Friday, July 15, 2016

My Cat Teaches Me Rodent Identification

The Yarn Thief not only likes to be involved in my knitting endeavors, but she also loves to hunt.  If the weather is nice--as in not a deluge of rain, not below zero temperatures, and not more than six inches of snow on the ground--she desires to be outside as much as possible.  For a little orphaned kitten who was bottle fed, I am amazed at how strong her hunter instinct is.  She hunts just about anything that moves: bugs, birds, mice, frogs, etc.  She will jump 5 feet off the floor to 'catch' your fingers if you hold them out and wiggle them.  She will run herself into tongue-out panting mode (and cats typically don't pant) playing with the laser pointer on a 'bad weather day'.

This summer, she has taken to bringing me her rodent kills.  I've found their little bodies just outside the laundry room door, the front door, the people door on the garage, the sliding door that goes to the deck on back of the house, and this morning there was one on the cement below the drivers side door of the suburban (of which I am the primary driver).  Apparently my cat loves me.  A lot.

Or else she's trying to teach me rodent identification.  So far, I've seen  the customary field (deer) mice,  meadow voles,  and a few house mice.  As a bonus, lately she's brought me some 'new' species that I didn't know lived at this little place here. Namely, shrews and woodland jumping mice.

Unfortunately, I didn't think of writing this post when the most recent shrew was gifted to me by the Yarn Thief, and so I don't have a picture to show.  But, I did try to put in links, above, to each of the varmints I mentioned in case you want to check them out and learn a bit too.  Shrews, with their long flexible noses, are kind of funky looking.

I do, however, have pictures of a vole and a woodland jumping mouse, mainly because they both were 'delivered' in the night, and so I had to dispose of them today.  Discreetly, of course, so as to not discourage the Yarn Thief from more rodent control efforts around the property.

A vole
Voles are mid-sized, with round thick bodies and short tails.
I provided my foot in the photo for size reference.  :0)

A woodland jumping mouse
Relatively small and thin-bodied, 
these mice have incredibly long tails 
(at least 2x the length of the body)
 and big powerful hind feet.
My shoe (women's size 8) provided for size reference.

I have to admit, I kind of like the woodland jumping mouse.  I'd love to see one in action, leaping about.  Apparently they can jump a distance of more than nine feet with those strong hind feet and long tails.

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