Monday, October 26, 2009

Animal Tracking: Bunnies, Opossum and Pig, Oh My!

After all that rain, and the pig digging up half the orchard here it left a perfect field of moist mud for imprinting animal tracks! Wanna help me guess who came through?The pic above and below were in a swampy wet spot were there is spring water puddles which are permanent drinking holes for little critters. The mud here is extremely gushy and wet - making the prints dark and deep. At first glance I would have guessed the tracks (marked with pink stars & arrows) were a tiny skunk or fox because of the size, but each one only had three toes and oval heel... hmmm, me thinks dis' might be a big rabbit!
Further up the hill I found another track, more faded and less deep - but perfectly shaped as a classic bunny print. (See below.)
This next one is the pig! His tracks are all over the place, which is helping me learn the subtle difference between his tracks and a deer - which can tend to look similar when first viewed.
What do ya'll make of this imprint below? Bird of prey, opossum, raccoon? Alien with claws? This was faded, smooshed and appeared to be caved in a little - but has the appearance of being a guess is opossum.
This next track was an animal with a thumb, meaning raccoon or opossum are the most likely characters to be sneaking around. It amazes me how there is so much unseen by humans action going on in the woods, all in balance, all in silence, all under our nose. A super highway of animals and bugs following their instincts to survive.
Last but not least... can you guess what made this track!?!? ME! It's a Leslie's cowgirl boots print!
At the end of my tracking trail, there was an apple tree where my animal friends have been eating. Who eats like this though? Not deer and not the pig? Who done it?


linda said...

Who dunnit? My completely uneducated guess is birds picking for worms or other bugs.

Mokihana and Pete said...

My guess ... mice or beaver.

What fun! Mokihana

Leslie wears organic clothing and plays in dirt said...

Hey Linda- I didn't even think of a bird, that is a really good guess!

Mokihana - There is a deer mouse who lives right by that tree.... hmmm....
I wish we had beavers here so bad, but we don't - mainly groundhogs, chipmunks, squirrels, skunk, coon, and opossums. Oh, and fox. :)

panne breaux said...

i'm pretty sure it is a rodent of some kind that was eating the apple. the thing i'm wondering is why it was taking chunks out of it and not eating them. looks like something about the size of a chipmunk, small squirrel or large rat.

it's very strange they would by pass the fruit to head for the seeds. they are missing something in their diet that is in the seeds. i would say fat and protein. they need all they can get right now with winter coming.

if you have any kind of fat whether it be critter or vegetable in nature put it out somewhere the critters can get it. poor it on something that is safe for them to eat.

i get beef fat for free from a local butcher and render it to get the water and junk out. you can fill a cardboard tube or oatmeal canister with bird seed and pour the fat over it after it cools a bit, but is still liquid.

after it hardens you can tie a net around it and cut some holes in the sides. you can push a stick through and through under the holes for the perch. the cardboard will be water proofed by the fat and the animals like birds and squirrels will chew the holes bigger as they go. when it falls apart throw the left overs in a worm bed. they love it and you may want to go fishing.

the rendered fat is tallow and is also good for soap and candles.

i think you would have a blast with one of those automatic game cameras.

i helped my uncle set one up with a solar panel and a 6 volt rechargable battery instead of the 4 "c" cells. he has a few pictures of deer and rabbits under an automatic feeder near his friend's house.