Wild Animals in Wild Adairsville

I was reminded of how wild this portion of Bartow County is several mornings ago when I was driving south on US 41 and a medium size creature bounded in front of me and raced off at an amazing clip. AND, I do mean RACED! At first, I thought it was a dog, but no canine has the grace and power to run as fast as this creature was speeding. It had to be a bobcat! As it jumped into the woods, I got a glimpse of its bobbed tail confirming it was Lynx rufus floridanus – one of 13 subspecies of bobcat in North America. Most subspecies are northern or western varieties but “floridanus” ranges from southern Florida to Missouri. His speed and agility confirmed we have a healthy population of bobcats in Adairsville as this was my second sighting in as many years. Bobcats eat anything they can catch and they can catch anything they want. Coyotes and man are their principle enemies.

As he raced in front of me, his spots blended to a more solid brownish-gray.

Since I mentioned the Coyote as the arch-enemy of the Bobcat, we might as well take a look at these ubiquitous animals. Last week, a young coyote was “trapped” behind a construction “silk fence” designed to capture construction runoff rather than coyotes. He paced back and forth trying to figure how to get through the black fence, not realizing that all he had to do was jump. He eventually figured the maze out and simply went to the end and padded around it. Our coyotes are everywhere and there must be several packs on this side of Adairsville. They used to hang out in the culverts leading to our subdivision retention pond until the developer fenced the pond in and limited their access. They live in the deep dark woods on surrounding hills and occasionally we hear their raucus parties on nights with a full moon.

Coyotes are easy to distinguish from dogs as they have a bushy tail, long snout, a sneaky grin, and usually will back away from you if you suprise them.

There is one Adairsville creature that does not frear coyote or bobcat or man. Our doorbell camera caught a glimpse of him trotting across our front porch at 5 in the morning and my neighbor, Tim, saw him again while walking Lexi, his dog, at 7 AM a few days later. The beautiful black and white furry coat immediately identifies Mr. Skunk. Most people never see a skunk but everyone knows their reputation and if you have ever smelled his rearend defensive concoction, you will never forget it. Lexi didn’t see the skunk at first but when she did, she barked and the skunk reverted to a defensive posture of raised tail. Tim quickly reversed his walk and the skunk waddled on.

Good morning, Mr. Skunk!
A Skunk by any other name, would smell as foul.

Several mornings ago, we glanced across the retention pond with its coyote proof fence and witnessed a pair of deer jumping the fence but leaving two fawns behind. They didn’t appear to be big enough to master the jump so I made my way to the opposite side and opened the fence gate. Since we couldn’t find the fawns inside the fence several hours later, we guessed that they found the open gate and rejoined their family. Deer were very numerous when we first moved in 18 months ago but the new home construction appears to be driving them deeper into the wilderness. Early morning and late evening is finding more and more whitetails in the open as the construction activity dies down.

A Whitetail buck, with his antlers still in velvet, carefully searches the woods for coyotes.

Another predator, scavenger, opportunistic feeder is the wild hog seen in and around the retention pond across the street. Since home construction has started this season, most hogs have moved farther away but occasionally we will find a set of tracks after a rain or a “plowed” furrow in the softer ground where they have been searching for roots, berries, or small wildlife that won’t bite back. Other creatures will not mess with a full grown hog but wild piglets are fair game for coyotes and bobcats. Its hard to believe that wild hogs are descendents of escaped pioneer hogs but that they are and when you find them in the wild, its best to retreat and retrace your steps as an enraged hog is nothing to snort at.

An extended family of “hawgs”. See a baby porker? Run the other way as Mama is not far behind!

Black bears have been seen running through Walmart parking lots, emptying trash cans on trash pickup mornings, raiding bird feeders, and just sunning themselves on a bright summer morning. Sightings of Ursa are rare but they are in the woods around us and fortunately they haven’y been brazen enough to raid our garbage cans on Wednesday morning pickups. One carpenter who worked on our house swears that he saw a bear move into a nearby meadow and lie down in the morning sun while he hammered plywood sheathing atop the roof of our new home. They were more common at our cabin in the North Georgia mountains but I know they are here!

“Yeah, I’m here. What are you going to do about it?”

My last creature to discuss this beattiful morning must wake up trembling as he considers all the giants intent on eating him for a mid-morning snack. The baby Cottontail was indeed trembling as it sat in the morning sun on the stoop of our back porch. Our neighbor, Tim, has had some damage to ornamental plants from the rabbit’s family but surely this cute and innocent bunny was not the culprit.

3 thoughts on “Wild Animals in Wild Adairsville

  1. Don’t forget about the raccoon and the opossum, they love to scavenge about 🙂

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    1. You are right! But I haven’t seen any here yet.

      Like

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