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|Below is some information about the residents of the North American realm at The Montgomery Zoo. Come visit us to find out more.
The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.
In the late 20th century the Bald Eagle was on the brink of extirpation in the continental United States, while flourishing in much of Alaska and Canada. Populations recovered and stabilized, so the species was removed from the U.S. federal government's list of endangered species and transferred to the list of threatened species on July 12, 1995, and it was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States on June 28, 2007.
Bald eagles are not actually bald, the name deriving from the older meaning of the word, "white headed".
The plumage of an adult Bald Eagle is evenly brown with a white head and tail. The tail is moderately long and slightly wedge-shaped. Males and females are identical in plumage coloration, but sexual dimorphism is evident in the species in that females are 25 percent larger than males. The beak, feet, and irises are bright yellow. The legs are feather-free, and the toes are short and powerful with large talons. The highly developed talon of the hind toe is used to pierce the vital areas of prey while it is held immobile by the front toes. The beak is large and hooked, with a yellow cere.
The plumage of the immature is brown, speckled with white until the fifth (rarely fourth, very rarely third) year, when it reaches sexual maturity. Immature Bald Eagles are distinguishable from the Golden Eagle in that the former has a more protruding head with a larger beak, straighter edged wings which are held flat (not slightly raised) and with a stiffer wing beat, and feathers which do not completely cover the legs. The Bald Eagle is a large bird, with a body length of 70–102 centimeters (28–40 in), a wingspan of between 1.68 m (66 in) and 2.44 m (96 in), and a mass of 2.5–7 kilograms (5.5–15 lb); females are about 25 percent larger than males, adult females averaging 5.8 kilograms (13 lb) and males averaging 4.1 kilograms (9.0 lb). The size of the bird varies by location; the smallest specimens are those from Florida, where an adult male may barely exceed 2.3 kilograms (5.1 lb) and a wingspan of 1.8 m (5.9 ft). The largest are Alaskan birds, where large females may exceed 7.5 kilograms (17 lb) and have a wingspan of over 2.4 m (7.9 ft).
Its diet consists mainly of fish, but it is an opportunistic feeder. It hunts fish by swooping down and snatching the fish out of the water with its talons. It is sexually mature at four years or five years of age. In the wild, Bald Eagles can live up to thirty years, and often survive longer in captivity. The Bald Eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird, up to 4 meters (13 ft) deep, 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) wide, and one metric ton (1.1 tons) in weight.
The call consists of weak chirping whistles, harsher and more shrill from young birds than adults.
The average lifespan of Bald Eagles in the wild is around 20 years, with the oldest living to be about 30. In captivity, they often live somewhat longer. In one instance, a captive individual in New York lived for nearly 50 years. As with size, the average lifespan of an eagle population appears to be influenced by its location.
The American Bald Eagle can be seen on display at the Montgomery Zoo’s North American realm near the River Otters.
The American bison (Bison bison) is a North American species of bison, also commonly known as the American buffalo. Some consider the term "buffalo" somewhat of a misnomer for this animal, as it is only distantly related to either of the two "true buffalo," the Asian water buffalo and the African buffalo. However, "bison" is a Greek word meaning ox-like animal, while "buffalo" originated with the French fur trappers who called these massive beasts boeufs, meaning ox or bullock – so both names, "bison" and "buffalo," have a similar meaning. In reference to this animal, the term "buffalo," which dates to 1635, has a much longer history than the term "bison," which was first recorded in 1774. The American bison is more closely related to the wisent or European bison.
These bison once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds; their range roughly formed a triangle between the Great Bear Lake in Canada's far northwest, south to the Mexican states of Durango and Nuevo León, and east along the western boundary of the Appalachian Mountains. Two subspecies or ecotypes have been described: the plains bison (Bison bison bison), smaller in size and with a more rounded hump, and the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) – the larger of the two and having a taller, square hump. Furthermore, it has been suggested that the plains bison consists of a northern (Bison bison montanae) and a southern subspecies, bringing the total to three. However, this is generally not supported. The wood bison is one of the largest species of bovid in the world, surpassed by only the Asian gaur and wild Asian water buffalo. It is the largest extant land animal in North America.
