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Our Critter List

 This list contains photos of Wildlife that were taken in our back yard. Unlike the birds and butterflies that visit we'd rather not have these guys around. They do however go hand in hand with living the rural lifestyle and in our yard you can meet up with anything from tiny Field Mice to Coyotes. However I've nothing good to say about any of them.

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Virginia Opossum - Didelphis virginiana

The only marsupial in North America. The Opossum carries it's young in it's pouch. Later the young cling to their mother's back.  The nocturnal Opossum is both arboreal and terrestrial and seems more at home climbing trees. Carrion, insects, birds, snakes, and sunflower seeds from our feeders make up it's diet. This is the only animal besides my dog that I had growl at me. When cornered  they will roll over and play dead. (Playing Possum) I myself would rather not corner one. Some people consider opossum meat a delicacy.
PS. Opossums seen lying on their back along highways are not playing possum but more likely 'road kill'.

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Common Raccoon - Procyon lotor

How can anything so cute looking be such a pest? I guess with Raccoons you either love them or hate them. We're somewhere in the middle now that we learned not to take out trash the night before pickup, or to leave suet cakes out after dark, and to just shake our heads when our feeders are all on the ground. The worse thing about these Raccoons is that they can be carriers of 'Rabies'. I wouldn't chance being bitten by one no matter how cute it is to feed them.
Raccoons are solitary nocturnal animals that are excellent tree climbers. The   Raccoon eats berries, nuts, grubs, insects, and mice, squirrels, and other small mammals it can catch. It also eats bird eggs and nestlings. Raccoons can also swim and can catch frogs, crayfish, fish, and turtles. They are also expert garbage can raiders and very proficient beggars.                 

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Eastern Gray Squirrel - Sciurus carolinensis

Squirrels go hand in hand with feeding birds. Put out a feeder for the birds and it's quick snack time for the neighborhood squirrel family. Our area is sort of a 'squirrel nirvana' with enough Black Walnut and Oak trees to feed an army of Squirrels. Besides nuts and acorns, Squirrels also eat insects, tree bark, corn, and apples. Squirrels build nests in trees using leaf nests and tree cavities, and old woodpecker holes. Like Raccoons the Squirrels seem to defy all attempts to keep them out of feeders.

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Eastern Chipmunk - Tamias striatus

Like the squirrel we always thought these little guys were cute. Now we realize the damage these little rodents can do to our yard and to the foundation around our house. Next to the Moles these guys would be on my most wanted list.While it is rather comical to watch these guys fill their cheeks to bursting with sunflowers seeds. It's not comical at all to have them burrowing in your crawl space.

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White-tailed Deer - Odocoileus virginianus

Deer were also a favorite of mine and I'd cringe at the sound of hunter's in the wood next door shooting at them. You know 'poor wittle Bambi's".  Then one night on the way to work I hit one that some jerko already hit and left laying in the middle of the road. While my car was airborne on it's way into a ditch I kept thinking "deer are overgrown rodents". Our second deer complaint came from having every peach on our peach tree eaten and the tree itself destroyed in one night by a deer. Our 3rd comes from having 3 White Pines destroyed as well. Still it's a wonderful site to wake up early and see a deer or two grazing in your backyard.

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Eastern Cottontail - Sylvilagus floridanus

Rabbits quickly made our unwanted list by shredding our gardens and rose bushes. ($100 dollars worth in one night.) Our doggy does his best to keep them out of our yard and he's encouraged to do so when ever he's outside. The endless supply of rabbits in the area seems to come from a neighbor who feeds them and believes "Watership Down" was a true story. What can you say about rabbits other than a single pair could produce nearly 100,000 offspring in one year with no predation.

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One dead mole

Eastern Mole - Scalopus aquaticus

Range - most of the Eastern half of the USA

I never dealt with a 'mole' before moving to the country. I quickly learned you have three choices with them. Either you leave them alone and they destroy your yard, or you can go the 'toxic Tommy' route and and turn your lawn into a chemical wasteland killing all the worms and grubs, or you learn to hunt and kill them. It's like the land version of hunting U-boats without the sonar. I have 52 confirmed kills, and my doggy has 3.  FYI. None of the products (which shall remain nameless) we bought to repel, poison, or catch moles worked. There goes my standing with the WWF.

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Neighbors cat slinking off after hunting birds in our yard.
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Can you find the natural born killer in this photo?????????
Neither can the birds.

House Cat - Felis domesticus
Songbird Shredder - Hairballus spewalotus
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Cats Indoors! The Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats, was initiated by ABC to end the unnecessary suffering and death of birds and other wildlife caused by free-roaming domestic cats. Cats Indoors! seeks to educate cat owners, decision makers and the general public that free-roaming cats pose a significant risk to birds and other wildlife, suffer themselves, and pose a threat to human health.
Cats Indoors! encourages cat owners to keep their cats indoors and advocates laws, regulations, and policies to protect cats and birds, including the humane removal of free-roaming cats from areas important to wildlife. The campaign promotes grassroots efforts to address the issue at state and local levels.

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new_button.gif (869 bytes)   Red Squirrel - Tamiasciurus hudsonicus

The Red Squirrels that visit our yard are a lot more timid than their bigger cousins the Gray Squirrels. They're also a lot cuter and thus a little more welcome. However they're just as destructive to feeders and seed supplies as any other squirrel. Again if you live out in the country and feed the birds expect these little guys as part of the package.

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