Small Creatures

The Chipmunk a Carnivore?

Here's one for the weird category...

A few summers ago,  I happened to witness something quite odd.

Along a path in the woods I saw a Chipmunk. Now understandably, this in itself is nothing overly astounding, but the way in which this Chipmunk behaved was.  I quietly watched from only a few meters away, as a Chipmunk repeatedly attacked a rather large Bull Frog.

The Muskrat a Common sight in Canadian Wetlands

Aside from the Beaver, another common inhabitant of a wetland is the Muskrat.

Although considerably smaller than the Beaver, (Canada's largest rodent), it is very similar in that it too builds a domed or igloo-shaped house which can become quite large. The Muskrat's house, however, is not constructed of sticks and branches as the Beaver's is.

Instead, it utilizes the available mud vegetation and cattails to form the protective walls of its lodge. This conglomeration hardens and acts as a formidable barrier between the Muskrat and the many predators that prey upon it.

A Visit with the Praying Mantis

While out walking I came across a live Praying Mantis attached to the uppermost portion of a tall blade of grass.

The first thought that popped into my head was that this Mantis should have been dead by now, since it was late autumn, and their life cycle is relatively short, beginning at hatching in late spring and ending with their death in early autumn.

My second thought was more of a memory than anything else since at that moment I remembered seeing many of these creatures as a boy while I hiked through the valley behind my house. I also recalled hearing that the female praying mantis actually eats her partner while engaged in the act of mating, beginning at the males head and working her way down. Eeeh, what a way to go. Some guys sure have it rough.

Milk Snake not Harmful

The Milk Snake is often mistaken for the Massassauga Rattler or another venomous snake called the Copperhead - a venomous snake which does not inhabit any part of Ontario.

In the past I have also discussed the fox snake and the Northern Water Snake and their difficulties with being wrongly identified as venomous snakes.

In this article I'm looking at the Eastern Milk Snake which has just as bad an identity crises as the Fox or Northern Water Snake.

Fox Snake not a threat to Humans

The Massassauga Rattlesnake - a venomous species of snake inhabiting the entirety of coastal Georgian Bay, the eastern side of Lake Huron and the northern shore of Lake Erie. (Most Massassaugas have quite likely been extirpated from the Lake Erie region.)

Sometimes non-venomous snake species occupying the same territory as the Massassauga Rattler are incorrectly identified as being venomous.

The Groundhog

An extremely common sight in Ontario, is the Groundhog. A species of Marmot, belonging to the Squirrel family. Occasionally people mistakenly identify the Groundhog as either a Woodchuck (a slang expression) or a Ground Squirrel.

There exist three species of Marmot in North America. The Hoary Marmot makes it’s home in upper alpine meadows, while the Yellow Bellied Marmot can be found along the foothills and lower slopes of Western Canada’s mountain ranges. The only relative of these two species living in Ontario is the Groundhog, which weighs anywhere from 4 to 12 lbs. (1.4 to 4.5 kg).

Skunks have few natural predators – and for obvious reason

On numerous evenings this summer, I’ve smelled a skunk’s rank perfume waft through our open windows. Sometimes the stench has been so strong and cloying that I was sure it would burn my nasal passages.

In the past I always hurried to close all our windows in attempts to stop the flow of stinky air which was quickly permeating our abode. But alas, this tactic never seemed to do much good because all I was really doing was locking the stinky air in.

The Hog-Nosed Snake Is A Rare Sight Indeed

The Hog-Nosed Snake is indigenous to many parts of Southern and Central Ontario. It is also one very misunderstood reptile. The Eastern Hog-Nose is also known as a “Puff Adder”, “Spreading Adder”, “Sand Viper” and other vicious sounding names, yet it is absolutely HARMLESS. I have only seen one of these snakes in the wild; it was large and measured about 3 ½ feet (just over a metre) long.


© Copyright 2010 Bill Leeming - All Rights Reserved