Elusive wolverines travel impressive distances

Certain animals are elusive–lynx, bobcats and most notoriously wolverines. I’ve been lucky enough to see two wolverines in all of my hiking–way across a valley on a mountainside in Denali National Park. Without binoculars, I would have thought they were bear cubs. Wolverines and bears share a few physical traits–a…

Continue reading

Young cougars on the move this time of year

In the recent weeks, several cougars have been spotted in Bonners Ferry. Normally cougars are secretive and shy away from humans. However, in the fall and winter they tend to follow prey (especially deer) to lower elevations and often into towns. Additionally, young lions leave their mother’s territory when around…

Continue reading

Mink: the semiaquatic weasel

When I see a small mammal swimming in the water, there are only a few choices– at least I thought. One animal had me stumped. The animal wasn’t a beaver because only a beaver’s wedge-shaped head shows when swimming. The tail wasn’t narrow and snaking behind like that of a…

Continue reading

Bobcats: Often all you see are tracks

Snowshoeing near McArthur Lake, I crossed the usual coyote, snowshoe hare and small rodent tracks in the fresh snow. Then as I slowed to navigate around a fallen tree I noticed a different track. With only an inch or so of new snow on top of a crust, the tracks…

Continue reading

Daddy longlegs not spiders or venomous

As a child I remember daddy longlegs in the basement bathroom, especially in the shower. Not liking spiders, I never got close and took quick showers. I also believed the legend that daddy longlegs had enough venom to kill a person but their mouths weren’t big enough to bite us.…

Continue reading

Look for shorter tails on voles and lemmings

Scurrying around underground, in meadows and through leaf litter are several small, furry mammals. Last week, I wrote about the mice found in North Idaho and this week, I’ll focus on the voles and lemmings. There are five native species of voles in North Idaho and one species of lemming:…

Continue reading

Animals prepare for winter by caching nature’s bounty

As gardeners were harvesting the bounty of their summer’s garden before the first frost, animals were harvesting nature’s bounty. Stockpiling food for winter is important when an animal’s food source will be hidden by snow. Just as gardeners follow specific instructions for preserving, animals have their own techniques to prevent…

Continue reading

Nocturnal animals specially adapted to life in the dark

Walking in the dark heightens our senses and imagination. The rustle of leaves at the edge of the clearing sounds like a bear or moose but really a mouse is scampering across the dry leaves. Accustomed to daylight, we heavily depend on our vision to determine what is happening in…

Continue reading

We’re not the only ones looking for shed antlers

As I walk through the woods, I spot one–not a spring wildflower, grizzly bear or ruby-crowned kinglet, but an antler. I feel like I won the lottery and in a way I have–nature’s lottery of being in the right place at the right time. With the number of elk, moose,…

Continue reading

Room to roam: Home range fluctuates with food supply

Fences, stakes and lines on a map define my property from my neighbors’s property. Animal’s have property lines too but they define them differently. Some animals, such as coyotes and bobcats, defend their territory by marking the boundaries with scat or urine. This tells other members of the same species…

Continue reading