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
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:
- E. W. Jameson, Jr., and Hans J. Peeters, UCPress - Mammals of California
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - Sylvilagus nuttallii
- Wikipedia - Mountain Cottontail
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Who Chews?
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Who Chews? II
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Who Chews? III
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - posts on cam trapping the Mono Basin