I believe that yesterday’s mystery tracks were made by something like a white footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) although it could easily have been the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). If you look closely at the tracks, especially in the larger version (click on the photo to see it) you’ll notice the tail dragging along the tracks as it hops along. Another possibility is the meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius) which I believe I’ve seen although it is less common. That might explain the plop, plop, plop movement. It definitely was not a vole as I’ve watched them in the snow – they have more of a borrowing movement rather than the hopping. I’ve seen quite a few different varieties of mice, moles and voles in our pastures and woods. The fields are alive with the sound of mice. :)
There is no photo today because I have never succeed in getting a good photo of these little guys. By the time I point to shoot Kita or one of the other dogs inhales. I’ve seen a single dog suck down fourteen mice in less than half an hour as I was working in the field and that is just the ones I counted. I’ve read that mice, snakes and small birds are a big part of their natural diet. It is amusing to watch the dogs eat snakes, you would think they were slurping up spaghetti! One thinks of wild canis in packs hunting big animals like moose, elk or deer but it is really the small prey that make up the major part of their diet. Fortunately little critters breed like, well, like rabbits. :)
Check out the various tools at the Smithsonian to learn about the native wildlife in your area.
On the topic of NAIS, thank you for everyone who contacted me via email and in the comments. I have added a few more resources in the end of the article from yesterday. I strongly urge you to take action, to contact your reps, write letters to the editor for local newspaper, etc. We need to make people aware of this issue. The government is trying to push it through with as little comment as possible from small holders and the public. And yes, please do link to yesterday’s post from your blogs if you like. No need to ask permission before doing so. Spread the word!
We value our freedoms most when they are threatened.
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