A bison has a shaggy, long, dark brown winter coat, and a lighter weight, lighter brown summer coat. As typical in ungulates, the male bison are slightly larger than the female. Bison bulls can reach up to 6 feet 6 inches (2 m) tall, 11 feet 6 inches (4 m) long, and weigh up to 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg). The biggest specimens on record have weighed as much as 2,500 pounds (1,130 kg). The heads and forequarters are massive, and both sexes have short, curved horns that can grow up to 2 feet (61 cm) long, which they use in fighting for status within the herd and for defense.
Bison are herbivores, grazing on the grasses and sedges of the North American prairies. Their daily schedule involves 2 hour periods of grazing, resting and cud chewing, then moving to a new location to graze again. Bison mate in August and September; gestation is 285 days. A single reddish-brown calf nurses until the next calf is born. If the cow is not pregnant, a calf will nurse for 18 months. Bison cows are mature enough to produce a calf at 3 years of age. Bison bulls may try to mate with cows at 3 years of age, but if more mature bulls are present, they may not be able to compete until they reach 5 years of age. Bison have a life expectancy of approximately 15 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity.
For the first two months of life, calves are lighter in color than mature bison. One very rare condition is the white buffalo, in which the calf turns entirely white. White bison are considered sacred by many Native Americans.
The American Bison can be seen at the Montgomery Zoo in the North American realm.
The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is North America's smallest and most common species of bear. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on the season. Black bears typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in search of food. Sometimes they become attracted to human communities because of the immediate availability of food. The American black bear is listed by the IUCN as Least Concern, due to the species' widespread distribution and a large global population estimated to be twice that of all other bear species combined.
The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending on the region, is a mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in every major American habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the American continents after the jaguar. Although large, the cougar is most closely related to smaller felines.
A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources include ungulates such as deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic cattle, horses and sheep, particularly in the northern part of its range. It will also hunt species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but it can also live in open areas. The cougar is territorial and persists at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. While it is a large predator, it is not always the dominant species in its range, as when it competes for prey with other predators such as the jaguar, grey wolf, American Black Bear, and the grizzly bear. It is a reclusive cat and usually avoids people. Attacks on humans remain rare, despite a recent increase in frequency.
Due to excessive hunting following the European colonization of the Americas and the continuing human development of cougar habitat, populations have dropped in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America, except for an isolated sub-population in Florida; there are many sightings that claim the animal is recolonizing parts of its former eastern territory, such as Maine, the Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan, and southern Indiana.
Cougars are slender and agile cats. Adults stand about 60 to 76 centimeters (2.0 to 2.5 ft) tall at the shoulders. The length of adult males is around 2.4 meters (8 ft) long nose to tail, with overall ranges between 1.5 and 2.75 m (5 and 9 ft) nose to tail suggested for the species in general. Males typically weigh 53 to 100 kilograms (115 to 220 pounds), averaging 62 kg (137 lb). Females typically weigh between 29 and 64 kg (64 and 141 lb), averaging 42 kg (93 lb). Cougar size is smallest close to the equator, and larger towards the poles.
The head of the cat is round and the ears erect. Its powerful forequarters, neck, and jaw serve to grasp and hold large prey. It has five retractable claws on its forepaws (one a dewclaw) and four on its hind paws. The larger front feet and claws are adaptations to clutching prey.
Cougars can be almost as large as jaguars, but are less muscular and not as powerful; where their ranges overlap, the cougar tends to be smaller than average. The cougar is on average as heavy as the leopard. Despite its size, it is not typically classified among the "big cats", as it cannot roar, lacking the specialized larynx and hyoid apparatus of Panthera. Like domestic cats, cougars vocalize low-pitched hisses, growls, and purrs, as well as chirps and whistles. They are well known for their screams, as referenced in some of their common names, although these screams are often misinterpreted to be the calls of other animals.
