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Ho-nee-um trail in the fall

[Printed script of introduction and fall tour],   pp. 14-29


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A mole has dark gray velvety fur. Its body, with 
strong shoulder muscles and extra large shovel-like 
front feet, is designed for digging. A mole spends its 
entire life in underground tunnels. It is blind. Can you 
think of other senses that might be more important 
to a mole than sight? Why? What do you think a mole 
does in winter? 
    Notice the curving C-shape of the tunnel. A mole 
    is seldom seen although the tunnels are evident. 
    Shrews and mice are often confused with this 
    animal. In winter the mole does not hibernate; 
    it moves to depths where the soil is not frozen. 
    The sense of touch and the ability to detect 
    vibrations are especially important to this 
    animal. Children find it fun to actually feel the 
    hole made by the animal. This also helps them 
    realize how small the mole is. 
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Here is a plant you should know at any time of the year. 
You can see it near Post #4. How has it changed 
for fall? Poison ivy can cause a rash if you touch it. 
Do you notice, however, that something is eating the 
leaves? Birds eat the berries of poison ivy and rabbits 
eat the bark, especially in winter when food is scarce. 
Are all creatures affected by poison ivy? 
    Poison  ivy affects humans adversely, but 
    apparently not other animals. We should become 
    familiar with it in all stages and keep our 
    distance. The plant with white flowers at the left 
    of the picture is not poison ivy, but white 
    snakeroot, a common fall flower. 
31 
What else do rabbits eat? What might eat a rabbit? 
   Cottontail rabbits eat a great variety of green 
   plants. Because they reproduce so prolifically 
   (a female commonly produces 2 to 4 litters of 
   3 to 6 young each and every year!), predators 
   are necessary to keep the population at a 
   reasonable level. Without foxes, hawks (and 
   man), the rabbits, as well as other plant eaters, 
   would become so numerous that their food 
   supply would be exhausted, and they would 
   starve to death. 
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