Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Critter cam update

When we've gotten any critter cam pictures at all lately, they've been a little disappointing. Things like...

half a coyote.

The fastest trigger speed is one second, which seems molasses-slow when you're dealing with wild animals. So we see a fair amount of empty frames and half-animals. (The newer model Cuddeback has a slightly faster trigger, I think.)

Sometimes the critters captured are not wild, but still unexpected. Hmm, should Jasmine be that far from the house at night? (She's usually not. I know, because she's usually barking just under the bedroom window.)

Maybe she's made some new friends. She chases stray dogs away during the day, but is she having secret midnight rendezvous?

Then this showed up! I knew armadillos had moved into north Alabama, because I'd seen one on the driveway last year. (Well, that and the 10,000 roadkill carcasses.) But only lately have we noticed quite so many small holes dug everywhere. I was thinking skunk (a critter cam no-show so far), but after catching this picture in the area of maximum hole-digging, I'm ready to assign blame to this guy.

Just another reason to have a yard rather than an actual lawn!


Nine-banded armadillo, (Dasypus novemcinctus).

Their rooting around doesn't bother me much, but according to the link above, evidence is mounting that they may be nest predators to ground-nesting birds.


Wayne said...

I hadn't thought of the threat to ground-nesting birds, of armadillos. Good point. We've only in the last year observed armadillos directly, but like you have seen a huge increase in the number of holes in the ground and of course much rending of topsoil.

I only hope our putative bobcats can help keep the armadillos down!

(Working on convincing the worthy other that we REALLY NEED A CUDDEBACK!)

James Cooper said...

I think it's a sign I've been watching too much TV when I think this whole Jasmine having secret trysts caught on hidden camera thing sounds like something I saw a commercial for last week. Sigh...

meresy_g said...

Armadillos too? you lucky girl. I think if I had a critter cam it wouldn't show much. How come you have so much cool wildlife down there? Not fair.

mon@rch said...

Love the critter cam! I have thought about getting myself one of these! I probably would only get deer though!

Eva said...

I don't know that I would like an armadillo in my yard but I am rather envious that you get to see different creatures. I suspect if I put a critter cam in the yard it would only find my dogs and a pigeon or two :-)

Rurality said...

Wayne, I hadn't either. Quail and turkey were the two they mentioned in the article but there are probably more.

OK I just googled "armadillo predators" and came up with this interesting tidbit: "All the young in one litter are of the same sex and come from one fertilized egg... This enables the species to populate an area in a relatively short time, especially if many of the litters are female." Polyembryony is the $10 word for that.

I never did find what predators find armadillos tasty, but I didn't find any bobcat-armadillo-predator word associations. Sorry!

JC, well spring is in the air... :)

Meredith I'm not so sure that armadillos are lucky... I think they like to eat crops, especially melons!

Tom, we have really loved ours. Hubby keeps threatening to sell this one on ebay and buy the newer version!

Eva, you might get more than you'd think! There are a few animals that I've been kind of surprised NOT to get so far. Skunks, like I mentioned, and foxes too. Theoretically we should be able to get minks and weasels and such as well but maybe we just haven't found the right spot for that.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I SO love your critter cam! How fun to see Jasmine (and "friends") on it this time... if we only knew what all our dogs are up to when we're not around to watch them ourselves. :)

KFarmer said...

I had one last year and thought, how nice- until a friend of mine told me how destructive they were and that they tear up all your plants digging and rooting around. Arnie was removed-

BTW- did you get your book yet and has it helped?

Author Mom DogNut said...

Wow! That's a pretty good sized coyote. We have some big ones in NY state as well.

Is Jasmine trained for livestock guarding?

Rurality said...

BSG, oh yeah I'm sure she's up to no good quite often when we're not watching! ;)

KF, allegedly they are going for the grubs, but I imagine it's the same effect on the plant. Yes I got the book and have just started the exercises. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

AMD, yep they should be, I think they ate about 30 of our chickens last year! Jasmine was supposedly raised to be a Livestock Guardian Dog, and she does a good job if the chickens & ducks stay in the yard. But they wander off and she doesn't really care, unless she hears a commotion in the woods or something. I think she guards the territory more than the animals, and us more than the territory. (We like her anyway!)

Rurality said...

Oh I forgot to say, man oh MAN does Jasmine hate the new meter reader guy. She had known the old one since puppyhood and kind of tolerated him, but this new guy she really doesn't like.

Dana said...

I told my aunt she needed to get one of those cameras. Her muscadines were being eaten at night and left on the ground. Looked like someone had been sucking the fruit out of the skins and littering. We think it was crows, but we'll never know for sure.