Critters

A subtle fox

In Franklin County, you don’t forget for long that you live in the country.

This guy started coming to clear about the bird feeders as the sun was going down each evening, but he’s gotten bolder and is now showing up earlier. He even brought a friend one evening!

Like most of the folks around here, we have a number of deer that stop by from time to time. But on Saturday, we had this little dude showed up with his mom.

And we have birds aplenty (in fact, our lazy little cat nabbed a nuthatch one evening, thoroughly disgusting Jim, who wrenched the prey away just as it expired).

Surprisingly fierce

Possums, bunnies (for awhile I was taking an early-morning exercise class where one of my classmates would ask if anyone has seen any “Bambis or Thumpers” on the way over) foxes, skunks, turkeys and groundhogs, even a sleepy bear or two. It really reminds you who was here first (and makes one much more cautious while driving around at night).

Bear Season Gets Real

Appropriate for the vernal equinox today, I saw a sleepy bear this morning.

Near our house is a bridge that crosses Gills Creek. One of the homes along the road is also situated right on the creek, with a path that leads up a steep hill from the dock to the house.

It was on this path that I saw what appeared to be a very large black dog. Here’s my thought process:

  • Aw, look at that dog.
  • That’s a big dog.
  • A really big dog.
  • Maybe it’s a wolf?
  • No, would a wolf be that color?
  • Hey, wait. THAT’S A REALLY SKINNY BEAR!

I came home, did some research on bear skinniness, and came up with an article from Adventure Journal in which the author explained that not only do bears burn up to 4000 kcal a day while hibernating, using fat stores to stay alive, but they also mosey around in a “walking hibernation” for the first few weeks after they awaken as their metabolisms and body functions get rolling again. A skinny bear is entirely plausible.

So I’m 97% sure I saw a bear. And 99% sure he was looking for a picnic basket.

(And 100% sure you won’t be seeing me on any early morning walks anytime soon.)