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Creatures Who Visit Camping Areas

Discussion in 'Nature' started by 2sweed, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Often the animals we see are big and really grab our attention. We can stand still and silent gazing at the beauty of a doe and her fawns, or a big buck, or even a bear, but sometimes it is the smaller creatures that can not avoid us, that can keep our attention or those of children for longer spaces of time because they are so interesting. These creatures can include chipmunks and squirrels, snakes and turtles, wild birds and even Canadian geese. Who has not marveled at the perfect V formation of their flight patterns, in the spring and fall.

    But what do we know about these animals? Do we know about their eating habits or where they live? How about how they rear their young or spend the winter months. Do you know which of the smaller creatures are becoming endangered and why? Often times on the trail or while camping we find baby animals and think their lost or have no mother. Maybe we take them home as pets without the real knowledge of how to feed and care for them. When this happens it is generally not safe for the animal to be returned to the wild and often they die or must spend their whole life in captivity.

    BOX TURTLES (Terrapene & Terrapene carolina)
    There are two types of box turtles found in the United States. One is the eastern variety and the other is the western box turtle. The eastern box turtles have a shell length of 4-8 1/2 inches long. The western box turtle shell length is 4-5 1/4 inches long. The habitat of the eastern type is damp forests and fields and floodplains. The western ones are found in dry prairies and scrub plains, woodlands and mesquite grasslands. these creatures are basically land-dwelling reptiles, but will often cool themselves in woodland ponds or puddles, and streams. They are know for living long lifetimes, some having been found over 100 years old. Identified by dates that had been scratched into their shells.

    Trying to identify their age by counting the growth rings can be misleading as the rings to not develop equally each year and after 10 to 15 years they could disappear all together. Most turtles can withdraw into their shells, but a box turtle can close up more tightly than other species because of its plastron or lower shell. Since it is hinged the front and rear sections can be bent upward so that the edges of the two shells meet, thus they are well protected.
    Watch this video to learn more about box turtles.

  2. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    Just wanted to know if you were going to continue this thread with more animals or not. If you'd like I could contribute some as well. Let me know.
  3. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Yes, I want too, but would love you adding some as well. My days are so full with caring for my mom that I get behind in adding more posts and replies. So please contribute as much as you like. :)
  4. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    There are a lot of creatures that have come into camp over the years, bears, raccoons, a badger, one evening a great horned owl landed near by, screech owls, the usual chipmunks, red squirrel just to name a few.

    But on one occasion a wolf.

    It was shortly after lunch while I was taking the last sips of my coffee. A stones throw away this lone wolf prances out of the bush and darts across open territory. Immediately I jumped to my feet knowing well that there is something wrong with this scene. Wolves do not come close to human kind. I did observe that there was a slight but definite physical obstruction of some sort. I could see as he strutted into the forested area that his manner was, though fast, a bit laboured.

    I checked into the area rangers office and reported the same. They knew about this lone wolf but were keeping to parks policy (Algonquin Provincial Park) and would not interfere or do anything unless the creature became dangerous. They knew that it was injured in some way. It was already the middle of September and he advised that come the winter he would die. It was like he was quoting directly from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book when he said, "The strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf."

    [Oh....this is real hilarious - on radio 740 AM (Toronto) at 7:26 P.M. they are talking about...of all things... an unidentified forest creature that sort of looks like a man that was responsible for some kind of animal attack.] What are the chances of that kind of topic coming up?

    When I returned the following year I made an enquiry as to the wolves fate and was advised that the wolf had become a nuisance and was shot.

  5. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    This bird has always gotten my attention, both in the woods and at camping sites. It is often wondered why they don't end up with terrible headaches or even beat their brains out with the way they hammer away at trees and even metal objects. The reason they do not is padding. This numbing effect by his constant hammering would be really bad if not for the buffer to absorb the shock of the vibrations. Nature has provided several layers of extra cartilage to cushion his blows. These birds eat grubs that live inside the bark of trees. The bird will drive his beak into the wood and bark with the speed of a drill, then listen to the noise made by the boring insect, which points out it's exact location. Then the woodpecker hammers away until he catches the insect. Once the grub has been uncovered the tongue takes over. It being long and arrow-like and forked and barbed, easily is driven into the grubs body and hauled out and eaten.
    I hope you enjoy this video I have provided which shows a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers living in old tree.

