Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some Critters

A highlight of our camping trips is always the wildlife that we encounter. Sometimes we're really surprised, such as the bears we saw on trips to West Virginia and western North Carolina. Generally, though, we see a lot of the same animals from trip to trip, since we spend all of our time on the east coast.

Here, then are a few photos of our wild friends whom we encountered at various points along our vacation.

We rarely go anywhere without seeing white-tailed deer. This time, though, we were lucky enough to see a lot of fawns with spots still present.

The common Great blue heron. It's rare that I don't encounter one of these. One ranger in Florida pointed out to me that the Great blue is a top predator, chowing down on some really unexpected prey. I'd always thought of them as just eaters of fish, but he told me that he'd seen them eat large turtles, snakes, rats, etc.

This baby muskrat was in Mammoth Spring just across the Missouri border in Arkansas. He seemed hardly aware of us as he sat there eating green bits of vegetation. He seemed terribly content.

A ground hog at Big Spring. We saw these several times, but not every day.

We also saw the signs of other animals that we never actually saw alive. Such as the skunk paw prints all over our picnic table one morning. In addition, we saw a lot of road kill. The most common victims were coyotes (we saw about six road-killed coyotes), armadillos (I hadn't known that Missouri had them, much less in large numbers), and skunks. We even saw a Great horned owl that had been struck and killed by a car.

He didn't seem to care how close we got.

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