Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bears, Coyotes and Fisher Cats--And A Contest Until 10/10.

So today is sort of a random discussion on researching animal life for your novel and a contest because I feel like giving stuff away.

I start my day with a phone call from a friend and the conversation turns to a small dog owned by relatives. She was worried about it getting eaten or mauled by a bear.

My response? "Well, up here the bears wouldn't bother it, but it probably would become victim of a coyote or a fisher cat."

She had no clue what a fisher cat was, and envisioned some mountain lion creature creeping and eating little dogs. It's not. It's this (and I don't own the photo, the dude's name is there and he gets all the credit.)

It's a weasel-like creature and they're pretty fierce despite not being that big (maybe 11 pounds.) I've never seen one but I've heard them shriek in the night--scary, blood-curdling, murderer with a knife shrieking. Many a cat and small dog have fallen victim to these nocturnal, crafty creatures.

The coyotes in the area are also happy to relieve you of your small cat or dog. We've had several news stories where a poor pup has fallen victim to a pack of hungry coyotes. I have heard them off in the corner of our hay field, yipping and making a commotion. The first time I heard them I had thought the neighborhood kids were having a loud, raucous party. They're that rude.

The subject then turned to researching what animals live in your story's area so you don't make mistakes. The little details are important to me, and (being a geeky girl) often wonder what animals or even bugs reside where my characters reside. I've come to discover not all areas have fireflies that flicker in the dusk. Bears here in CT are interested in bird seed and trash, not people. When I lived in Maine we didn't have cicadas--we had to come to CT as kids to hear them buzzing in the trees. We also had red squirrels instead of the normal gray ones, which I hadn't seen until I moved south. I'm not sure if that's true now. This isn't animal-related, but a friend once read a book where the hero gathered apples from a tree and ate them--in spring. Yeah, not tasty apples.

So my point is definitely research these little details to make sure someone in that area isn't going to laugh hysterically at your gator swimming in the ocean. Unless it's an animal gone wrong story, like a boa constrictor set free in the Northeast during the summer. Once winter comes, that sucker is going to be a snake Popsicle. But if you're devil-bound on having a snowy owl swoop in, make sure the state gets visits from them first. Your readers will thank you.

So because you stuck through that random bit of nonsense, you can help me out. What animals live in your area? Leave me your email, state and animals in your area and I'll offer up a back list e-book of your choice and a  $10 Amazon gift card. Because it's late in the day and guests keep arriving, I'll keep the contest open until 10/10.

Ready? Set? Gimmie some animals!


Jill Morgan said...

State: Idaho
Animals - Bat - spotted and Pacific western big-eared
Grizzly bear
Woodland Caribou
North American Lynx
Kangaroo mouse
Bighorn Sheep
Gray Wolf
email -

Nitrous said...
White tail deer, squirrels, beavers, ground hogs, chipmunks and lots of darling stinky skunks (but they are so cute)

Kim Muhl said...

I heard of a fisher cat but never encountered one. (thank goodness)!!

We have deer, fox, coyotes, squirrels, lots of stray cats, rabbits, groundhogs, skunks, stink bugs, box elder beetles, and lots of others.

Nova said...

Kentucky! black bears, deer, wolves, skunks, coyotes, copperhead snake, foxes, elks, bats, rattlesnakes, and brown recluse spiders. sparkle40175 AT hotmail Dot com

Mia Downing said...

wow, these animals are awesome! Elk in KY? Caribou and lynx in Idaho? PA isn't so much of a surprise, but I do like the stinky skunks and box elder beetles. :) Keep them coming!

Lori Mitchell said...

South Carolina: alligators, coyotes, deer, armadillos, raccoons, foxes, opposums, etc.
Thanks for the chance!

Lori Mitchell said...

Forgot my email!
lorimitchell257 at yahoo dot com

Sheri Vidal said...


Quail, bears, coyotes, mountain lions, chuckars, bighorn sheep, deer, rattlesnakes, suicidal jackrabbits(ok, they only seem suicidal)

smurfettev AT Gmail DOT com

Tracey Steinbach said...

Black bears, deer, skunks, coyotes, snakes, bats

CS Patra said...

