Posted by the Animal of the Year team 12.12.2016
In the beginning of the week all three of the Soosaare badgers came out from the burrows. In the fluffy snow they waded easily but when the brittle surface froze after the thaw in the day they stepped more cautiously. Raccoon dogs did not like this unforeseeable foothold either. The badgers limited themselves to the excursions in the beginning of the week. The rest of the time they napped in the burrow and only the raccoon dogs were out on the sett. A roe deer too went past the burrows. After Thursday the weather changed to a great thaw and once more fog covered the lenses of all cameras. There were many recorded videos but nothing to be seen. Probably the badgers were out again too.
The raccoon dogs showed themselves from a new angle. Raccoon dogs are faithful to each other. The monogamous pair is together throughout the year, the winter is also spent beside each other. While we have only seen the pair moving together earlier then this week they showed us their feelings. It turned out that raccoon dogs groom each other quite as badgers do. In several video cuts they scratched each other’s coats into order and shared caresses. Playing tempted too.
The Salumetsa video from last week also starts with raccoon dogs. It seems to be one of the homeless raccoon dogs that have been caught on camera in the previous weeks too. It comes for a moment to the burrow but retreats at once. It probably felt the smell of the other raccoon dog pair wafting from the burrow. The positions are set and more testing of limits is not needed. We saw in the previous video how the pair that lives permanently at the sett drove off the newcomers. The homeless must be content with a windfallen tree or some other temporary arrangement. There are not badger burrows to go round for all.
A fox visited Salumetsa as well. In daytime hazel grouse were at the sett. Hazel grouse too spend the winter together. This week’s video revealed the secret of why the underwood does not become altogether overgrown. When the larger buds of the little trees-to-be are picked for food on the foraging trips the underwood is cut back suitably. In the same way roe deer and elks keep a limit on the growth of shrubs and trees. This week’s video ends with roe deer ears and an elk muzzle.