Cougar coloring is plain (hence the Latin concolor) but can vary greatly between individuals and even between siblings. The coat is typically tawny, but ranges to silvery-grey or reddish, with lighter patches on the under body including the jaws, chin, and throat. Infants are spotted and born with blue eyes and rings on their tails; juveniles are pale, and dark spots remain on their flanks. Despite anecdotes to the contrary, all-black coloring (melanism) has never been documented in cougars. The term "black panther" is used colloquially to refer to melanistic individuals of other species, particularly jaguars and leopards.
Cougars have large paws and proportionally the largest hind legs in the cat family. This physique allows it great leaping and short-sprint ability. An exceptional vertical leap of 5.4 m (18 ft) is reported for the cougar. Horizontal jumping capability from standing position is suggested anywhere from 6 to 12 m (20 to 40 ft). The cougar can run as fast as 55 to 72 km/h (35 mi/h), but is best adapted for short, powerful sprints rather than long chases. It is adept at climbing, which allows it to evade canine competitors. Although it is not strongly associated with water, it can swim.
A successful generalist predator, the cougar will eat any animal it can catch, from insects to large ungulates (over 500 kg). Like all cats, it is an obligate carnivore, feeding only on meat. Its most important prey species are various deer species, particularly in North America; mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and even large moose are taken by the cat. Other species such as Bighorn Sheep, wild horses of Arizona, domestic horses, and domestic livestock such as cattle and sheep are also primary food bases in many areas. A survey of North America research found 68% of prey items were ungulates, especially deer. Only the Florida Panther showed variation, often preferring feral hogs and armadillos.
Investigation in Yellowstone National Park showed that elk, followed by mule deer, were the cougar's primary targets; the prey base is shared with the park's gray wolves, with whom the cougar competes for resources. Another study on winter kills (November–April) in Alberta showed that ungulates accounted for greater than 99% of the cougar diet. Learned, individual prey recognition was observed, as some cougars rarely killed bighorn sheep, while others relied heavily on the species.
In the Central and South American cougar range, the ratio of deer in the diet declines. Small to mid-size mammals are preferred, including large rodents such as the capybara. Ungulates accounted for only 35% of prey items in one survey, approximately half that of North America. Competition with the larger jaguar has been suggested for the decline in the size of prey items. Other listed prey species of the cougar include mice, porcupine, and hares. Birds and small reptiles are sometimes preyed upon in the south, but this is rarely recorded in North America. Not all of their prey is listed here due to their large range.
Though capable of sprinting, the cougar is typically an ambush predator. It stalks through brush and trees, across ledges, or other covered spots, before delivering a powerful leap onto the back of its prey and a suffocating neck bite. The cougar is capable of breaking the neck of some of its smaller prey with a strong bite and momentum bearing the animal to the ground.
Kills are generally estimated at around one large ungulate every two weeks. The period shrinks for females raising young, and may be as short as one kill every three days when cubs are nearly mature at around 15 months. The cat drags a kill to a preferred spot, covers it with brush, and returns to feed over a period of days. It is generally reported that the cougar is a non-scavenger and will rarely consume prey it has not killed; but deer carcasses left exposed for study were scavenged by cougars in California, suggesting more opportunistic behavior.
Cougars may be viewed at the North American realm at the Montgomery Zoo and at the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum.
The Elk, or Wapiti (Cervus canadensis), is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia. In the deer family (Cervidae), only the larger moose, (Alces alces) (which is called an "elk" in Europe), and Sambar (Rusa unicolor) can rival the elk in size. Elk are similar to Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) found in Europe, of which they were long believed to be a subspecies; however, evidence from a 2004 study of the mitochondrial DNA strongly indicates they are a distinct species.
The North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis), also known as the Northern River Otter or the Common Otter, is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent, found in and along its waterways and coasts. An adult river otter can weigh between 5 and 14 kg (11 and 30 lb). The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur.
