Mowaps are endangered land mammals that can be found in North America. The largest population is located in the United States, and specifically in Northern California. Mowaps can be found in wooded areas where they make nests inside tree hollows. They have also been found in small caves in wooded mountainsides. Only one known set of species exist in the world today.
The name is originally from the Native American word mowapananna, which is translated as “gentle friend.”
Mowaps are descended from the raccoon family. Anthropologists have estimated that mowaps branched off from raccoons approximately 80 million years ago.
Mowaps are covered in thick fur and range in color from white to light gray. They walk on four legs and grow up to one foot tall and 18 inches long. Mowaps also have tails that are typically the same length as their bodies. When they are born, they weigh approximately three pounds and can grow up to twenty pounds as a mature adult. Mowaps typically have a lifespan of twelve years in the wild. Only one mowap is known to live in captivity and is currently four years old.
Mowaps are social animals. They form groups which are called “families.” The families usually consist of two parents and their offspring. When the offspring reach maturity, they remain with the family until they find a mate. The mating process produces only one offspring and the mowaps will typically have between three and five offspring. The gestation period lasts 15 weeks.
Mowaps have a diet that consists of mostly insects. Infant mowaps drink milk that is produced by the mother for approximately two weeks until they begin to eat insects that are caught by the father. Once the mowap reaches six weeks of age, the father will begin teaching the offspring how to hunt for insects. Male and female mowaps hunt for food, but once a female produces offspring the male mate will provide the insects going forward. Hunting is usually done in the early morning as the sun is rising.
Mowaps are intelligent animals. They communicate by making chirping noises that scientists believe are a form of language. The mowap families can be heard using this chirping language throughout the daytime. At night, they typically remain quiet and sleep for approximately ten hours. Families sleep in one nest and huddle together to keep warm. They also wrap their tails around their bodies to create more body heat.
Mowaps have become endangered over the past fifty years. Many of the wooded areas where they make their homes have been cleared for development or have been logged. Without an abundance of safe dwelling spaces to live, mowaps become prone to predation. Bears, coyotes, and wolves are among the common predators that mowaps fall prey to. Another threat to the mowap population is a common virus called mowapitis. An infected mowap with mowapitis can spread the virus by being in close contact with another mowap. Mowapitis will commonly spread to each family member and the survival rate is approximately one in three.
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