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Create Your Own Personalised Mammal Field Guide

This is very cool, you choose a location in North America and get back a list of mammals. Tick the ones you want information about (I excluded the bats, e.g.) and you get a PDF with your personalised field guide.


  1. Go to the Smithsonian's North American Mammals menu page.

  2. Click on Search by Map

  3. Choose the zoom tool (top right) and zoom in until you can see where you are. You may want to tick the Eco Regions layer and refresh the map to get a better idea of where you are pointing. Guide to map tools.

  4. When you're done, click Mammal Search and click the location you want the field guide for.

  5. The next page tells you the longitude and latitude of the place and there's a long list of mammals. You can click on individual species, e.g. Mule Deer. Or scroll to the bottom and tick the species you want in your field guide. Then hit Create Field Guide.

  6. The next page has a link to the PDF of your field guide. It also tells you how big it is. My 40 species gave a file of 630Kb.

  7. Once the PDF loads, click on the diskette icon to save it to your hard drive.

For each species there's an illustration, a map indicating its range, basic facts like size and weight and a little essay. This is what it says about the raccoon, e.g.
Raccoons are among the most adaptable of the Carnivora, able to live
comfortably in cities and suburbs as well as rural and wilderness areas. They use small home ranges, as small as 1−3 square km, and show flexibility in selecting denning sites, from tree hollows to chimneys to sewers. A varied diet is at the root of their adaptability. Raccoons eat just about anything, finding food on the ground, in trees, streams, ponds, and other wet environments, and from unsecured trash cans, which they open adroitly by hand. They can live anywhere water is available, from the deep tropics well into southern Canada. Even in the suburbs, Raccoons can occur at densities of almost 70 per square km. Females can breed when they are not yet a year old, and typically have litters of four young, which they raise themselves. The female nurses her cubs for about 70 days. The cubs' eyes open at 18−24 days and they begin exploring the world outside the den when they are 9−10 weeks old. By 20 weeks of age they can forage on their own.

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