Forest Floor in Winter: Sans Snow – Part IV – Animal Signs

All around us, folks are getting snow… Still just a dusting here.  Do I sound like a broken record?  Here are more photos from last Sunday:

Hickory Nut Snack
Somewhere I have a book that helps you know who ate a nut based on what the shell looks like.  Can’t find it… nor could I figure out what to type into a search engine on line to find a suitable website…  So maybe one of my readers has tips?

Hickory Nut Cache
I’m guessing Red Squirrel.  Unlike Gray Squirrels, who tend to hide their nuts singly, one here, another there, Red Squirrels will create a cache containing a great deal of food.  Or, could it be remains of a Chipmunk Feast?  Hmmm….

What the heck is that?...
This photo represents a bit of an embarassment to me.  I originally posted it on Flicker with the title “Scat and a Hole.”  Gavatron, a visitor to the picture, posted this comment:  “Is that scat? They look like brown dead caterpillars to me. Weird.”  I looked more closely at the photo and realized he was right!  I’m puzzled by this…  the hole is very small – it was a tight fit for my thumb – and it seems to go quite deep and away…  Odd…  Any ideas?

Bottle and Scat
Believe it or not, I first noticed the rather old scat on the log at right before I noticed the bottle.  There were plenty of beverage containers in the woods, sad to say.  It is something I just cannot understand.

Dear Anheiser-Busch:  I challenge you to launch an effective campaign that will keep your customers from doing this.  Sincerely, The Woods.

Tomorrow:  Greenery  (This will be the last in this series!  I’ll have to go take more pictures!  Poor me… ha ha…)

10 thoughts on “Forest Floor in Winter: Sans Snow – Part IV – Animal Signs

  1. Could the “caterpillars” be catkins?
    I’d be surprised anything fleshy would retain its shape over a period of time without decomposing.
    Maybe something has hoarded them?
    (sorry, can’t see closely–the image I pull off Flicker is not enlarging for me)

  2. i will never understand how anyone could be so lazy that they couldn’t pick up their own trash! what a lack of respect! we have a real issue with that in Mississippi, too

  3. Hi Jennifer, those were interesting pictures. I’ve been putting out nuts in shell for my gray squirrels and am finding a few broken shells but I think they’re burying the majority of them. It will be interesting to see what’s revealed once the snow finally melts.

    This is a good series–I’m enjoying it alot (except for the trash thrown out in the woods–a sad problem in any woods)

  4. The nuts look like hickory nuts. Although it is for trees in the Southeast, this site has a lot of pictures of different types of hickory nuts:

    I have a large productive hickory in my backyard in western Virginia and the gray squirrels love them. They start in early and shred the outer shells to get to the nut. It’s a big tree and we can have three or four squirrels working it at once, which creates an effect almost like green and white rain. They also break up the inner nut much more than in your pictures. You can’t go out in bare feet under the trees because of all the sharp wooden shards. In a good nut year this goes on for weeks. Because of a hard freeze last spring, for the first time in years we had a light nut crop on that tree.

  5. Regarding that mystery hole near what may be catterpillar remains, do you suppose it could be that of the ubiquitous White- footed Deer Mouse (Peromyscus) ?? One way to find out would be to place a baited (peanut butter) mouse trap near that hole. I have trapper both the deer mouse and short- tailed shrew (Blarina) near such holes in my yard. Give it a try.

  6. Hi Winter Woman,
    I liked reading this post. It’s been about six weeks since I’ve seen any uncovered ground like that. The photos are wonderful. Those beverage photos are hard to look at, but it’s good that you posted them.

  7. All – The not-scat remains a mystery. I haven’t been out there since Sunday and with the snow (dusting thought it is) I don’t know if I’ll be able to find it again. But if I do, I’m bringing some of those critters or catkins back for a closer look.

    Dave – the nuts are definitely shagbark hickory.

    cestoady – could be mouse… I”ve seen plenty of mouse tracks when we do have snow… I can’t really set a trap there, though, because it is right in the middle of an old timbering road and on private property to boot!

  8. Dave W. That link for the flying squirrels is great! Now I’m very excited. I will have to hike at night to see if I can see flying squirrels! Thanks!

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