Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who Chews? IV

Ok, I won't drag this set out any longer.

The cam just caught so many nice photos, that I thought each critter deserved its day - or two.

But, as mentioned in the opener, one animal the camera didn't catch is the actual tree biter. No, John guessed correctly - the pinyon chewer has to be the infamous spiny pig, Erethizon dorsatum. And I sure hope one does trundle into a scene soon - they'd be a fantastic rodent to write about. One that is rarely heard of, or seen, in 21st century California.

Now on to our 4th photogenic friend. While it doesn't have quills, it is rodent-like and has quite an overbite. Just not one that's used for chasing cambium layers. It's Nuttall's Cottontail, Sylvilagus nuttallii, also called the Mountain Cottontail:

Mountain Cottontail, Sylvilagus nuttallii, tip-toeing into the scene

They're closely related to Desert Cottontails, Sylvilagus audubonii, but nuttallii stick to east-side canyons & creekbeds, ranging into CA from the Great Basin to the Mojave

Look at those fuzzy ears! Desert cottontails have longer ears with much less interior fur

The overall brownish tone of nuttallii is also a key differentiator - audubonii is more gray

And outta here. Definitely a cottontail. Those extra furry feet are also a Sylvilagus nuttallii characteristic - helps insulate them from the cold ground and snow

Nice bunny.

Oh - if you're wondering about the 5th species that visited the scene, it was the dweller under the rock the bobs 'n yotes wanted a taste of - a kangaroo rat. And it only popped up once:


Fun set.



  1. that bunny is so darn cute! and, yeah, i'd love to see that pig creature!

  2. Great set RT. Don't have much to say except cheerlead, but I really enjoyed the whole set and how you broke it up into multiple posts. Some really great shots in there.

  3. bummer, you didn't catch the spiky one! but yeah, wonderful set overall.

  4. This was an incredible series of blog posts. I'm continually impressed with your cam trap shots, as they're some of the best I've seen on the blogosphere. I'm guessing that kangaroo rat is not long for this world considering all the predators seeking it out. Best of luck capturing the porcupine!


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