February 6, 2013

Creatures In The Night

Footprints Reveal Walking Patterns 

Judging from the tracks, the animals were busy last night
White tailed deer are shufflers
The hoof print of a deer
These are the tramplings of the common Freezing Female Homeowner and her dog
Cat tracks on our porch and through the garden
Three-toed Foot Dragger 
Three- (Sometimes Two-) Toed Light Stepper

Most mornings, our dog stays in bed until the light coming in the window convinces him that it is no longer one of the evening hours. At mid-winter on the western edge of the Eastern Standard time zone this means it is well after 8:00 a.m. when Jake leaves his burrow under the covers and runs to the door to be taken out.  If he senses that snow is involved outdoors it might be 10:00 a.m. before we see him, as it was this morning.

Yesterday it snowed most of the day.  When we went to bed all was fresh and clean and beautiful, the way you want your winters to be, but this morning when Jake finally decided to go outside I was surprised and intrigued by the many animal tracks all over our driveway and yard (and the neighbor's yards too, and into  the street).  The idea of a forest full of wildlife crowding around our neighborhood while we sleep makes me want to stay up all night and peek through the windows to see them in action.

I was disappointed that I didn't identify any moose, wolves, bears or Bigfeet on the premises.  Most of the tracking was done by one or more deer, cat types, dog types (we do have coyotes and foxes in the vicinity) and a raccoon.  However one or perhaps two animals laid down prints that I didn't recognize.  After careful research I've decided that they are an example of overlaid tracks (the second print almost exactly oversteps the first print).  In the case of deer, I believe that males drag their feet and females don't, which would explain  the last two photos.



Notes:

1. I am not kidding about Bigfoot.  According to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization there have been 73 Bigfoot sightings in Indiana, the last one in July of 2012; moreover there have been an astonishing 229 sightings in Ohio the last as recent as December 2012.  For more information on Bigfoot please visit the BFRO website.

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