Before you take to the trail, click here to download your printable copy of the Pocket Guide to Maine Animal Tracks. For additional insights take a look at this video on signs of wildlife. Both the video and the guide will help you recognize the animals who inhabit Witherle Woods.
What you also look for as you start down the trail are trees with holes, and trees called snags that are left upright but are dead and decay naturally, or notice leaves that seem to be clumped together about 20 feet up in a tree, called a drey. Each of these different structures are all signs of how animals remain in place by resisting the weather.
Animals have three main strategies to survive the freezing temperatures of winter: migrating, remaining in place and resisting the cold. Look for other ways animals may protect themselves for winter, holes at the base of trees for instance. Looking for places to get out of the cold and wet weather is key to an animal’s survival. Some animals survive the winter by reducing their body temperature and metabolic rate in a state called torpor or a “temporary hibernation.” Torpor can last a few weeks or only a few hours. To find out more about animals’ winter survival techniques take a look at the books in the library.