This week’s blog post is written by Katie M., a Gobblers alumni and Monthly Blog Correspondent! She writes about three overlooked animals in Pennsylvania!
We all know about deer and bears, but there are several species of overlooked animals in Pennsylvania. These critters are the ones that nobody thinks about, or even knows that they exist. The Eastern Spotted Skunk, the Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel, and the Eastern Massasauga are often unnoticed in our state.
The Eastern Spotted Skunk is very overlooked in Pennsylvania. I know what you are thinking, you see skunks or smell skunks all the time. When most people picture a skunk they think of a black animal with a long white stripe running down its back. The Eastern Spotted Skunk has white spots instead of the stripe on its back. The Eastern Spotted Skunk is more like a weasel than other species of skunks. And while these skunks may look different than their typical cousins, they smell similarly.
The Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel also goes unnoticed. Just like the Eastern Spotted Skunk, the only difference between the Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel and the typical squirrel is that it has spots on its back. Like their name insists, they have thirteen spotted stripes that alternate colors on their backs.
The Eastern Massasauga isn’t very well known. When you are hiking, camping, or just enjoying the outdoors, I’m sure you have thought about venomous snakes. Typically people tend to think of the Timber Rattlesnakes or the Copperhead. Well, the Eastern Massasauga is also a species of venomous snake that is currently endangered. The Eastern Massasauga is a small rattle snake that has large dark brown or black blotches on its back and sides. The snake’s rattling sounds like the buzz of an insect and is difficult for most to hear. In Pennsylvania, the population is mostly concentrated in Butler, Venango, and Mercer Counties.
To conclude, these animals have been overlooked and have gone unnoticed by most people in Pennsylvania. Some people don’t even know that they exist. This may be because they have low population numbers, or simply because they are more “camouflaged” than their more common relatives. The Eastern Spotted Skunk, the Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel, and the Eastern Massasauga are not well known animals with really interesting features.
**All photos were used via creative commons.