This is the blog of Beta Zeta Nu. We are a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa from CaƱada College, in Redwood City, California. Phi Theta Kappa is the International Honor Society of two year colleges.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Save the Bay Research

In order to made our Save the Bay Project a scholarly event, Kayla, our Vice President of Scholarship, did research on animals common to the area we would volunteering at. She discovered that there were two native species in danger of extinction and lived only in these marsh lands. The two animals were the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse and the California Clapper Rail.

Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse:
• Tiny, nocturnal rodent that lives in San Francisco Bay wetlands and only along the bay
• Among the smallest rodents in the US
• Bodies are less than three inches long and weigh less than a nickel
• Tails can be as long or longer than their bodies and they have grooved teeth
• Eat seeds, grasses, pickle weed and insects
• Bodies specially adapted to tolerate high concentrations of salt in food and water
• Known to drink and survive on salt water for long periods of time
• Live in dense pickle weed for hiding from natural predators like the California Clapper Rail
• Very good swimmers and climbers, but can live as long as a year
• Don’t reproduce quickly
• Most females bear only four young in a litter and have only one litter in their lifetime.

California Clapper Rail:
• A shy and elusive bird
• Endangered species native to San Francisco Bay
• Males and females look almost identical and are 1 to 1.5 feet long
• Once lived in coastal marshes throughout central and northern California but now are only found along the San Francisco bay
• Live in salt water and brackish marshes and tidal sloughs
• Prefer a habitat of card grass and pickle weed
• Use bright orange beak to obtain in their favorite foods, including worms, mussels, fish and crabs from the mud during low tides during long tides
• Known to munch on an occasional small bird or mammal like the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.
• Compared to Chickens in size, shape and maneuverability
• Often seen at very high or low tides
• Rely on wetlands for protection and isolation from predators
• Lay their eggs on the ground in a shallow nest of dead marsh grasses