Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tracking An Adventure
So, what are these snowy pictures showing? What you are seeing above are a set of squirrel tracks. The thing I have the most fun with in the snow is tracking animals. Snow is the only thing that makes this easy. You wouldn't think it at first, but finding their tracks in the snow is just about as fun as actually finding the animals.
But why would this be? It's because the tracks show us in a very good way what the animal was actually doing. It's difficult to study an animal's activities so much when we encounter that animal, because they almost always run away and hide. Then we're stuck with only a fleeting glance. But the tracks tell us so much more!
And squirrel tracks almost always start at the base of a tree and end at the base of another tree. That's of course if you follow them from start to finish. Not many people would follow the tracks of a squirrel, but I do it all the time. Of course there are other animals to track as well, and I will probably show you those as the winter rolls on, but for now it's the squirrels.
This was something I never expected, but my hopes were high. I really thought all the chipmunks had gone underground by now. I have read that chipmunks don't hibernate, but they spend almost all of their winter months underground.
Now you may wonder if they are maybe really from a bird or some other creature. Well, take a very close look at the picture above. The tracks toward the top show front and back feet. Obviously a small mammal. Too small for much other but a chipmunk or maybe a rat-like rodent. Very similar tracks, but I've only ever seen chipmunks here.
(Ratty) tracks, in case you were wondering. You'd never mistake them for a chipmunk or any other animal. Well, they might be mistaken for a Bigfoot if not for the fact that this creature was wearing shoes. They're certainly big(gigantic) enough. For a picture of the elusive Ratticus Giganticus you can click on this link. Trust me, it's a strange sight indeed!
That's about it for today. I'll be back with another post as soon as I'm able. Even though it's been incredibly fun, all of this activity has taken a lot out of me. Plus, our temperature here has dropped drastically. I make it a rule not to go hiking when the temperature is under 15 degrees Fahrenheit. I could probably do it, but it's just a little too cold for comfort. Until next time, this is your Everyday Adventurer, signing off!
Nature Center Magazine - I have an article up on Nature Center Magazine today that talks about more snow fun. It's actually somewhat of an extension of this one. No rat pictures, but I have some rabbit tracks on it.