Evidence of Wildlife

Leafcutter bees are awesomely neat, but almost impossible to catch in the act. Still, they leave evidence behind.

Leafcutter was here

So at least I know our yard gives good native habitat, even if it’s not the level grass carpet neighbors seem to prefer.

So… what kind of evidence should your fictional beasts leave for the discerning eye? Besides the flaming wrecks of wagons in the red dragon’s wake. 😉

7 thoughts on “Evidence of Wildlife

  1. So… what kind of evidence should your fictional beasts leave for the discerning eye?

    Well there is the obvious but gross – presumably even fictional beasts of magic and myth produce bodily waste. And make deposits of said waste.

    There is hair or fur caught on branches, dragon scales flaked off, giant snake shed skin, loose feathers from preening and such.

    Footprints in the dirt, claw marks on trees or boulders where the dragon (or similar) sharpened their claws.

    Maybe the dragon’s lair filled with shiny stuff is less a treasure horde and more like a bower bird’s nest.

    Broken tree limbs where the dragon took off or landed.

    Missing livestock. Orchards or fields picked clean by plant-eating / fruit-eating types.

    Noise. Magical birds sing in the mornings, to attract mates, warn intruders off their territory. Dragon’s roar can be heard for miles. Or maybe felt like long-distance elephant calls. Growls, hiss, etc.

    (Noise is based on the fact that I more often hear the birds living around the house rather than see them.)

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  2. And what sort of evidence might show up, that doesn’t make sense but is clearly there? I’ve been having trouble with my gardens this year, building fences around them and still finding the deer have gotten in. I finally ended up with a fence that’s about 10′ tall, with boards crossing the top, so even if they jump over that the holes on top are only 2’x8’… and I still found deer tracks trampling across the middle of my garden. With nowhere they could have come from, and nowhere they could have escaped to, considering where their start and end were compared with the gaps in the covering over the garden. (and they weren’t even courteous enough to eat anything in that garden to justify their presence, just tromple it)

    My other garden, tho, I’ve still not figured out what’s been eating the leaves off my peanut plants. I even watered it sufficiently to make that really smooth and sticky mud at nightfall, and when I went to look in the morning the mud was still smooth and sticky with no tracks of any sort in it, but more leaves were missing from my peanuts. (and the way they were removed doesn’t match any ants I’m used to, and the type of ants we have here aren’t leafcutters anyway, so I don’t think it’s something like that either)

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      1. With the bars over the top of the space, and the orientation of everything, they’d have to stand sideways and jump up and to the side, otherwise they’d land on the bars that roof the garden. And the prints they left start and stop in places that don’t make sense with the angles involved.

        As to the peanuts, the remains look like they were ripped off by something larger chewing them (including the few scattered remains of branches dropped around the plants), not by something like slugs. That’s why I discounted ants, too. The marks of multiple tiny bites by insects (or of filed-away surfaces because of slugs, also slime trails) look different from the marks of “this thing was bitten by something larger, like a rabbit or deer”. (and I discount rabbits because of the size of our rabbits, the height of some of the eaten parts, and the lack of marks in the smooth-mud I made to check for them)

        All together, it’s a combination of “the few marks I am seeing don’t add up with the total lack of other marks that should be present (especially when I carefully ensured that such marks would be made if there was something to make them)”. And sense you were asking about marks that might be left (for story inclusion), I was bringing up the fact that in RL sometimes you only get some of the marks, and the marks you do get don’t make sense. “This would almost seem like X, but if it was X then we should also have this other mark… and we don’t.”

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  3. “These a great apples, I really like the purple ones.”

    “Slime-beetles lay their eggs in apples. You can tell because the apple turns purple.”

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  4. Discworld Death’s horse leaves flaming hoofprints. Combine that with Greek mythology, the various herds of the gods.

    Living shadows that leave behind trails of slime, that dries to a reverse iridescence.

    Things so fundamentally wrong that mere proximity kills.

    “I’m not sure what I ran into, but it disappeared and left behind a pile of cash. I’m not looking forward to hyperinflation.”

    The old Drow who spends so much time on his stoop, whittlin’, is a Delta Green veteran.

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  5. A few more questions to consider are could it be mistaken for a mundane creature? Ex it eats fruit but so do squirrels so was it squirrels or pixies? Omnivorous, carnivorous, etc…? and how picky are they? does the pixy-drgaon only eat insects or is it insects and fruit? Also if they’re an herbivore do they browse on the leaves of shrubs and trees or graze on grass? And is there one plant they love? so an absence of that plant in an area where it’s common is a sure sign they are there.

    When our lawn was just sprouting we had a set of large raccoon prints appear with no lead up to them, it almost seemed he had jumped and landed but there wasn’t anything to jump from so it’s still a bit of a mystery. We also had a deer jump through multiple yards on our street which while normal many places is not normal where we are (29 years and only one deer has come through), maybe it got lost…

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