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

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ringtail's back and groovin' again

In the wee hours of the morning on January 18th ringtail paid a visit to a new camera trap site. The site was a log baited with egg yolk, chicken, and a lump of evil-smelling ground turkey (hidden under leaves--out of sight to ravens and jays). The ringtail visited the log during a three hour and fifteen minute period starting at 3:40 AM. During the 35 minutes it actually spent "on stage" the camera trap took 61 pictures. The animal was active--the average interval between pictures was 21 seconds. These pics reveal a little more about the ringtail’s strange behavior mentioned in the January 8th posting.

3:41:27 AM (photo # 5). It looks like one of the first things it did was scent mark the log. Notice that it is pressing the hips down. (Maybe you don't notice--I admit it's a crumby view). But it looks to me like it is rubbing its backside on the log. I suspect the ringtail has an anal gland or a perineal gland, and this activity leaves a personal "calling card" at the site.

3:52:08 AM (photo # 33). The "dopey phase". Ringtail seems to be "grooving" on the scent. In this transcendental state it seems to be leaning a little to one side.

6:43:20 AM (photo # 53). Now the animal is rubbing its neck on the log--possibly the well-seasoned egg yolk.

6:44:30 AM (photo # 57). Ringtail has seized a piece of egg yolk and is checking it out. I think this proves that egg yolk is a substance of interest.

Ringtail ate the chicken, but left the evil-smelling turkey burger untouched. It doesn't seem to eat the egg--it just makes love to it. In the second photo above, it looks like there is yellow stain on the back of its ears--could it be egg yolk? (Frankly, I'm getting a little bored with ringtail's obsession, and suspect you are too.)


Words said...

I just came by via Jayla's fox blog. You've captured some wonderful moments here. Love the site and will definitely visit again.

Anonymous said...

Hi there. These are awesome pictures. I was wondering where you are located? Do ringtails live in the Bay Area?