Mayslake Mammal Update

by Carl Strang

The deep snow is receding, now, but it certainly has posed challenges to some of our mammals.

Not all of them, though. The muskrat could function with underwater excursions from its secure lodge.

Not all of them, though. The muskrat could function with underwater excursions from its secure lodge.

Voles, the muskrat’s smaller terrestrial relatives, have enjoyed a winter relatively safe from predators. Other species have had to deal with it. We entered the mating season for skunks and raccoons, and they could not wait out the winter.

Skunks, with their relatively short legs, had a particularly difficult time until the snow crusted enough to support them.

Skunks, with their relatively short legs, had a particularly difficult time until the snow crusted enough to support them.

The snow forced this raccoon into a rare, diagonal walk gait.

The snow forced this raccoon into a rare, diagonal walk gait.

A few clear tracks confirmed that the above string was raccoon-created.

A few clear tracks confirmed that the above string was raccoon-created.

With the thaw on, and overnight lows crusting the snow, only deer and humans still are inconvenienced where the snow remains deep.

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