I noticed that there are these little clay looking structures on the foundation of my house near the garage. They have rounded openings, but I haven’t seen anything go in or out of them.
Any idea what these are?
Noah – Wilton, CT
These are likely the impressive homes of the Mud Dauber Wasp! These invertebrates may look terrifying, but they are not aggressive and quite beneficial to have around. Mud daubers are hunting wasps and prey on spiders; the black widow is a favorite. The mud nests they make are often tubular in shape and in each tube is a series of individual cells which the female will lay a single egg. Females then stuff the tube with spiders it has paralyzed to provide the wasp larvae with food as they grow. If spiders aren’t your thing, you would definitely want these mud daubers around!
I was walking down my road and saw a dead squirrel, but it looked like it was inside-out. It was gnarly, how did this even happen?
Josh – Wilton, CT
This is actually a very cool thing to come across, the culprit – a Common Raven. Although ravens have notable beaks, they aren’t able to tear into the carcasses of most mammals. Often, they will wait for other carnivores to rip apart the remains so they can eat the meat. Sometimes however, to get to the meat quicker, they will turn the squirrel inside-out through the squirrel’s mouth to get to the flesh! Wildlife is so incredible, isn’t it?
While taking a hike at the Woodcock Nature Center I found this bone.
Do you know what animal it’s from?
Sophia T. – Ridgefield, CT
Hi Sophia, what an awesome nature treasure you found! What you have here is a White-tailed Deer lumbar vertebra – a piece of the deer’s backbone! The bone looks old and weathered so it’s possible it has been where you found it for quite some time. We often don’t find tons of animal bones because some animals such as squirrels will chew on them as a source of calcium! I have two cabinets filled with nature treasures such as bones, skulls, feathers, etc. You should start your own collection, it’s a great starter piece!