What was this? As you may know, we collect our milk jugs at home in suburbia and take them to Roundrock with us in order to have a handy supply of water for the trees we have planted. Some of the jugs have sat on the forest floor for an entire year before they are pressed into service. As a result, they suffer all of the extremes of weather, and it is not uncommon to find one or two of these drained because they somehow cracked open while we were away.
But they are never like this. These two jugs (and a few others beside them) were more than just cracked. These had been crushed, as though they had been stomped by a boot. They had been torn open. Setting aside the possibility of malicious interlopers, how might this have happened? This seems a bit too thorough for raccoons or opposums or deer or turkey. Might an armadillo have done this? Or a groundhog? The Conservation people assure me that there are no bears in this part of the state, nor are there any mountain lions. They don’t even bring up the matter of Ozark Howlers.
Nor can I think of why some critter would do this? My neighbor’s pond is near where these jugs were sitting. My own pond is just a bit farther in the other direction. If drinking water was what the critter was after, there was plenty of it nearby that was far more accessible.
I suppose the jugs still contained some scent of the milk or orange juice they had originally held, and this exotic perfume may have been enuf to turn a mild-mannered forest critter into a mayhem-producing, frenzied . . . animal!
‘Tis a puzzlement, but it gives me the satisfaction of indulging in speculation. I may never know how this happened (it hasn’t happened before or since), but I can ponder it, which is nearly as good.
- Spiny softshell turtles lay eggs on sandbars and gravelbars.