Luck, patience, timing are keys to seeing wild animals

Picture this: it’s a warm sunny day and you’re taking a walk through the forest, absently. Little do
Audrey Canty
Audrey Canty

Picture this: it’s a warm sunny day and you’re taking a walk through the forest, absently. Little do you know, nearby there’s a few mice and chipmunks. There’s even a young coyote hunting a rabbit not too far away from where you are walking! However, you don’t notice any of this.

Spotting animals can be a frustrating task. It takes inaction and patience to glimpse these wild creatures in their outdoor homes. As most animal lovers know, a wild animal prefers to stay away from humans on most occasions. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to see them!

“Some commonly found animals around here are mice, chipmunks, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, foxes, deer and bats,” says Kathleen LoGuidice, my next door neighbor, Union College professor and ecologist. “Animals that are harder to spot include coyotes, weasels and fishers, porcupines, flying squirrels, beavers, groundhogs and even sometimes bears!”

Most animals need some sort of cover, like trees and bushes, making them harder to spot. But surprisingly, there are more animals than we think in our own backyards. Late at night and early morning are good times to see many more animals including nocturnal creatures.

But what else does it take to spot animals? “Luck” says LoGuidice. “If you walk quietly and look around sometimes you’ll find an animal. At dawn and dusk your chances are increased in seeing them.”

Tracking animals is also an option. Animal tracks can be found in snow and soft mushy mud in which their trail leads to around where the animal is. However, animal tracking doesn’t always work. Kathleen LoGuidice’s advice for young animal lovers? “Observe nature. Spend as much time as you can outside.”

Remember, wild animals prefer to stay away from humans, but if you’re patient and quiet enough, you may just spot an amazing creature. Good luck!

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