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What Animal Is This?

Discussion in 'Random Discussion' started by lizard, Jul 11, 2007.

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  1. lizard

    lizard Thread Starter

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    Do we have a new critter visitor? :confused:

    Our cottage is on the slopes of the second highest peak in the Laurentian Mountains.
    The lake is less than 100 yards downhill, mostly spring fed. There is a marsh there and there are lily pads at the mouth of a small stream that also feeds it. Sometimes we see evidence that a large animal has slept the marsh grass, and we're pretty sure that it's moose.

    We've seen Bear(tracks), Moose, Deer, Fox, Beaver, and Mole.

    Recently, some animal has been leaving piles of mostly fine gravel and dirt around the cottage.
    The piles are about 1 foot wide and 6-8 inches high, round, no discernable hole underneath as it would be if left there by a burrowing animal, no paw marks or anything like that on them. Just a pile here and there. Two piles were up against a plank of wood that goes along parallel but 2 feet away from the cottage. No visible tracks or traces of direction in movement were left in the grass.

    One morning my parents discovered one just below their bedroom window, and they always sleep with the window open a bit, so the critter is making almost no noise at all when doing this, but even big critters can be real quiet.

    I thought it might be a moose, but why start doing this now?

    Less than 1/2 mile from there is a spot in the stream where it seems animals come and eat or lick the mineral rich clay that is deposited there. This might have something to do with it, but our cottage is the only one on that side of the lake, why would the animal apparently seek out our cottage to regurgitate? Maybe we're just lucky enough to be along it's regular path of foraging.

    Have you ever seen this kind of critter "signature"?

    Do you have any idea what this animal is?
     
  2. Gabriel

    Gabriel Account Closed

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  3. Gabriel

    Gabriel Account Closed

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  4. Gabriel

    Gabriel Account Closed

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  5. lizard

    lizard Thread Starter

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    Hi Gabriel! :)

    Thanks for the info. (y)
    For the muskrat, the deposits being left behind are not particularly smelly or yellowish. They're also pretty big piles...1 foot around by 6-8 inches across...that alone is close to the weight of a full grown muskrat...maybe we have a mega-muskrat? :eek:

    Also, we've had moles and we're quite certain it's not a mole.

    Thanks Gabriel. (y) :)
     
  6. Gabriel

    Gabriel Account Closed

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    So do you think it is a larger mammal, Lizard?
     
  7. lizard

    lizard Thread Starter

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  8. iltos

    iltos

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    given that its not from a burrow, i like the mineral rich clay angle....moose and most herbivores tho get their minerals from the plants they eat, as i understand it....it possible that your little corner of the world isn't providing the right balance without the clay, i suppose

    i found one only article that mentions herbivores eating dirt (in the google tag that accompanied it)....it's in a pay per view database, tho :(
    if it's true, you'd think it would have to be the moose doing it, as it seems like a lot or dirt for a deer to be regurgitating all at once.
     
  9. lizard

    lizard Thread Starter

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    Well, for the size of the piles being left behind, I'm imagining that it's a large animal. There are no visible tracks left behind as if a smaller animal making multiple trips back and forth.
     
  10. Gabriel

    Gabriel Account Closed

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    Here is all I could find on dirt eating herbivores, in association with licks...it mentions moose and antelope and I think elk......it is not specific to your part of the world, but is a generalization.

    http://discovermagazine.com/1998/feb/eatdirt1408
     
  11. lizard

    lizard Thread Starter

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    Thanks iltos! (y)
    There are lily pads at the mouth of the stream but it's a small stream and there's never a lot of them, and from what I've heard moose love lily pads and like to dive to eat the roots. I'd be absolutely thrilled to watch them do that at the cottage because the bottom of the stream is a rather indiscernable mess of organic matter...nothing to stand on at all (muck), but they are excellent swimmers. There's lots of lakes nearby with more lily pads. Could be a new (lazy :rolleyes:) moose in town. :cool:

    I've heard that some animals also eat dirt/gravel/clay if their stomach is bothering them and they have trouble with digestion.
     
  12. Gabriel

    Gabriel Account Closed

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    Also, the Dall Sheep travel to the licks and eat dirt.
     
  13. Gabriel

    Gabriel Account Closed

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    Yes, Iltos got it.
    I totally overlooked the word 'regurgitated', didn't take the clay thing into consideration.... and will not make that mistake in the future.:)
    And Lizard you are incredibly observant of the environment to get all those clues right.:)
     
  14. izme

    izme

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    It's a Laurentian dirt devil waiting in it's lair for an unsuspecting victim to be his next meal :eek:
     
  15. Blackmirror

    Blackmirror

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    I hope my fears are not roooted in truth

    you havent got one of these have you
    [​IMG]

    the no bodied dog
     
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