by Carl Strang
Soon after I started checking the amphibian traps I set in the marshes at Mayslake Forest Preserve I noticed signs that the traps were being used.
Other scats on nearby logs were drier, but about the same size.
These are muskrat scats. Muskrats leave them on exposed surfaces just above the water, indicators to other muskrats that this marsh is occupied. I have known muskrats to construct rafts of cut plants when there were no readily available platforms. This little marsh is showing itself to be home to quite a diversity of animal life.
Meanwhile, in the narrow stream nearby, I have noticed that a prominent rock likewise has been accumulating a mammal’s calling cards.
A close look reveals what appear to be tiny fish bones.
These scats in fact reveal that the mink I tracked through the winter continues to pass this way frequently. I find it interesting that two aquatic mammals in different orders use similar behaviors to communicate their presence.