The animal kingdom is rich with creatures that take care of themselves and their families. Many of them, however, don’t feel the need to play fair when they see something they want. One of the most common “thieves” is the raccoon. Dressed in appropriate garb for burgling, these masked bandits seem to know no boundaries.
What’s the best way to outsmart a furry sneak? In short, don’t leave anything outside that smells tasty. Don’t be surprised, however, when one decides your freshly potted plant should be explored... clear down to the roots, removed from the soil, and relocated to the far side of the yard. (Like any good thief, rules simply don’t apply!)
We’ve all heard of the thieving ways of the magpie... but did you realize the blue jay is a close relative? Not all blue jays misbehave the same way, but some have been known to steal from other species as well as their own. The sneakiest of the sneaky will also bury it. Sounds a bit pirate(ish)? Well, it gets even better. Some blue jays have even been observed going back to that buried cache and moving it to another location! So there it is... the dread pirate Blue Jay strikes again.
Who-who? It’s the burrowing owl looking for a new place to live. This particular specie of owl live in burrows below ground. They, however, do not necessarily dig their own burrow. Found in North, Central and South America, these cuties are more likely to steal a nice burrow dug by a tortoise, armadillo or badger rather than go to all that work themselves. Then, (as if that isn’t a cheeky enough move,) they will squat right at the entrance to guard their new place... glaring at the former inhabitant when they try to return.
What’s not to love about a face like that? The picture of innocences, right? Bold (and quite intelligent), these sneaky little things are known thieves that steal from birds, other squirrels and even humans. Everything from nuts, fruits and berries to flower bulbs, candy and other snacks... nothing is safe once the squirrel sets its sights on it. Stealing isn’t the half of it though. These little criminals are so crafty, they put on bogus burying displays for their food caches to throw off “would be” raiders.
In early spring, when their own food stores are depleted, they are especially prone to thievery. So if you’re planning an early spring campout... hide your snacks well, or plan on sharing!!
Commonly referred to as the “pirates of the seashore,” it should come as no surprise that the sea gull is known for it’s thievery. Bold by nature, a gull is likely to steal food from another gull (no matter the size), another bird, an otter or even a human. Since gulls can’t dive for fish, they need to steal from species that can as they bring their meal to the surface. A frequent target is the brown pelican... the sneaky gull waits for opportunity and snatches the fish right out of the pelican’s mouth!
Just remember, however, a sea gull may not be great at differentiating between food and garbage. When gulls are around, keep your food covered (unless you want to share), and keep your trash covered for those that don’t know the difference!!