Friday, April 20, 2012

Predator Sounds in the Night and Tracks

Ok folks!

Here is the story...

Last night around 10pm I heard strange loud noises outside the kitchen window. It came from the direction of somewhere between the new garden area I just fenced and the chicken coop. I thought maybe it was something caught in the fence or something fighting, maybe raccoons fighting. Well... in the area of my coop I got a bit worried and opened up the window to get a better hear. What a ruckus. I went to the basement to grab a light of some-kind and hubby got a wimpy little flashlight - all we had (I have got to get a flood spotlight for this place).
By the time be and my hubby went out the front door to see what it was (and use the car headlamps to get a view) the ruckus was gone. No sign of damage to fence or to the coop.

I was curious to find out what the sound was and I found these 2 you-tube videos that sounded very similar to what I heard. - gekkering noises at 1:13
and - fox fight

I concluded that the ruckus was most likely foxes fighting. The other thought was raccoons but, the raccoon noises are too high and chattery than what I heard. Near my coop! Ugh - glad foxes cant get in there when they are locked up at night!

Here is where I need someone with PNW experience on this...

I went out this morning to get a better look.
No damage to fence.
No signs of damage or digging around coop or run. No prints in run.

I went further and inspected the compost area. Possibly fighting over scraps in one of the piles.
There is where I found a print. I found 2 but the other one was just a general impression in soft leaves and was basically a size and shape outline.
the 2 prints were about 3-4 feet apart.

I took photos of the distinguishable print. it was slightly smaller than my fist and had no claw marks. That is where I got a little concerned. I know that canines leave claw marks and are not as big as my fist. I went back in and did some research and I think it may be a cougar. The sounds last night were definitely NOT cougar sounds. But the print does leave me with some concern. We are in known cougar territory after-all.

click on photo to make bigger

Do these look like cougar prints to you?

Looks like I may need to invest in fencing in around the house and coop and getting some livestock dogs.
(shameless plug - If you want to help my fence and dog fund, purchase something in my shop. Link to my shop is in upper right corner of page)

And please leave a comment if you have any advice or thoughts on this post.

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