Floridian Nature

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Florida Nature: Endangered Mammals (6)
Homosassa shrew, an endangered shrew in the state of FloridaHomosassa Shrew (Sorex longirostris eionis) SSC- Although its external appearance is generally that of a long-nosed mouse, a shrew is not a rodent and not closely related to rodents. Shrew feet have five toes, while rodent feet have four. Three species of shrews are found across Florida. The Homosassa shrew is a subspecies of the Southeastern shrew and is found in the Homosassa Springs area of Florida. The Homosassa shrew habitats include herbaceous wetlands, mesic flatwoods,  coastal zones and adjacent uplands. In general, shrews are terrestrial creatures that forage for seeds, insects, nuts, worms and a variety of other foods in leaf litter and dense vegetation. One of their main predators of the Homosassa shrew is the cat.

The sei whale, an endangered species in the state of FloridaSei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis) Endangered- Sei whales can be found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Preferring deep oceanic water, the sei whale spends winters in more temperate waters, then migrates to higher latitudes in the summer. In the western Atlantic, sei whales migrate from Florida to Labrador and leave northern waters before September. They are normally found far off shore. They frequently feed on the surface, trapping schools of small fish or plankton in their mouths. The average length of male sei whales in the Atlantic Ocean is 13 m (40 ft.), but females are slightly larger. The longest sei whale yet measured, a female, was 20 m (65 ft.). The sei whale is a smaller relative of the fin whale.

Fin back whale found off the coast of FloridaFinback Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Endangered- The fin whale is one of the rorquals, a family that includes the humpback whale, sei whale, and minke whale. Rorquals all have a dorsal fin and throat grooves that expand when the animal is feeding. The fin, or finback whale is second only to the blue whale in size and weight. Adult males measure up to 78 feet  in the northern hemisphere, and 88 feet  in the southern hemisphere. Females are slightly larger than males. Weight for both sexes is between 50-70 tonsThe fin whale is long, sleek, and streamlined, with a V-shaped head which is flat on top. A single ridge extends from the blowhole to the tip of the rostrum (upper jaw). Among the fastest of the great whales, it is capable of bursts of speed of up to 23 mph  leading to its description as the "greyhound of the sea." Its most unusual characteristic is the asymmetrical coloring of the lower jaw, which is white or creamy yellow on the right side and mottled black on the left side. Fin whales are found in all oceans of the world. Fin whales feed mainly on small shrimp-like creatures called krill or euphausiids and schooling fish.



North atlantic right whale found off the coast of FloridaNorth Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) Endangered- The North Atlantic right whale weighs up to 220,000 pounds and is up to 56 feet long. It can easily be distinguished from the other great whales by its lack of a dorsal fin or dorsal ridge; its stout, robust stature; and the presence of distinctive growths on the head known as "callosities".  Right whales are individually identifiable by their pattern of callosities. The right whale is usually found in temperate waters. It is found closer to land than are most large whales, especially during the breeding season. Calves may be born in the protected waters of a shallow bay. The North Atlantic right whale feeds alone or in small groups. Its food consists primarily of small marine crustaceans. Right whales are " skim feeders", moving slowly through the water with their mouths partially open, continuously straining the food items with their long baleen. The North Atlantic right whale migrates to more northerly latitudes for summer feeding, and back south to temperate waters in the fall and winter for breeding. A relatively slow swimmer, the North Atlantic right whale averages about 6 miles per hour.

humpback whale found off the coast of Florida and an endangered speciesHumpback Whale
(Megaptera novaeangliae) Endangered- he humpback whale is a baleen whale and a rorqual whale that sings amazing songs. It performs complex and cooperative feeding techniques. The humpback has a bulky head with bumpy protuberances (tubercles), each with a bristle. Humpbacks are acrobats of the ocean, breaching and slapping the water. They live in pods and have 2 blowholes. The name humpback describes the motion it makes as it arches its back out of the water in preparation for a dive. Humpback whales grow to be about 52 feet  long, weighing 30-50 tons. The females are slightly larger than males, Humpbacks come in 4 different color schemes, ranging from white to gray to black to mottled.

sperm whale an endangered whale found off the coast of FloridaSperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) Endangered- The sperm whale is a toothed whale that lives in pods. It has a huge brain that weighs about 20 pounds, the largest brain of any animal. The sperm whale has a single blowhole that is s-shaped and about 20 inches long. The blowhole is located on the left side of the front if its huge head. The sperm whale has a 4-12 inch thick layer of blubber. Sperm whales produce ambergris, a dark, waxy substance (related to cholesterol) that is produced in the lower intestines, and is sometimes found containing squid beaks. Ambergris may help protect the sperm whale from the stings on the giant squid, its major food. Large lumps of ambergris may be vomited up by the sperm whale. Sperm whales are the largest toothed whales. Adult males grow to be about 50-60 feet long, weighing about 40-50 tons . Females are smaller, about 33-40 feet  long, weighing about 14-18 tons The fictional Moby Dick was a sperm whale.
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