Friday, January 17, 2014

Ever Feel Like You're Being Watched?

For Christmas I received serious LED headlamp. Like, 220 lumens and several strange and fantastical settings level serious.  Mostly I wanted this for after dark dog walking, but I'm sure I'll use it for other after dark yard tasks as well as when I go under the house.  POW!

This was a close as I could come to what I saw: just the eyes and some tree trunks, of course noe green misty stuff for me.  Photo: Ralph Martin

Both Eric and I been using it since Christmas night and last week I saw what I'd wanted the light for seeing and what I was pretty sure I did not want to see.  EYES! A pair of green glowing eyes looking in Betty's and my direction from downwind in the trees on the other side of the fence-that-is-not-an-actual-barrier.  They didn't seem high enough off of the ground to be deer so I assumed it was a fox since they're plentiful and short.  My internet searching hasn't been as productive as I'd hoped, especially for images, but it has been a bit of a roller coaster ride making me feel more like I saw something like this.

There are raccoon, but you get what I mean: post incident minor freak out.

Here are some things I found for various critters that are known to be around here.

(From Predator Masters Forums)
Coyote--eyeshine is greenish gold.
Gray Wolf--eyeshine is greenish orange.
Red Wolf--eyeshine is gold to bluish green.
Mt lion--eyeshine is greenish gold.
Bobcat--eyeshine is greenish gold.
Nothing on foxes.

(From Sunstar-Solutions)

(From a public Q & A forum called Blurtit)
Fox's [sic]eyes are green at night.

(From's Ask-a-bear page)
In photos, the glow ranges from yellow to yellowish orange, though some people report seeing red or green. (Variations in color between species often come from the presence of nutrients like riboflavin, distortions in the lens, and iris color.) Black bears also appear yellow to orange, though people sometimes report seeing red.
Bottom line: You're unlikely to identify my species at night solely by shining a light into my eyes.

(From Survivalist Boards)
It [helps] to have a known reference for height of eyes from the ground. Or good enough light to sense the ground. Deer are clearly taller than Bear, Coyote, Puma, Bobcats, etc.
I still have not found anything about the color being a definitive point of identification. The type of light being used without question can play a role in that.

Sooooo, based on the height, what we know from our experience of who's hanging around here a lot*, and what I really want (and don't want) it to have been, I'm going with fox.  Yup, definitely fox; the trendy little predator that generally won't even mess with a full-grown house cat.

I couldn't find a way to credit this great photo, if you know better ways for me to find out, I'd love to credit this.

*We've both seen fox scat and tracks on multiple occasions in the last several weeks.

ADDENDUM: Not 5 minutes after finishing this post, which I admit got me feeling kind of edgy, I took Betty out for last-call potties and saw another pair of eyes! This time they were on the opposite side of the house, but still on the other side of the fence-that-is-not-an-actual-barrier.  Betty did her business and we came in. I told Eric that I just saw more and this time he wanted to come have a look. Once he spotted them he wanted a closer look, but I was not going out there, so I handed over the head lamp and watched him venture ever nearer... nearer to the deer.  D'oh!  But I didn't want to waste all my efforts and research and overcoming of irrational fears up there ^ and I didn't want to waste that adorable fox photo, so I decided to update at the bottom, to bring you along on my journey, you lucky so-and-so's.

Photo: Royalty-free stock photos.

When I went back out a few minutes later with Delia there were two pairs of eyes and they were moving through the forest parallel-ish to the fence line, by the time she had completed her task and we were going back inside they were running which was kind of freaky to see. I felt a little bad that maybe we'd scared them even though it's good for them to be scared of people and dogs.  I now assume that they were further away than I thought which is why they looked closer to the ground, they were possibly a little uphill from me, too, which I know I wasn't taking into account.


  1. *Giggle* Kinda like Pandora's box, innit? If you want some real surprises, set yourself up with an IR motion-triggered'll be surprised at how many visitors you're probably getting at night! :)

  2. We definitely want to set some of that business into action! I can tell by the PPA (poops per acre) on our property that we get our fair share of deer and bears. We hear a lot of fox talk and see them quite a bit, but I really want to see what and who is going on and by out there!

  3. Freaky! We had a family of racoons visit our cherry tree and we would get pics from our kitchen window just like the one you posted. It was cool and scary at the same time, lol. I agree you should set up a night camera, that would be really interesting to watch the animal behavior. :)

    1. And I think it might be our only hope of seeing a coyote, wolf or cougar!

  4. I git skeert reading that!!! What fun!


It feels so good to read comments! If you're leaving one (or more!), THANK YOU! If you're not... c'mon, already!