Pawprints in the night.

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Wild things (and some not-so-wild things) roam our yard, especially at night. This is especially evident in deep winter, when we wake up every morning to find random sets of trails criss-crossing the snow just about everywhere. The majority are left by the neighborhood’s wandering cat population, but there are always a few mystery prints.

The ones above, for example, probably belong to a large rabbit. It might be the one that I once glimpsed our first year here, or perhaps a relative. We’ve seen this guy’s tracks on multiple occasions – he tends to make a circuit through the forest dividing us from the neighbor, circling the apple trees, gazebo and raspberry canes before diving back into the brush. Occasionally it looks like a cat is unsuccessfully chasing him.

Then, late this winter, we had something larger show up. I’m still mostly convinced it’s just somebody’s dog, but the hubby thinks it might be a wolf. There is a small pack that lives a bit north of us and I suppose there is a remote possibility they might have sent a scout out this way, since there is a forest corridor leading down here, but I really kind of doubt it would come this close to our house. We saw these tracks going down the driveway and also right into a flowerbed underneath the computer room window. Yeah, my money’s on neighborhood dog. (Oh, and that smaller set of tracks that seem to follow it are from the neighbor cat, most probably. But they do make the contrast in size more evident.)

Anybody out there want to hazard a guess? We will try to set up a webcam next winter and see if we catch anything on it, since curiosity is getting the better of us.

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