Bears and Squirrels and Raccoons!

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Last weekend, as on many weekends, Tim and I took Corva, our older cat, on a hike in a nearby forest.

Corva (and his brother Dayenu) have their own leashes, harnesses, and, for hunting season, dog size extra-small blaze orange vests.

I don’t know what moved me to leave the trail and check out this patch of mud, but I’m glad I did, as it contained this surprise:

fresh mud with bear tracks

Side-by-side black bear and black bear cub tracks

For size reference, here’s my hand next to the larger prints:

fresh much with black bear tracks and hand for scale

I’ve seen lots of black bear sign before (let’s be honest, 95% of it was scat), but this was my first sign of a cub traveling with its mother.

And that’s not all that was going on here! The fresh mud was a snapshot of local animals in this particular forest. A squirrel had also been through:

fresh mud with squirrel tracks

Hemlock needles (which are scattered over the mud) are about 1/2 an inch long, which makes me think these tracks were left by the smaller red squirrel.

as had a raccoon:

fresh mud with raccoon tracks

Raccoon hands leave prints that look very much like hands. Here you can just see claw marks above some of the “fingers”

Finally, Corva the Hiking Cat added his own signature to the mix:

fresh mud with raccoon and domestic cat tracks

The cat tracks are below and to the right of the raccoon prints

Altogether this little patch of mud made quite an impressive record of the wildlife in the area!

fresh mud with many tracks

Mammals were here!

So much excitement was had that Corva needed to be carried just a bit on the way home.

He just hangs there, making it look like Tim is wearing a very hefty pelt.

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