no ear tufts. They have white eyebrows, yellow eyes and long legs. The
Owl is sandy colored on the head, back, and upper parts of the wings and
white-to-cream with barring on the breast and belly and a prominent white chin
stripe. They range in length from 8 ˝ to 11 inches with a wingspan of 20 to 24
inches. Burrowing Owls fly with irregular, jerky wing beats and frequently make
long glides interspersed with rapid wing beats. They hover during hunting and
courtship. These owls are comparatively easy to see because they are often
active in daylight, and are surprisingly bold and approachable.
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
The prairie dog is a stout, burrowing ground squirrel that gets its name
from its high-pitched-dog-like bark. This is a large prairie dog. They may grow
to be between 14 to 16 inches in length and weigh between 32 to 48 ounces. They
are pinkish brown above; whitish or buffy white below with a slim, sparsely
haired tail with black tip unique among prairie dogs. They have short, rounded
ears; large black eyes. They mate from February-March with 1 litter per year of
usually 4 or 5 young born after gestation of about 30 days.
Coloration of red foxes ranges from pale yellowish red to deep reddish brown
on the upper parts and white or ashy on the underside. The lower part of the
legs is usually black, and the tail usually has a white or black tip. The
average weight is 8 to 10 pounds. The eyes of mature animals are yellow. The
nose is dark brown or black.
Kit foxes (Vulpes macrotis) belong to the family Canidae, which also
includes wolves, coyotes, red foxes and Gray foxes. It is the smallest member of
the canid family in North America. Mature adults measure 15 to 20 inches in
length with a 9 to 12 inch long tail. They stand 11 to 12 inches high at the
shoulder, and adults weigh from 3 to 4 pounds. The color of the kit fox is pale
gray, tan or sandy with a slightly darker back. It has a cream colored throat,
belly and inner ears. A black or brown patch is always located up each side of
the muzzle, and the tail has a dark tip.
The Coyote (Canis latrans) is a member of the dog family. In size and
shape the Coyote is like a medium-sized Collie dog, but its tail is round and
bushy and is carried straight out below the level of its back. Coyotes found in
low deserts and valleys weigh about 20 pounds, and are light gray or tan with a
black tip on the tail.