Lagoon Mammals

Relatively little is known about the mammals that frequent the lagoon area since most of them are nocturnal and secretive in their movements. It is also doubtful whether any of the observed mammals are entirely dependent on the salt marsh for their existence. Most of them appear to live in the grassland, brush and dry bank areas adjacent to the marshland and to venture forth into the marsh to forage during periods of low tides.

Most conspicuous of these mammals are the Mule Deer that graze in the salt flats south of the lagoon. Rarely seen, but evident from tracks in this salt pan area, are the Coyote, Bobcat and Raccoon.  Abundant shells in the Raccoon scats indicate that they catch and eat the crayfish that abound in the salt flat area following winter rains.

A number of small mammals appear to forage for seeds, shoots, and insects in the grassy areas of the high marsh and in the adjacent Pickleweed. These include the Ornate Shrew, a minute velvet coated creature with a  voracious appetite and a vicious temper, the dainty Western Harvest Mouse, and  the dapper, white bellied Deer Mouse. The California Meadow Mouse, Pocket  Mouse and House Mouse may also occur in this area in large numbers.

Other common visitors in the upland areas of the marsh are the Audubon Cottontail and the Brush Rabbit. Ground Squirrel burrows and Pocket Gopher mounds along the railroad embankment suggest that these mammals may  also forage in the marsh.

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