Mammals of the Credit
There are 55 species of mammals in the Credit River Watershed. Landowners living in cities in the watershed are familiar with urban wildlife such as squirrels and raccoons. Rural areas and conservation lands throughout the watershed provide habitats that are rare or uncommon in cities. Below you will find profiles of a variety of mammals found throughout the watershed.
The beaver is common throughout the Credit River Watershed, especially in the northern portion. Beavers prefer forested habitats located next to water bodies. They construct dams across running water to create beaver ponds in which they can build their lodges. Generally beavers stay within a few hundred yards of their lodge when feeding and gathering building materials. They feed on leaves and bark.
This small rodent is common in the northern part of the watershed. It requires large forests to maintain their large home territories. Chipmunks have a wide variety of calls and are quite vocal in defending their territory. Chipmunks never live in close vicinity to each other. They make their homes in burrows in the ground, where they also cache food. Chipmunks will visit bird feeders, but they do spend at least part of the winter hibernating.
Little Brown Bat
This is one of the most common bat species in the Credit River watershed. Bats are unique, as they are the only mammals that can truly fly. These bats are active at night and feed on large quantities of insects. They locate their prey using a built-in biological sonar mechanism called ‘echolocation’. They can be seen on most summer evenings feeding on insects while flying, in any area with trees. The little brown bat has adapted to living and raising its young in areas that have been developed. This type of bat raises its young in maternity colonies in buildings. This species hibernates in caves and is very sensitive to human disturbance during this time.
Recently bat populations have been affected by a disease known as white nose syndrome (WNS). Bats with WNS awake frequently during hibernation, resulting in a loss in energy stores, forcing them to forage for food in the winter. They will usually die from either exposure to the cold or starvation. If you see bats flying during the daytime in winter, or if you see dead bats, please contact the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre at 1-866-673-4781, and contact CVC. For more information please visit www.ontario.ca/wildlifehealth or www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/business/fw/2columnsubpage/278166.html
This common watershed species is very unique because it is the only mammal in North America with spiny quills. Porcupines feed mostly on the leaves, twigs and bark of trees, and can cause damage to individual trees. They are slow moving and timid, but have very few predators. Humans pose the greatest threat to this species as cars kill many every year.
Southern Flying Squirrel
This is the smallest squirrel found in the Credit River Watershed, and is an interesting one as it appears to have the ability to fly. This squirrel and its northern relative have flaps of skin that run between its front and back legs that it can spread out to glide (but not fly) from tree to tree. Flying squirrels prefer mixed or deciduous forests. This species is completely nocturnal, and makes its home in tree cavities, therefore making it a hard species to find.
White-tailed deer require wooded areas for cover and fields to feed in. They can be found throughout the watershed, including parks in urban areas, spending their summers in fields and deciduous forests, and wintering in white cedar swamps and forests in areas known as deer yards. Deer follow the same migratory path to the same yards each year.