North Carolina
Turkeys, hawks, deer, various snakes (poisonous and non-poisonous), box turtles (our official state reptile), cardinals, blue jays, bears, and probably a lot more I can't remember.

lynnestjames said...

I live in Florida now - and we have gators, raccoons, squirrels (but they are smaller than northern ones), lady bugs, these horrible things called love bugs, red ants, ghost ants, lizards, geckos, woodpeckers, armadillos, wild pigs, bald eagles, osprey, wood storks, sand hill cranes, egrets, blue herons, ibis, just to name a few. We are quite the wild life haven. :)

amy bowens said...

In Maryland we have many animals white-tailed deer, sika deer ,Elk, Bobcats, Eastern Mountain Lion, Bats, Delamrva Fox Squirrel, fisher's long-tailed weasel, mink, northern river otter, stripped skunk, black bears, coyotes, muskrat, Gray wolf, red fox, gray fox, and we have many sea-creatures as well. We also have a bug called a stink bug it is from korea and tawian and they are so gross. They do not like cold weather so they stalk the outside of your house and as soon as you open your door they try to get in . They also put off a smell when they feel they are threatened or killed and some say it smells like sweat, but like I said they are just plain nasty. Thanks for listening to me ramble on. Enjoyed your post. Amy

Trish Bowers said...

South Dakota: Deer, Pheasants, gophers, prairie dogs, buffalo, antelope, mountain lion and we cant forget the popular Jackalope. LOL

Cheryl M said...

Darn it, Amy beat me to it [tried to post but it got hung up]

According to the state's website "Maryland is home to an estimated 90 species of mammals, 93 species and subspecies of reptiles and amphibians, over 400 species of birds and several hundred species of marine and freshwater fishes. An untold number of insect and other invertebrate species (crustaceans, spiders, mollusks, etc) also reside here. Of all of these thousands of creatures, over 300 are rare. One hundred and ten of these species are designated as Threatened or Endangered in Maryland and are afforded protection under the State Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act."

Porcupines, Raccoons, Eastern Mole, Beavers, and the biggest, noisiest Crows ever created [to add to what Amy listed].

Theresa said...

In Kentucky we also have coyotes, fox, deer, and turkey. This summer there were tons of cute little bunnies!

Stacey said...

Well, I am currently in Nevada - Black Widows (I kill at least 5 a day), rattlesnakes (an others), cockroaches, sad looking squirrels and bunnies, lizards, ducks, geese, swans, fire ants, coyotes, scorpions, desert tortoises, roadrunners, bats, and tons of little bugs that just drive me crazy ;) - Most of that is all in the city even!

Being from Michigan...there are bears, fishflies, deer, coyote, raccoon, lots of snakes and spiders, muskrats, lots of different kinds of fish, turkey, pheasant, suck, geese, beavers, moose, bats, cougar, wolverines, elk, wolves, flying squirrels, pigs....ok you made me miss Michigan


Sandy Emers said...

In Florida we have dolphins, manatees, raccoons, opossums, skunks, turtles, blue jays, cardinals, buzzards, doves, Florida panthers, cougars, bobcats, alligators, bats, squirrels, coyotes, armadillos, and of course our state bird - Mosquitos.

Julie Mishler said...

State: Pennsylvania
Animals: Lots and lots of deer, cows, horses, cats, dogs, grey squirrels, chimpmunks, rabbits, birds (pick your choice) and hmmm well turkey, ring necks, pheasants, etc...
I live in the country, lots and lots of farms and fields. It is beautiful right now with the leaves changing to the fall colors.

Kirstie Hicks said...

Native to where I live we have a creature known as the bogan. A simple creature with a taste for Jack Daniels and id oftrn hypnotised by the enchanting strains of ACDC and Metallica. The male of the species is recognised by a colourful flannelette top and skinny leg jeans. The male is known to lure the female of it's speices with a sexist wolf whistle and gyrating crotch grabbing. For further insight into this interesting creature go to

Vivian Situ Reads said...

I live in Louisiana, and we're famous for our cajun food, gumbo, and gators! We went to this state park close from where we live and there were signs everywhere like 'beware of gators' or 'do not feed gators' (uh, yeah. Like that's gonna happen).
My email add is: viviancdelavega 'at' gmail 'dot' com.

