Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Nature’s nocturnal creatures
When I lived out east, the night before Halloween was called “Mischief Night”, the night the older kids went out and soaped windows, tee peed trees and got into trouble! Halloween lore from 1970 to 2000….. (this link tells the story… but also has swear words!)
What creatures create nighttime mischief in our backyards?
The top prankster has got to be that cute little bandit, the Raccoon! From tossing our garbage to making their home in our uncapped chimneys, they are a nuisance to say the least. The MN DNR on Raccoons. Wisconsin DNR on raccoons
Toads, those warty, croaking creatures come out at night to eat insects and other small animals. They may not be pretty but they are definitely valuable. American Toad
Toads need to be on the lookout for shrews. Shrews are ferocious little things that will attack and kill animals bigger than they are. They need to eat their own weight each night! They weigh less than an ounce but carry quite an attitude in those very sharp little teeth. How shrews survive winter… you’ll be surprised!
I had a friend, who, as a kid, picked up a shrew, which promptly bit his lip and wouldn’t let go. Slightly traumatizing for a little person, or a great video for America’s funniest videos!
The badger is a nocturnal feeder with a reputation for ferocity. It’s actually not as mean as you might think and has been known to share a den with the red fox. However, don’t corner this guy, you won’t like the outcome. They’re the only mammal that can tunnel in after a pocket gopher in it’s hole and get it! For that I say, keep them around just not too close!
The nocturnal coyote has made a comeback in recent years. Their fur is soft, warm and luxurious but don’t be deceived, these guys are predators, keep Fifi in the house or she’s dinner. [A note from the local Police Chief: PLEASE stopping feeding the wildlife! The PD gets a lot of calls about raccoons and coyotes coming into town]
Be sure to check any local regulations!!