I'm a young, healthy and attractive female Neotoma fuscipes annectens, but no cute males are coming around my way. What gives?
- Miss Moss
Miss Moss hanging out in her backyard
Greetings Miss Moss,
Hubba hubba. Not to worry - the season has barely begun, and I'm sure a fine male will find you soon. In the mean time, if you're lonely - get some house mates and backyard buddies.
Being a bit of a wildlife peeping Tom, I've actually set cameras on the abode and neighborhood of Miss Moss several times now. At no time did there appear to be any males coming around. Leads me to 2 possible theories: Miss Moss could be a Mister Moss (but based on size, shape and booty shots, I think not), or - Miss Moss (at that time) was a recently dispersed pre-breeding age female.
But, she doesn't have to worry about getting lonely. Her house and 'hood are major hubs of activity. She lives in chaparral, quite near Lady Prunus (and may be related). And, like the Lady, has a house and yard that attracts all sorts of curious visitors.
For example, brush rabbit(s) came by often at both houses:
Brush Rabbit, Sylvilagus bachmani, sniffing around Miss Moss' stick house
Another/same brush rabbit, perhaps sleeping in a mini-cave in Lady Prunus' house
Miss Moss' house also has all 3 previously seen species of local Deer mice - boylii, californicus and maniculatus:
Brush mouse, Peromyscus boylii
California mouse, Peromyscus californicus
Deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus
And, along with the meeces, both woodrat's yards and neighborhoods were well-scoured by a variety of chaparral-loving, ground foraging birds...
California Thrasher, Toxostoma redivivum, roto-tilling in the rain
Too smart Western Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica, reverse engineering the cam
Wrentit, Chamaea fasciata, poking around the sideyard of a house next door to Miss Moss
A never shy Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus, posing for the cam
A yellowy Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura, cooing through
And a bold Fox Sparrow, Passerella iliaca, scratching around
Of course, given the seed collecting of the woodrats and tenant mice, and all the invertebrates that live in the houses, this popularity with birds shouldn't be a big surprise. They're just looking for free and easy forage.
In the nearby oak woodlands, the San Francisco dusky-footed woodrats also get a few other furry friends frequenting and foraging the yards of their fine estates...
A native Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus, with big bushy tail and silvery sheen
A non-native Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, with lots of brown and less bush
And a buck black-tail giving the cam a stare-down
So, aside from the woodrats, that makes 7 species of mammals, 7 species of birds, and 2 species of salamanders camera trapped during my little Woodrat Theater project.
It appears the party never stops around woodrat stick houses.
Guess that means I'll just have to keep peeping in on them.
Editor's Post-Note: here are 6 woodrat stories that included this post, in order:
- The Coast Packrats
- Battles Under the Bay Laurel
- The Ecotones
- Life on Berry Lane
- Living in the Sticks
- Hanging with Miss Moss