This is an update with additional information and photos to an original tale by Loret T. Setters published on January 13, 2015 at the defunct national blog nativeplantwildlifegarden[dot]com. Click the date to view reader comments and find working links to other stories.
Sometimes you know there are critters in your garden, but you don’t necessarily get to see their flying, furry or feathery self. How can you tell? Well, they leave signs.
Signs can be something as simple as a sound. Many birds are secretive and some, like owls are nocturnal and not everyone gets to observe the actual bird. So, there are times when listening will give you a hint of who is visiting.
Other creatures may leave slight damage on a tree or other plant as a sign of their visit.
Sometimes they leave a noticeable trail.
Sometimes they will dig a hole to nest in:
Sometimes they will leave a piece of themselves such as the Black Racer snakeskin featured in the photo at the top of this post.
Sometimes they leave an undesirable sign in the form of scat, a phrase that has a better ring to it than saying excrement, poop or sh*t, I suppose. It all means the same thing.
So, when wandering around your garden, don’t just be on the lookout for the moving, breathing things, be on the lookout for signs of living things that you may otherwise miss in your native plants and wildlife garden.