My place beside Orange Lake is immediately adjacent to open water and myriad vegetation cover types, primarily emergent shallow marsh, floating vegetation mats, and shrub swamp. Plant life here is rich in terms of stem density and the number of species, both of which are mirrored by wildlife, so I am expecting to photograph a lot of lakeside fauna with my Moultrie game camera.
I got spoiled by wild animals while camera trapping in North Carolina, getting photos and videos of the whitetail deer, coyote, gray fox, raccoon, opossum, gray squirrel, and common crow. There was even the drama of a family of raccoons usurping the bait from a feisty but outnumbered opossum. Unfortunately, the black bear seen several times in the yard was never caught on camera, but maybe that’s a good thing because these incredibly strong omnivores are famous for tearing up game cameras.
I have not yet photographed a native predator here in Florida this season until yesterday, getting only the cotton rat, opossum, raccoon, Northern Cardinal and an unidentified sparrow. The black racer on my porch that I previously posted about I saw once at the camera station, but it has not yet been videoed. This morning, a feral cat came to the bait station and ate some dried instant rice that was used as bait:
I used several kinds of vegetative baits over the last two weeks, such as rice, pineapple spears, cherry tomatoes, and dried banana chips. The latter are the herbivores’ favorite, containing fiber, sugar, oil, and carbohydrates, but cats are obligate carnivores. Notice also how dull and matted its coat looks. Notice also the look in its eyes; they are not at all the docile eyes of a house cat, but neither are they the truly wild eyes of a bobcat or coyote. Also, although the animal is feral, it is not skinny, indicating it is obtaining sufficient food from somewhere. Perhaps the other food subsidy contains rice or other starches like potatoes?
But this feral cat is far from secure. Around sunup this morning, I heard a bunch of coyotes howling off in the distance. I bet the cat heard them, too.