Sunday in Portola Valley: The nature of predators


Ladybugs and mosquito fish have something in common with mountain lions and bats, but what could it be? Two of the species have wings, but just two. Three have bones and skeletons, and three have sets of legs, but they're not even the same three. They do all have eyes, and mouths!

The answer – that they're all predators that capture and eat other animals – will be explored from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at the Community Hall at 765 Portola Road in Portola Valley. The town's Nature and Science Committee is sponsoring the event.

Experts familiar with the natural world will be on hand to talk about how humans can live in harmony with these and other carnivorous residents of the local area, including hawks and owls, bobcats and skunks, and (harmless) snakes, according to a statement from the committee.

Some of these creatures will be there in the flesh, including a live eagle from the Palo Alto Junior Museum, a great horned owl and a Harris's hawk. Others will be represented by their preserved remains.

Owl pellets, with the bones of small animals like voles and moles inside, will be there for the dissecting. Visitors with mosquito problems at home can learn how to make a house for the wild bats skilled at capturing and eating the tiny but villainous pests in flight.

Representatives are expected from the Santa Cruz Puma Project, the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District, and the Bay Area Amphibian and Reptile Society.

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