On Thanksgiving we're used to showing our gratitude to friends and family, and this year we're hoping to extend that appreciation to wildlife! With or without knowing it, these species provide us with exceptional benefits and it's time we say thank you.
- Pollinators: Food for a feast. Squash bees pollinate pumpkins, which makes tasty holiday pie possible.
- Squirrels: Planting trees. Tree squirrels bury acorns in the ground to store food for winter. The ones they forget turn into oak trees!
- Oysters: Keeping water clean. An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day.
- Bats: Tequila this holiday season? Lesser long-nosed bats pollinate agave and other cactus flowers.
- Vultures: Clean-up crew. These birds eat dead bodies of animals, preventing a world covered with decaying carcasses.
- Thistle: There are many instances of biomimicry for which we can thank nature for its incredible design inspiration. One particular case is thistle. The prickly seed burrs stick relentlessly to clothing as one walks through. These properties led to the invention of velcro!
- Snakes: Many species are beneficial to gardeners and farmers. Garter snakes eat slugs. Gopher snakes and rubber boas eat mice and rats. Sharp-tailed snakes eat Japanese beetle grubs.
- Sea otters: This keystone species has a major impact on its ecosystem. They eat crabs and urchins to keep the nearshore marine ecosystem healthy and stable.
- Wild turkey: This gorgeously awkward bird can be seen at many wildlife refuges across the country. Not to mention it’s the main event for many holiday feasts this time of year.
This photo is courtesy of Nancy Adamson and the Xerces Society.
This photo is courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Photo courtesy of USFWS.
Photo courtesy of Roy W. Lowe.
Gopher Snake, Photo courtesy of USFWS.
Photo courtesy of Lilian Carswell, USFWS.