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Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Pack Rat And The Pringles Can

I wish I had a photo of this episode, but I was too out of it. I have been in the backcountry in Idaho, camping in the desert. I am still recovering from being ill, and operating at about 50% - 60% normal capacity. I was staying up late to photograph bats, and getting up early to photograph pika. It was impossible to sleep in the afternoon because of the heat.

So the few hours of sleep I was getting were precious. 

I was awoken one night with an odd clunk clunk sound that seemed to be moving all around my tent. Did I leave a metal mug out? Is some animal playing with it?

With flashlight in hand, I groggily emerge from my tent and start looking for the source of the odd sound. The light beam quickly found a pack rat (a bushy tailed woodrat) dragging a pringles can through my camp. It was a short "snack version" of the can. That rat looked as if he has the prize to beat all prizes. I was camping in the middle of a lava bed, and the rat was jumping from rock to rock - banging the can with each jump. 

I think it roused me to just show off the prize because the rat's path seemed erratically circular around my tent. 

bushy-tailed woodrats (Neotoma cinera)
A pair of young bushy-tailed woodrats (Neotoma cinera) 

The next day in town seeking provisions, I purchased a can of pringles. 

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Details About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
Husband, Father, Student Of Natural History, Photographer