Autumn bounty

Ripening acorns herald the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. At this time, trees and bushes offer their seeds to the forest animals. Some are covered in soft and tasty flesh so that the animals will eat them and transport them to new sites. Others are packed with nourishment that is not for the animals but for the seedlings themselves. Yet, the animals eat them just the same. Even the hard and unpromising acorns of the American pin oak are collected by raccoons. In burying acorns for the winter, squirrels have given rise to many an oak. Black bears will eat fish, voles, and carrion but much of its diet is vegetable. It will eat roots, pinecones and fruit. Possums will eat almost anything and are more closely related to kangaroos than to rats.

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