Thursday, April 12, 2001

Mammalian Encounters

On this day I have encountered more than my usual number of mammals. We are currently building our house, on the property, which at the moment is only an unfinished shell with openings for windows and doors. On this day we - I and two tinsmiths who were putting in the duct work - were working at the house.

Upon arrival at the house today, saw a large porcupine [Erethizon dorsatum] high up in the elm tree at the rear of the building.

A raccoon [Procyon lotor] was lodged in the rafters and remained there all morning while we were working and glaring down at us supervising. It was gone when we returned from dinner. Both of these animals are favoured prey to the fisher [Martes pennanti], which is known to exist in these parts. I wonder if both were perched high up to get away from one.

During lunch break I took a little stroll in the bush along a swale (Shallow ditch) that crosses our property line and into our neighbour's on the north side. While standing there motionless next to the snake rail fence just enjoying the cool but sunny day, I could hear frantic rustling approaching from the north. Next thing a snowshoe hare [Lepus americanus] came bounding through the bush along the boundary line and right past me. In immediate pursuit, was a large coyote [canis latrans]. As soon as the coyote was next to me he or she could smell my tracks and immediately spun around and took off back to where it came from. The coyote came within two metres (~6 ft.) and was so large that I mistook it for a wolf. After checking the field marks it was definitely a coyote with its yellow eyes and characteristic coat. It has "gray or reddish gray, with rusty legs, feet and ears"*.


Page 73, Field Guide to The Mammals, Burt and Grossenheider, 1964(2nd. Printing,) The Peterson Field Guild Series, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston,

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