Page 24 - WVG2017
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From page 22
to be aware,” Vincent stated. “But you have to pay attention to do that; you gotta be in the moment. We have excellent ears and excellent eyes — use 'em!”
Tree and ground squirrels are native to the Ojai Valley, as are chip- munks.
The Valley also represents the northernmost range of the eastern fox squirrel, spreading out from the Los Angeles area.
As for rabbits, the Ojai area is home to two primary species, the bush cottontail and the black-tailed jack rabbit.
A cottontail once got stuck in Vincent’s fence.
“I pulled it out, kicking and squealing,” he explained. “He wasn't hurt, but I got to feel his hind legs and, boy, there was a lot of meat there. I dropped him on the other side of the fence and he took off like a bat out of hell.”
Speaking of bats, Ojai has them, too, along with other denizens of the dark, like raccoons, skunks and opossums.
“They're mostly nocturnal, so you're not going to see much of them,” Vincent added.
Grizzly bears that once roamed these hills were hunted to extinction in the late 1800s, but the relatively timid black bear still exists in healthy numbers.
Alligator lizards prefer to make their homes around oak trees.
However, you’re much more likely to see paw prints in the dirt or snow, or claw-raked trees, than you are to encounter an actual bear.
Riparian zones like Sespe Creek are home to an array of creatures, such as the red-legged frog, the ar- royo toad (both endangered species) and the western pond turtle.
Southern California is home to more than 20 species of lizards.
“Blue bellies, or western fence lizards, are going to be in your drier, more open areas,” said Vincent. “If you're in oak habitat, you're going to see alligator lizards, while western
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A red-tailed hawk comes in for a landing.
Photo by Perry Van Houten

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