Nature Notes

Vol. II July 23, 1924 No. 6


During the last week considerable rain has fallen in the Park and now

Passing a rock slope or talus slope you hear a sharp little cry that seems to come from so many different points that you are completely confused.

But if you will remain very quiet for a few moments the cries are repeated and you may note a shy and peculiar animal in some rock crevice perhaps only a few feet away. This strange little creature is in form about halfway between a rabbit and a guinea pig. It looks very much like a small, gray-brown rabbit or hare but is neither, representing an independent family of rodents consisting of but six species.

It is found only at high elevations from 3000 feet up to perpetual snow. Its color blends so perfectly into the rocky background of its home and it has a habit of remaining perfectly still at your approach so that it is difficult to locate. They are quite common in talus slopes about Longmire and Paradise Valley. The real name of the animal is the Pika. To study these interesting little animals requires a great deal of patience. They may be approached to within a few feet if one will stop and stand still upon hearing the cry and after locating the animal approach as quietly as possible.

Many of the little animals of the Park give us splendid examples of industry in their particular line. Some like the ground squirrel and mountain beaver are miners and live in the earth, the true beaver is an energetic engineer and builds wonderful dams, canals and houses. The marmot always on the alert for approaching danger and ready with his warning whistle might take the place or the policeman, but when it comes to industry along agricultural lines the cony is a wonder. Sometimes you may find a dozen or so neat little haycocks the size of a tub piled on the rocks to cure in the sun before being carried under the rocks for winter food. They are the work of the little cony that lives in the rocks.


One of the most uncommon of visitors to Paradise Inn appeared in the lobby recently about nine in the evening while a dance was in progress. This little guest was the Northwest Brown Bat, not very common at this elevation.

Nature News Notes has never in the past carried a comic section although many of our animals, our jays and bears in particular are real humorists and would supply abundant material for such a department. The following however is taken from the Saturday Evening Post and although it is not scientifically correct in every detail, it appealed to the Naturalist's sense of humour.


The wildcat clan are fierce and fond of battle,
They feast on forest hares and such wild cattle;
Their claws are keen, their tails are merely stumps
They seize their prey in predatory jumps.

Where wild catalpa grows, or wild catawba,
They rove - from Catatonkte Escanaba,
And leaves in wildwood dells for all to see
The marks of many a wild catastrophe.

The wildcat fears no sanguinary killer;
To him the bear is but a caterpillar;
Upon the fox and all his thievish cult
He hurls his weight as from a catapult.

At dead of night on paws as soft as mittens
The wildcats come and bring their wilder kittens.
On moonlight crags their blended voices jar;
They jowl as though they had a wild catarrh.

Let maiden ladies pet their meck and mild cats
I celebrate the caterwauling wildcats!

- Arthur Guiterman.

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