On Tuesday, my daughter Seabrooke dropped by, and we went for a walk in the Forty Acre Forest. It was a cold day, but not unpleasant and we had an enjoyable hike. I like to stop by several of the big evergreens and take at look at what I might find around their trunks. I always hope for owl pellets, but so far no luck. However, there was evidence that other wildlife had stopped by this tall spruce tree.
Small round pellets are a sign that a rabbit sheltered here.
And here is the scat of a raccoon. Notice the clipped evergreen stem?
Evergreen clippings are a sign that a porcupine has been feeding on the tender branch tips of the tree. Elongated pellets, often C shaped, are also evidence of a porcupine.
This trail was made by a porcupine coming and going to the spruce tree. Seabrooke suggested we follow the trail, as porcupines have rather restricted territories and regular routes they follow between their den and their favorite feeding trees.
Sure enough, we didn’t have to go very far before we came upon the porcupine’s den, dug into a sandy bank. Porcupines use tree cavities for dens, but when there is a shortage of suitable cavities, they will use a den in the ground.
Here’s a closer shot of the entrance, with the tunnel disappearing into the bank at an angle.
As we were returning home, we crossed another porcupine path and followed it too. It led to another den, this one also located in a bank. Traces of frost could be seen on the vegetation around the entrance, where the breath of the porcupine had condensed. Frozen porcupine snores!