Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Arb Notes

    <rb naturalists had a great time romping around the Lower Arb last Friday with former arboretum director Myles Bakke. The winter is a great time to see evidence of the arb’s elusive mammals, like beavers, mink, and meadow voles, in the form of snow tracks. Eastern Cottontail Rabbits appeared to be very active around the retention pond area, with many tracks in all directions through the dense brush. Rabbits make distinctive tracks because their hind legs land before their front legs, with the front legs landing in the back footprints. Myles explained that rabbits prefer complex habitats with raspberry briars and other shrubs because these habitats offer shelter from predators such as hawks and owls, which cannot easily navigate around the briars, tall grasses and tree branches. Rabbits know their immediate habitats very well and can zip around with impressive agility to avoid their predators. In addition to rabbit tracks, we saw that rabbits had been eating the briars, judging by the clean, diagonal cut on the briar stalks. In contrast, deer will leave jagged, torn edges of leaves and twigs because they don’t have teeth on their upper palate. The last pieces of rabbit evidence we observed in this area were piles of small round droppings and dark urine stains on the snow.

    Myles encouraged us to find animal tracks in the snow and just follow them as far as possible, which is a great way to learn about animal behavior while enjoying a walk outside. Another great thing about winter tracking is that you can’t get yourself lost while exploring off the main trails- just follow your own tracks back! Happy exploring!

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *