A family group of Raccoons was observed making the rounds in the Wetlands on the 29th of the month. Each day, raccoon tracks can be seen in the increasingly wide, muddy shoreline which encircles the Wetlands. Often, tracks can be seen crossing the pavement where the raccoons had, the night before, left the water and crossed over the pavement during their nightly routines. (They usually hit the trash receptacles on their way around the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind loop, even though the receptacles are emptied at the end of each day.) The observed raccoons were on the far side of the Wetlands and appeared to be heading home for the day. Home, presumably, is a Wood Duck nest box hidden among the willows on the northeast side of the Wetlands.
Groundhogs are being seen regularly below the Lemur House in the grassy area next to the Ornithopter and at the Bird Feeders in Catch the Wind. On July 29, I saw what looked to be a Hispid Cotton Rat scurry for the tall grass adjacent to the Bird Feeder Exhibit as I rounded the bend leading to the feeders. The rat was apparently scoffing up seed spilled by the birds that frequent the feeders and my sudden appearance sent it fleeing for cover. Don’t let the name rat put you off – these rodents are not the big, gray, notorious Norway Rats of the city. No, these rats have thick, stiff brown fur, big dark eyes, little rounded ears, and don’t burrow under foundations or chew though walls to get at all your stuff.