The river otter, a member of the weasel family, is equally versatile in the water and on land. The otter establishes a burrow close to the water's edge in river, lake, swamp, coastal shoreline, tidal flat, or estuary ecosystems. Their dens have many tunnel openings—one of which generally allows the otter to enter and exit the body of water. Female otters give birth in these underground burrows, producing litters of one to six young.
North American river otters, like most predators, prey upon the species that are the most readily accessible. Fish is a favored food among the otters, but they also consume various amphibians, turtles, and crayfish. There have been instances of river otters eating small mammals as well.
The range of the North American river otter has been significantly reduced by habitat loss, beginning with the European colonization of North America. However, in some regions their population is controlled to allow the trapping and harvesting of otters for their pelts. River otters are very susceptible to environmental pollution, which is a likely factor in the continued decline of their numbers. A number of reintroduction projects have been initiated to help stabilize the reduction in the overall river otter population.
The North American river otter is a stocky animal of 5 to 14 kg (11–30 lb) with short legs, a muscular neck no smaller than the head, and an elongated body that is broadest at the hips. Its body length ranges from 0.66 m (26 in) to 1.07 m (42 in). About one-third of the animal's length consists of a long, tapered tail. Tail length ranges from 30 to 50 cm (11.75 to 19.75 in). It differs from the European otter by its longer neck, narrower visage, the smaller space between the ears and its shorter tail.
A broad muzzle is found on the river otter's flat head, and the ears are round and inconspicuous. The rhinarium is bare with an obtuse triangular projection. Eyes of the animal are small and placed anteriorly. A short, broad rostrum for exhaling and a long, broad cranium define the relatively flat skull. The river otter's nostrils and ears close during submersion, inhibiting water from entering these regions. Its vibrissae, or whiskers, are long and thick, enhancing sensory perception underwater and on land.
The fur of the species is short (guard hairs average 23.8 mm) and very dense, with a density of approximately 57,833 hairs/cm2 in the midback section. The pelage has a high luster and varies from light brown to black. The throat, chin, and lips are grayer than the rest of the body. Fur of senescent river otters may become white-tipped, and rare albinos may occur.
Sexual dimorphism exists among the river otters. Males are, on average, 5% larger than females. In Idaho, juvenile, yearling, and adult males averaged 8, 11, and 17% heavier, respectively, than females of the same age. A clinical reduction in size may exist from north to south along the Pacific coast, but not from east to west.
North American river otters usually live to 21 years of age in captivity, but they can reach 25 years of age. However, they normally live about 8 to 9 years in the wild, but are capable of living up to 13 years of age.
The North American River Otter may be seen on display at the North American realm at the Montgomery Zoo. It can also be seen at the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum.
The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States (all but five of the states), Canada, Mexico, Central America, and in South America as far south as Peru. It has also been introduced to New Zealand and some countries in Europe, such as Finland and the Czech Republic.
The species is most common east of the Rocky Mountains, and is absent from much of the western United States, including Nevada, Utah, California, Hawaii, and Alaska (though its close relatives, the mule deer and black-tailed deer Odocoileus hemionus, can be found there). It does, however, survive in aspen parklands and deciduous river bottomlands within the central and northern Great Plains, and in mixed deciduous riparian corridors, river valley bottomlands, and lower foothills of the northern Rocky Mountain regions from South Dakota and Wyoming to southeastern British Columbia, including the Montana Valley and Foothill grasslands.
The conversion of land adjacent to the northern Rockies into agriculture use and partial clear-cutting of coniferous trees (resulting in widespread deciduous vegetation) has been favorable to the white-tailed deer and has pushed its distribution to as far north as Prince George, British Columbia. Populations of deer around the Great Lakes have also expanded their range northwards, due to conversion of land to agricultural uses favoring more deciduous vegetation, and local caribou and moose populations. The westernmost population of the species, known as the Columbian white-tailed deer, once was widespread in the mixed forests along the Willamette and Cowlitz River valleys of western Oregon and southwestern Washington, but today its numbers have been considerably reduced, and it is classified as near-threatened. The white-tailed deer is well-suited for its environment. Fossil records indicate that its basic structure has not changed in four million years.
