The Biota of the Gordon Natural Area - Mammals

Until recently, mammal ‘research’ at the Gordon consisted of a checklist of mammal observations and trail camera images that was compiled by GNA staff. Despite this absence of focused research, the White-tailed Deer is one of the most commonly encountered animals at the GNA (perhaps second only to deer ticks) and deer have had profound effects on the flora of the GNA (primarily through overgrazing and selective grazing).

Beginning in 2019, Temple University Doctoral candidate Payton Phillips has included the Gordon as a study site in her investigation of wildlife and tick-borne diseases. Through this work, she has added one new mammal species, the Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans ) to the GNA checklist and has also provided photographic confirmation of other mammals that we only ‘knew’ from their tracks (e.g., Raccoons) and/or from the leavings of prey that they had killed (e.g., from deer carcasses left by Coyotes).

To date, 14 species of mammals, in 13 Genera, 9 Families, and 5 Orders, have been noted at the GNA. It is worth noting that many of these species are ‘subsidized predators’: i.e., species (predators and scavengers) with broad-based diets whose population density is elevated by human-facilitated resources (e.g., garbage, etc.). These elevated populations then can potentially ‘spill over’ into adjacent, non-developed areas (in this case, the Gordon), thereby exerting undo pressure on the ecosystem.

You can explore the mammal checklist below, or you can access a pdf copy of the checklist.