Jacqui T said...

where I live in Scotland we have loads and loads of Foxes, wild rabbits some wild cats, badgers and occasionally a deer. lots and lots of magpies, pigeons, swans, ducks, crows, seagulls and robins.

Jacqui T said...

I should add that we DONT have any haggis nearby as they are in the highlands and I live in the central belt

Dragon Momma said...

dragn_lady at yahoo dot com

Georgia, North East

We have grey squirrels, coyote (they like my back yard), deer, the ever so odd bob cat. Humming birds, cardinals, robins, blue jays, Cooper's hawks, great blue heron. A week and a half ago, my oldest daughter, my neighbor and I watched a bald eagle fly over head. We have had reports and pics of 'gators in my local lake. A few, actually, at last count. The usual migratory birds of course.

Now..we also have snakes. Copper heads, diamond backs, water moccasins....scorpions(itty bitty usually and black) and of course wolf spiders, black widows, orb spiders (think Charlotte from Charlotte's Web). Centipedes are here too and very creepy looking. Cicadas too.

There... :p Now you have a good listing for a possible book in NE Georgia. :p

Stacy Wilson

btw....many years ago, a fisher "adopted" my mom one winter. She lived near Quabbin in MA. She thought it was a cat, so she kept leaving food out for it. We discovered it was NOT a cat one day, when it left HER food....a wood duck. LOL!

DebbieW said...


Here in Virginia , we have salamanders, like the Eastern Hellbenders, bull frogs, many varieties of snakes.Wood rats, shrews, cottontails, beavers, bats, black bears, jackrabbits, bobcats, flying squirrels, minks, muskrats, chipmunks, coyotes, foxes, moles,cougars, skunks, wolves, weasels, otters, raccoons, porcupines, deer, hares, opossum, woodchucks, vultures, falcons, raptors eagles, woodpeckers, butterflies, damselflies dragonflies, whales & dolphins. Hmm....I'm sure I left lots off. :)

annie grafos said...

here in NSW, Australia...were have funnel web spiders, redback spiders, white tailed spider (mmm that one's bite causes your skin to start to die), red belly black snakes, tiger snakes, brown snakes, king brown snakes, death adders (although if you get bitten you are mostly subtracted so I think they should be called death sub-tractors), koalas (that are not bears), drop bears, kangaroos, wallabys, blue ringed octopus, Box Jelly fish, Dingos, canetoads ( good for practicing your golf swing), bearded dragons, goannas (if you stand still they will run up you thinking you are a tree), corroboree frogs, emus, Magpies, great white sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks, fresh water crocodiles, blue bottles...and that's just NSW don't get me started on the rest of Australia...

Emily Kirkpatrick said...

West Virginia, Bear, Deer, Coyotes, Bobcats, Hawks, Rabbits, Foxes, Raccoon's, possums, skunks, porcupines, ground hogs, snakes, bats, beavers, a wide variety of fish and birds, and that's just what came to mind. I probably left out quite a few!

Lea-Ellen B. said...

I my area of western IL (by the Mississippi River) we have fish, deer, coyotes, birds, duck, geese, skunks, possums, moles, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, frogs, turtles, field mice and probably other animals I can't think of right now. (Horses, goats, chicken, cows, pigs & dogs & cats of course that people own.)

Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}

bn100 said...

birds, squirrels

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Jessica Mahler said...

Coming in late, but I grew up in Northern New Jersey:
White tailed deer, black bear, rabbits, skunk, raccoon, red fox, chipmunks, possum, woodchucks, red tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, catbirds (it's a bird, their call sounds like a cat meowing. Dark grey with a black cap.), orioles, robins, cardinals, owls (don't know what kind, but I'll never forget the night one killed a rabbit outside my window!), egrets, great blue herons, mallard ducks, Canada geese, lots of frogs, cicadas, flashing fire flies, red lady bugs, daddy-long-legs, moles, crows, squirrels, mice, bats, rats, black widow and brown recluse spiders, various snakes. There were coyotes in South Jersey, don't know if they moved north.

(I lived 20 min from NYC near Paramus, and almost all of these were there. We were in a relatively un-swampy part of the state, so wading birds I saw in the Everglades and elsewhere in north Jersey, but not around my home)

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