The deer's coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape. There is a population of white-tailed deer in the state of New York that is entirely white (except for areas like their noses and toes)—not albino—in color. The former Seneca Army Depot in Romulus, New York, has the largest known concentration of white deer. Strong conservation efforts have allowed white deer to thrive within the confines of the depot.
The North American male deer (also known as a buck) usually weighs from 130 to 300 pounds (60 to 130 kg) but, in rare cases, bucks in excess of 375 pounds (159 kg) have been recorded. In 1926, Carl J. Lenander, Jr. took a Whitetailed buck near Tofte, MN that was estimated at 511 pounds live weight. The female (doe) usually weighs from 90 to 200 pounds (40 to 90 kg). Length ranges from 62 to 87 inches (160 to 220 cm), including the tail, and the shoulder height is 32 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm). White-tailed deer from the tropics tend to be smaller than in temperate populations, averaging 77–110 pounds (35–50 kg).
Males re-grow their antlers every year. About 1 in 10,000 females also have antlers, although this is usually associated with hermaphroditism. Bucks without branching antlers are often termed "spiked bucks". The spikes can be quite long or very short. Research in Texas has shown that the length and branching of antlers is genetic and can be influenced by diet. Healthy deer in some areas that are well fed can have eight-point branching antlers as yearlings (one and a half years old). The number of points, the length or thickness of the antlers are a general indication of age but cannot be relied upon for positive aging. A better indication of age is the length of the snout and the color of the coat, with older deer tending to have longer snouts and grayer coats. Some say that deer that have spiked antlers should be culled from the population to produce larger branching antler genetics (antler size does not indicate overall health), and some bucks' antlers never will be wall trophies. Where antler growth nutritional needs are met (good mineral sources, i.e., calcium) and good genetics combine it can produce wall trophies in some of their range. Spiked bucks are different from "button bucks" or "nubbin' bucks", that are male fawns and are generally about six to nine months of age during their first winter. They have skin covered nobs on their heads. They can have bony protrusions up to a half inch in length, but that is very rare, and they are not the same as spikes.
Antlers begin to grow in late spring, covered with a highly vascularised tissue known as velvet. Bucks either have a typical or non-typical antler arrangement. Typical antlers are symmetrical and the points grow straight up off the main beam. Non-typical antlers are asymmetrical and the points may project at any angle from the main beam. Bucks shed their antlers when all females have been bred, from late December to February.
The white-tailed deer can be seen in the North American realm at the Montgomery Zoo and at the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum.
The Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is native to North America and is the heaviest member of the Galliformes. It is the same species as the domestic turkey, which was domesticated from the South Mexican subspecies of the wild turkey.
Adult wild turkeys have long reddish-yellow to greyish-green legs and a black body. Males have a large, featherless, reddish head, red throat, and red wattles on the throat and neck. The head has fleshy growths called caruncles. When males are excited, a fleshy flap on the bill expands, and this, the wattles and the bare skin of the head and neck all become engorged with blood, almost concealing the eyes and bill. The long fleshy object over a males beak is called a snood. When excited, a male turkey's head turns blue, when ready to fight it turns red. Each foot has three toes, and males have a spur behind each of their lower legs.
Turkeys have a long, dark, fan-shaped tail and glossy bronze wings. As with many other species of the Galliformes, turkeys exhibit strong sexual dimorphism. The male is substantially larger than the female, and his feathers have areas of red, purple, green, copper, bronze, and gold iridescence. Female feathers are duller overall, in shades of brown and gray. Parasites can dull coloration of both sexes; in males, coloration may serve as a signal of health. The primary wing feathers have white bars. Turkeys have 5000 to 6000 feathers. Tail feathers have the same length in adults, different lengths in juveniles. Males typically have a "beard", a tuft of coarse hair (modified feathers) growing from the center of the breast. Beards average 9 inches (230 mm) in length. In some populations, 10 to 20 percent of females have a beard, usually shorter and thinner than that of the male. The adult male normally weighs from 5 to 11 kg (11–24 lbs) and measures 100–125 cm (39–49 in). The adult female is typically much smaller at 3 to 5.4 kg (6.6–12 lbs) and are 76 to 95 cm (30–37 in) long. The wingspan ranges from 1.25 to 1.44 m (49–57 in). The record-sized adult male Wild Turkey, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation, was 38 lb (17.2 kg).
Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris)
This was the turkey species first encountered in the wild by the Puritans, the founders of Jamestown, and the Acadians; its range is one of the largest of all subspecies. Range covers the entire eastern half of the United States; extending also into Southeastern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces in Canada. They number from 5.1 to 5.3 million birds. They were first named 'forest turkey' in 1817, and can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall. The upper tail coverts are tipped with chestnut brown. Males can reach 30 lbs in weight. The Eastern Wild Turkey is heavily hunted in the Eastern USA and is the most hunted wild turkey subspecies.
Osceola Wild Turkey or Florida Wild Turkey (M. g. osceola)
Found only on the Florida peninsula. They number from 80,000 to 100,000 birds. This bird is named for the famous Seminole Chief Osceola, and was first described in 1890. It is smaller and darker than the Eastern Wild Turkey. The wing feathers are very dark with smaller amounts of the white barring seen on other subspecies. Their overall body feathers are an iridescence green-purple color. They are often found in scrub patches of palmetto and occasionally near swamps, where amphibian prey is abundant.
Rio Grande Wild Turkey (M. g. intermedia)
Ranges through Texas to Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, and introduced to central and western California, as well as parts of a few northeastern states. Rio Grande Wild Turkeys were also introduced to Hawaiʻi in the late 1950s. Population estimates for this subspecies range from 1,022,700 to 1,025,700. This subspecies is native to the central plain states. They were first described in 1879, and have relatively long legs, better adapted to a prairie habitat. Their body feathers often have a green-coppery sheen to them. The tips of the tail and lower back feathers are a buff-to-very light tan color. Its habitats are brush areas next to streams, rivers or mesquite, pine and scrub oak forests. Rio Grande Turkeys are gregarious.
Merriam's Wild Turkey (M. g. merriami)
Ranges through the Rocky Mountains and the neighboring prairies of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota, as well as much of the high mesa country of New Mexico. They number from 334,460 to 344,460 birds. Merriam's Wild Turkeys live in Ponderosa Pine and mountainous regions. The subspecies was named in 1900 in honor of Clinton Hart Merriam, the first chief of the U.S. Biological Survey. The tail and lower back feathers have white tips. They have purple and bronze reflections.
Gould's Wild Turkey (M. g. mexicana)
Native from the central valleys to the northern mountains of Mexico and the southernmost parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Gould's Wild Turkeys are heavily protected and regulated. The subspecies was first described in 1856. They exist in small numbers in the U.S. but are abundant in northwestern portions of Mexico. A small population has been established in southern Arizona. Gould's are the largest of the five subspecies. They have longer legs, larger feet, and longer tail feathers. The main colors of the body feathers are copper and greenish-gold. This subspecies is heavily protected owing to its skittish nature and threatened status.
South Mexican Wild Turkey (M. g. gallopavo)
The South Mexican Wild Turkey is considered the nominate subspecies, and the only one that is not found in the United States or Canada. The Aztecs domesticated the southern Mexican subspecies, M. g. mexicana, giving rise to the domestic turkey. The Spaniards brought this tamed subspecies back to Europe with them in the mid-16th century; from Spain it spread to France and later Britain as a farmyard animal, usually becoming the centerpiece of a feast for the well-to-do. By 1620 it was common enough so that Pilgrim settlers of Massachusetts could bring turkeys with them from England, unaware that it had a larger close relative already occupying the forests of Massachusetts. It is one of the smallest subspecies and is best known in Spanish from its Aztec-derived name, guajolote. This wild turkey subspecies is thought to be critically endangered, as of 2010.
The North American River Otter may be seen on display at the North American realm at the Montgomery Zoo. It can also be seen at the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum.