Musings of a Sidewalk Explore: Mammals

Ms. Patti, one of our educators who has been teaching preschool and kindergarten aged children at Moose Hill for 25 years, continues her daily walks around her neighborhood and shares what she sees and a few fun activities and resources for you.

After focusing mostly on birds and flowers during my daily walks, the furry wildlife in the neighborhood caught my eye. I have seen plenty of domestic critters (barking dogs in yards and homes, disinterested cats in sunny windows, lots of dogs on walks with their humans, and a couple of wary outdoor cats); however, a recent squirrel encounter changed my focus from pets to furry wildlife, specifically squirrels and rabbits. 

I happened upon the path of one squirrel in hot pursuit another; we completely surprised each other as I rounded the corner. One squirrel dashed across the street (almost running over my foot) while the other turned on a dime and darted back into the shrubs along the edge of the sidewalk.  I was then thoroughly scolded by this squirrel…I almost thought it was going to come flying out of the shrubs to really make its point.  I’m not sure if the chase I interrupted was a territory dispute or the fact that spring is in the air; either way, there was absolutely no doubt on the feelings of this squirrel toward me. 

I had another squirrel encounter where I noticed three squirrels chasing each other in and around a tree.  Just as quickly as it started, they all stopped simultaneously and sat on three different branches. It was as if they were playing musical branches and the music stopped, only there was no music and plenty of branches. Squirrels really can be wacky, but so enjoyable. 

Apparently rabbits are not just dining in my yard…they are EVERYWHERE! The neighborhood rabbits don’t seem to notice (or care) when I walk by as they barely stop chewing and rarely hop away. Personally I have been battling the bunnies in my yard for the past few years (it’s a losing battle); however, I now know what rabbits don’t like to nibble (because that is what is thriving in my native perennial beds): foxglove beardtongue, cardinal flower, swamp milkweed, various ferns, wild indigo, and joe-pyeweed, just to name a few. Have a rabbit challenge and still want to have flowers? Check out our Native Plant Sale offerings and pre-order for your beds.  

Now I’m on the look-out for skunks, deer, opossums, raccoons, and/or coyotes, all of which I have seen/smelled/heard in the past in my yard.  Learn more about mammals in Massachusetts. 

What backyard mammals have you seen? Be well and stay safe! 

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