Friday Firesmith – The Road To The Wildlife

In front of my house, there is a driveway that runs through the front yard. It runs from east to west, true, from the paved road to my neighbor’s house by the lake, and we’ve shared it in perfect peace for over sixteen years now. He hunts, owns a lot of land around here for that reason, but I do not hunt, and so he’s happy about that. There’s a relative of his that owns some land out here, too, but we see him only very rarely, for he is even more reclusive than I. There is a ninety-five-year-old woman who is everyone’s aunt, and she lives in the house closest to the road, and she takes care of a man we all call “Uncle” but he’s pushing ninety himself. There’s a bevy of relatives who come to cook and clean for them, and to spend the night sometimes. But that wraps it up as far as human beings out here. I can go days without seeing anyone else if I choose to do so.

Back to the dirt driveway in front of my house. When my neighbor isn’t around, and mostly he isn’t, I use the dirt road to see who has come around during the night. I know all the dogs around here so I was surprised to find this track in the early morning dew.

I’ve got two Black Labs that are pushing over one hundred pounds, each, and this track was every bit as large as the ones they leave. But clearly, some very large dog passed through during the night. My neighbor, burly dude that he is, owns a toy poodle.

Large dogs aside, I’ve seen smaller canid tracks that had to be of a coyote and even smaller ones that must have been made by a fox. The Coyotes and I have formed a truce of sorts, and despite the misgivings of some humans, I intend to keep the peace as long as they do. The foxes come in two colors; both red and gray. I’ve seen more grays out here in sixteen years than I have reds, but the reds are always the most stunning to discover. (by the way, I discount the idea of the large dog track being a wolf)

Wild pigs and armadillos have dug in my yard on a regular basis, you know.

I caught a fleeting glimpse of a bobcat one night as I turned on the outside lights, and went out to look at the tracks but the cat left very little for me to see. They’re stealthy as hell, bobcats are, and I’ve seen two in sixteen years. Or the same one twice.

Once, there was a snake track, wide and winding, and I knew whatever it was, it nearly had to be venomous. But we’ve dealt with that before, too.

There have been many turtle tracks, odd looking things they are.

You can see a hole where the turtle dug a hole but didn’t lay eggs.

There have been two turtles that made an impression; the first is the one that made those tracks and was a soft shelled turtle. The other was a massive alligator snapping turtle who was not amused at the camera.

One alligator left tracks down the road. Just keep on keeping on, dude.

What’s the oddest wild animal that showed up at your place? (emus and peacocks do not count)

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

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