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A puzzle in a 108 Mile Ranch backyard.  What animals bury their food for later use.

A puzzle in a 108 Mile Ranch backyard.  What animals bury their food for later use.

A puzzle in a 108 Mile Ranch backyard.  What animals bury their food for later use.

Let’s set the scene!

This neighbourhood is nestled amongst rolling forested hills with lakes and marshes in the valley bottom.  It is perfect environment for both people and wild animals.  This yard has steeply sloping ground that goes down to the 108 Mile Lake.  As with other parts of the province the Cariboo has had an unusual winter.  Light snowfalls, cold weather, and frequent warming trends.  Picture an area of scuffed snow with tracks that are quite degraded.  And a family dog that is very interested in this spot.  On closer inspection a hole has been dug into the frozen snow on the slope and there is evidence of feathers.  Though the ground is still frozen and much of the snow has melted there is a very strong odour coming from a hole.  Nestled in the hole is a whole chicken that is past its best before date.  A number of people in the area keep chickens, but what brought this chicken and buried in the yard for the future.  And why has the animal not come back to retrieve it.  I might add that it was a rather unpleasant chore for the homeowner to remove the chicken-a smell he is unlikely to forget in the near future.

Let’s look at some possible candidates.  All of the following animals are omnivores or carnivores.  Even the carnivores will supplement their diet with grasses, grains, and flowers.  They will hunt and catch their own prey, feed on the kills of other animals, and eat carrion.  They have stomachs that are adapted to digesting rotting meat, feathers, and even bones.  Most of these animals will gorge on a fresh kill but need to store the remains for a later fed, well away from other scavengers.  All these animals can live in our area, some reside quite easily among human habitation while others may just pass through or others like the isolation of wilderness areas.

 BobcatFree European Lynx Eurasian Lynx photo and picture

The lynx is rather shy and more likely to be seen further east in the wilderness area of Wells Grey Park.  It is an ambush hunter and can take down larger prey it will cover the remains with branches, leaves, and grass.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobcat

Canada LynxFree Lynx Canada Lynx photo and picture

 Note the large, furred paws,  the Canada Lynx is definitely suited to hunting in the snow.  The lynx is primarily a nocturnal hunter and snowshoe hares are a favorite on their menu.  It is also reclusive.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_lynx

brown and black wild cat sitting on brown rackCougar

 This large feline is another ambush hunter and can take down large prey that will not be eaten all at once.  Remains are covered with sticks and branches and the cat is usually not far away, retuning nightly to feed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar

CoyoteFree Coyote Animal photo and picture

The coyote is an opportunistic hunter that usually hunts in packs and would be quite willing to raid a chicken coup.  They do bury their left-over prey.

https://coyoteyipps.com/2020/11/28/caching-and-burying/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coyote

Free Fox Animal photo and pictureRed Fox

 The Red Fox is certainly a known raider of chicken coups.  He will dig down beyond fencing to get in and create quit a stir in the hen house.  That extra chicken will definitely be cached in a hole for later use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_fox

I think the fox is our hunter and hoarder.  He is often seen in the area, and his tracks crisscross the yard.

Checkout this website for more information on Canadian animals.

https://www.hww.ca/en/index.html

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