Tracks around home

Around home, besides the plethora of bootprints, there are dog (canine accompanying bootprint); coyote (canine not accompanying bootprint!); squirrel & hare a-plenty, to my dog’s delight; magpie, chickadee and other small seed-eaters; occasional mouse; and, least commonly, so most interestingly, striped skunk.

I am still surprised when the tracks lead boldly right up a front walk, though of course, near the human-dens are where the goods are, and the scavenger-types’ reason for frequenting the area.

Last week we had a light snowfall, which made a perfect blank canvass for spying on the abundant nightlife (of the furry variety) in the neighbourhood. A night-time skunk prowler came from the central park, trotted right up a neighbour’s front walk, and came out the back into the alley. My new teacher Mark* told me that skunks — in open spaces and slow to a walk to check things out under cover, which is just what this fellow had done.

That same morning a track of a nighttime cat came up our front walk, followed along between our front snowbank and house, into the backyard. The next morning, a lone canine print followed the same path up the walk and along the snowbank, but walking over the top of the bank instead of stealthily behind it – right outside the window where I slept, oblivious to the nighttime highway the front yard had become.

*Elbroch, Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species

1 thought on “Tracks around home

  1. Sheri Hathaway

    I’ll never forget the time, when we had Rocko the big collie, and we came home late from shopping. After bringing in almost everything, I fed the dog and started supper. Then I dashed out the door, launching off the step to get something from the truck and surprised a skunk on the step, finishing the dog’s dinner! We were both pretty surprised. I stood stock still and stared, wondering how to get back in the house. The skunk took matters into his own hands and wobbled off – the fastest I ever saw a skunk move – and he didn’t spray me! Maybe he was too surprised. After that I always made sure to check the dog’s dish after feeding him.



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