Mammal Project – Weasels & Rodents
Program led by Dr. Rick Van de Poll
Tuesday, February 15, 6-9pm and Saturday, February 19, 10-3pm
February’s Mammal Project will focus on Weasels & Rodents and features Dr. Rick Van de Poll, noted ecologist and principal of Ecosystem Management Consultants. The program is open to the public and you do not need to have attended previous sessions to participate. Through the Tuesday evening classroom session and Saturday field session we invite you to come explore the question:
What do Weasels and Rodents have in Common?
Perhaps most importantly, they are both Mammals! They have fur, are warm-blooded, have digitate toes that support (mostly) quadripedal activity, and give birth to live young whom they feed milk. Beyond that they are largely unrelated, with weasels belonging to the Order Carnivora for their meat-eating habits, and rodents belonging to the Order Rodentia for their largely vegetation eating habits, courtesy of their extra large upper and lower incisors. Dietary habit gives them another way of relating to each other – predator versus prey! Nearly all weasels rely on rodents for their dietary needs and nearly all rodents rely on weasels to keep their populations in check.
February’s sessions on weasels and rodents will cover the basics of anatomy, morphology & physiology, as well as the adaptive evolution of each group. We will review all 8 species of weasels and 22 species of rodents found in New England through a combination of track diagrams and color slides. The indoor session will prepare us for an all-day outdoor ‘search-and-find’ excursion for these illustrious members of our furbearer cousins.
February’s Weasels & Rodents portion of the Mammal Project is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb 1, 6-9pm and Saturday, Feb 19, 10am-3pm. Tuition for each session is $15/member and $20/non-member. For reservations or more information please call 447-6991.