Wildlife in Your Backyard, More Than Meets the Eye

Do you ever wonder about the secret lives of the animals that live in your backyard? Rabbits, squirrels, foxes, and chipmunks all live in our neighborhoods, yet most of us know very little about them. Like almost everyone else who lives in the suburbs, my backyard is frequently visited by squirrels. I naturally became curious about them and found 11 Bushy-Tailed Facts About Eastern Gray Squirrels which explains some interesting aspects of their behavior, how long they live (up to 12 years in the wild), how they communicate (like wagging their tails), how they make nests, etc.

In addition to squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks have been long-time visitors to my backyard. I will usually see rabbits only at dawn and dusk. Chipmunks seem to pop up at all times of day, but they don't stay visible long. I try to be very still while watching, for at even the slightest movement they will bolt back to their holes. All about the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit and 10 Things You Don't Know about Chipmunks will tell you more about the life and habits of these common but fascinating creatures, especially their keen senses and the clever ways they have to escape predators.

I have always found that the pleasure of watching these animals in my backyard more than compensates for any problems they may occasionally cause. However, I don't have a garden, and people who do may feel differently. If you need to chase away any of the common critters you may find in your backyard, the Humane Society site has tips for getting rid of rabbits, opossums, chipmunks, and foxes.

I have never seen a fox in my backyard, but I have sometimes seen a fox running around other peoples' yards.

If you are lucky enough to get a view of these cunning creatures, you might want to check out the hoopla eBook The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand. All animals have a secret life of which we see but little. We should be glad of the opportunity to get a close-up look at even the commonest wildlife that visits our own backyard.

For additional information about these and other backyard animals, search our digital library catalog. There are many eBooks available through hoopla and eLibraryNJ, for both children and adults.

- by Michael K., West Windsor Branch