Having a garden is a lot of fun; less so when nightly visits from stealthy critters diminish the returns on your hard work.
Depending on where you live, some of the animals you might see are cute and cuddly looking, and no end of entertainment.
Some that are like this are chipmunks, squirrels and of course, birds which are always welcome - the others not so much.
At night you might have bats taking care of the bug population, and there could be bears or deer roaming through.
Here are a few critters in my garden, and several friends have shared their sightings too;
In fact, they smell really bad, and wreck places by bringing in all kinds of junk to make into their winter nest.
As fall approaches, we start watching for the telltale signs in the tool shed and anywhere else; droppings, fresh urine smell, and the biggest clue of all; Bracken trying to dig them out of wherever they're hiding in drawers, the wall...that alerts us to get the live trap out.
As these are native critters, we relocate them somewhere away from civilization where they can make a mess to their hearts content.
Snowshoe rabbits turn white in the winter, and grow a huge amount of fur on their feet so they can run around on top of the snow. They are most active at night or early in the morning, and leave the distinctive two small and two large paw prints.
Pacific tree frogs are a common sight in my garden, as long as you're watching for them; they're very shy, and will hide in plain sight under a piece of plastic, in a cranny in a beam, in the spout of the water pump.
They're most active at night, and the cooling temperatures bring them out at dusk to go hunting. Their creaking song is a rare occurrence, but sometimes you can get them started yourself with any similar repetitive squeaky noise - the wheel on the washing line does it for ones around here.
This Little Brown Bat found it's way into a house; apparently, if you get bitten by a rabid bat in your house, health insurance won't cover it, but if you're outside, it will. Go figure.
Always handle these tiny creatures with care as they are commonly found to be carriers of the rabies bacteria.
They are at risk due to White Nose Syndrome, a fungal infection that is so irritating to them that it doesn't allow them to hibernate properly, and whole colonies have been found dead in the spring. It's thought that humans invading their caves to collect bat guano have been instrumental in spreading it.
Bats are generally thought of as nocturnal, but they do emerge during the day sometimes, to fly around, catch a snack and then go back to bed.
What are the critters in your garden? Do you have some that are just too cute to resist? Or those that try and take over?
Most critters are best left to their own devices, and discouraged from moving into our areas. It just ends badly, usually for them, if there is a conflict of expectations.
The critters expect to eat our gardens, and we expect them to leave our plants alone. Make your intentions clear to the animals that visit; take pictures, then insist that they move on. It's not worth letting them get too comfortable, when they belong in a wilder environment.