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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ringtail exposes herself

The secret to getting these pictures of a ringtail might have been a crab dinner last week. The next morning Shirlee woke up saying, "Do I smell garbage?" Half asleep and not smelling anything, I assumed
the question was a gentle message. "No dear, that must be me."

When I started to brew the coffee I knew what she was talking about. A powerful stench was coming from under the sink. I moved the reeking crab shells to the garage, where I was doing a project, and the stink increased even more during the day. Something had to be done. We couldn’t wait until garbage collection day. That’s when I got the idea. I crushed the shells in a plastic bag, transforming them into a gooey paste. Crab potion #9.

Late that afternoon I spooned the potion into some holes in an old cedar log where one of the cameras is set. Up to now the only visitors to this log had been a spotted skunk and mice, and I expected more pictures of the same. I was mighty pleased 24 hours later when I found this charming critter in 8 out of nine images!

I cropped the first shot, but the second one shows the full frame as she sniffs the tangy potion in the hole. After that she ate a bait mouse, but the camera was a little too close, and her head was partly out of the frame. Dang!

By the way, the ringtail plucked the mouse. There was a little pile of mouse fur at the foot of the log. As far as I know, that's a trait shared by cats, but not members of the raccoon family. No evidence that she sampled the potion, but it was still

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