  6. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Fantastic - I love this stuff. I'm just like a little kid when it comes to viewing any kind of wildlife. Here a picture that I took last year in Algonquin Park. Yeah, I wondered how they don't knock themselves out. The more I see and learn of nature the more I am in awe of all creation. Those green green leaves - oh how I miss them. We just had another major snow storm in our area. Yesterday was really warm and the snow had melted off my canoe - I thought to myself, it will not be long now. THANKS FOR SHARING!

  7. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Then you will very much enjoy this video that gives even more detail about woodpeckers. Thanks for sharing your picture. The green leaves make me want spring to come sooner. We got another snow storm too.

  8. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    In a matter of a few moments the author was able to explain some rather remarkable facts about wood peckers in general. I thought the information on how the bird communicates rather interesting.
  9. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    I always see a few of these guys when I am out camping. Anyone else?

  10. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I have not seen one of these in years. Though that is true I always worry about Reese meeting either this creature or a skunk [which he has done]. Great picture - he looks tired carrying all those quills.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  11. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist


    I feel more comfortable being near the gentle creatures - like these ducks who came up on shore to join me for lunch at Clare Lake.
  12. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Have you ever seen a porcupine quill? they are quite neat actually, they feel almost like it could be a pen they way it is shaped.

    And btw did you have to wash Reese with tomato juice after his incident with the skunk?
  13. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Yes I have seen a porcupine quill up close and I have seen a dog come back with a face full of them. [So...so...thrilled that it wasn't Reese.] The peculiar thing about the quill is that it is barbed and will continue to move into the face of the dog much like the stinger on a bee. The dog, looked a bit like a porcupine, was zapped out before the vet took out the quills.

    Gnaw...I never used tomato juice [I think that might be an Ol wives tale] beside that, it would take tonnes of tomato juice. Like, he really got sprayed - his entire body reeked of the stuff. No - I use the new modern stuff - Skunk Off. It actually worked on the dog and me too. At the beginning of the camping season I purchase one bottle. I have great faith that, should it happen, I'll only need one bottle.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  14. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    Well I assume you just dilute that one bottle with some water? Yeah it would take tons but I imagine it would be better to smell like tomatoes than skunk. Imagine bathing a person in the stuff.

    Also you seem to be quite the fan of the bold font ;)
  15. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Yeah...I do seem to stand out. I hope that I'm not coming across as a know it all or something else. But I'm really enjoying the site as you can see. How often can you spend time on/with things you like?

    I did dilute, in this case the whole bottle. I shampooed Reese so much that day that his fur shone like a light for days.
  16. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    I always used cans of tomato juice on my dogs and it usually worked with about two big cans, but this new product sounds like it makes the job a lot easier. Isn't it amazing how strong skunk is, you can drive past a dead one on the road without going near it and still the smell clings to the car. I hope Reese learned his lesson, but somehow I think this won't be the last time. lol :(
  17. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    I think that you are right, Reese is just as inquisitive as ever. I thought of using tomato juice but I also thought at the time there should be something easier. If I'm in the interior I wouldn't have the luxury of a lot of tomato juice if I had any at all. My vet suggested that the product they had would be excellent - and it was. Though I would have used anything because like you said, "the smell clings" .
  18. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    That is one of the things I've always wondered about, like unless it gets stuck to the tires or something it is crazy how you smell it for so long after. Maybe it has something to do with how your sense of smell works for powerful odors.
  19. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    Hey...I've never thought about that - it's a good topic to research. I'll do that and get back to you.

    It seems to me, for the most part, that we are both night wolves, :vamp: bats maybe?
  20. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    PART :depressed: TWO [...some homework done]
    Without an entire scientific study - the scent glands are similar to dog and cat anal glands. [I didn't know that.] They are located on either side of the anus and produce an oily secretion. [Oh...so that's why it clings?] The secretion contains a sulfur like compound, but to me, it smells like q very strong garlic. Not horrible, but definitely overwhelming.

    Skunks are adept at using their scent glands as a weapon against predators [and playful dogs]. Spraying is not the skunks first line of defence. They engage in a series of displays to ward off potential attacks before spraying. If a skunk feels threatened, they will hiss, stamp their feet and raise their tail as warning sign. [I didn't know that and evidently neither did Reese.] A mother skunk with kits may spray offensively without warning other than the tail going up.

    Once they decide to spray, the tail goes up, and the offensive secretion is sent off to its target.

    Interesting stuff.
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