The wolves are back at the Salumetsa sett. We see one in front of the camera, the pair of eyes of the second one gleam for a moment from the shadow of the forest.
Posted by the Animal of the Year team 06.12.2016
At Salumetsa a busy life goes on even without the badgers. The badger pair who had settled down already since many years in winter quarters in the sett did not seem to have any rivals so far. This week however supplements arrived. Another raccoon dog pair came to inspect the burrows, One of the new arrivals was in a pretty bad state. It was thoroughly and badly attacked by mange and the animal seemed to be very distressed. Its movements showed that even the present cold hurt it. The mate seemed to be healthy, had a quite unblemished fur coat. In addition to the raccoon dogs we can also see a fox visiting the sett.
Although Salumetsa has four burrows the raccoon dogs tend to prefer one of them. Such a burrow will however not have room for several families. Or is the reason for the first pair’s tough attitude the off-putting look of the new arrivals? Anyway a brawl broke out and the intruder was driven off. To make the message quite clear the homeless pair was even pursued for quite a while in the forest.
The below-ground trip of the mangy raccoon dog, the length of its stay in the burrow and the distance of the screams that were let loose there give some idea of how deep down in the sett, at the end of the burrow tunnel, winter sleep takes place.
When raccoon dogs quarrel between themselves you often hear screams like these. A familiar sound to those who live at the outskirts of a forest. From an apple orchard in autumn similar sounds are sometimes heard too at night.
The home of this year’s Animal of the Year was visited by next year’s Animal of the Year: roe deer. The camera caught a sequence where the roe deer listen to a loud sound from above the forest. The defence forces had exercises and the thunderer was a helicopter.
The Soosaare badgers were on the move until the end of the warm weather. When it got colder and the snow came they again stayed indoors.
The raccoon dogs have become more daring. If it seemed for a while that they were satisfied with their burrows at the rear, and no longer pressed close to the badgers then last week we saw a different view. The raccoon dogs again boldly used the first burrows. Probably they are in the outer parts of the burrows and do not press further because any clear evidence of fights with the badgers was not caught by the cameras. As at Salumetsa, in this sett too there are several raccoon dog pairs. No fight has been seen yet but a tense moment is in the video at 8:20. The raccoon stares for a long time at the raccoon dog pair, eyes gleaming at the back of the sett. Suddenly the attack starts. The raccoon dog that had guarded the opening of the burrow disappears into the depths of the sett, one of the intruders follows, but immediately returns back out to its mate.
When the weather turns very wintery the raccoon dogs will not be inclined to get out from the sett either.
A roe deer visited Soosaare too. It examined and sniffed the burrow until it was frightened and fled. Probably it heard sounds from inside. Boars and a fox also passed the sett.