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Friday, September 05, 2008

Two handsome fellows. Skunk and a ground squirrel.


When we were at the ranch a couple weeks ago, I'd get up early in the morning to see what animals were stirring. Just back of the house, and over the hill, this handsome skunk was browsing for food, eating much the same as a bear. Digging for roots, ants, and other bugs, he worked hard for his breakfast.

Skunks are really peaceful little animals, and rarely bother you unless they've been tormented by people. He didn't seem to care I was nearby. Once in awhile, he'd raise up his head and look me over, only to go back to eating again. I visited with him each morning and it was a nice beginning to my days.

He wasn't someone I could pet, but I could get very close to him, and he'd tolerate my presence. He never stomped his feet at me, or warned me to get back.

You've got to admire his beautiful coat and his wonderful tail!

Once long ago, when my brother, sister and I were around 8 years old, we found a rabid skunk out in the corral. It truly was "foaming at the mouth" and the poor thing was crazy from the disease. It did try to chase us around, and we played with it for awhile before we went to the house to tell my mom there was a crazy skunk out by the barns. It was staggering and falling down when it tried to run.

My grandparents had just driven up in the yard to visit us when we got to the house. I'll never forget the urgency with which my Grandpa grabbed up a shovel, and told us to get into the house and not come out. Back then, you just killed the skunk, and buried it, you didn't worry about rabies epidemics or shots.

My brother, sister, and I were lucky the skunk was to far gone to catch us.

I guess the little guy in the photo above, is a common sight in other parts of the country, but this 13 striped ground squirrel was new to me!

We were almost finished fixing a line of fence when my cousin went to get on her four wheeler. She stopped before she climbed on, and said, "I don't know what just ran under my four wheeler, but it was either a snake or some other little critter!"

I said, "Start it up and we'll see what comes out!" So she started the 4 wheeler and this little guy came running out to stop at my feet. I didn't have the camera, so I ran to my 4 wheeler and grabbed it, thinking this guy would be gone before I got back. No way, he stayed around to get to know us.

I took several photos of him, and when we got home, I looked him up on the internet. I found a lot of photos of this species and learned they're common in the midwest. Hope I found correct information and if I'm wrong, please let me know because it was interesting to find this guy, and I did want to learn about him.

If they live near you, let me know about them!
Donna Ridgway

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