White-tailed deer have become locally more common not only in open woods and fields, but throughout suburban backyards as well. They enjoy eating garden vegetables and many ornamental plants used in landscaping.
Sometimes called a "fisher cat", these creatures are not "cats" at all, but a member of the weasel family. Fishers are fast, efficient hunters and excellent climbers. They are not often seen, but may be aggressive if cornered by people or pets.
Sheep Pasture is home to several foxes. The fields and meadows help to provide food for the foxes, including voles, moles, mice, berries, and other tasty treats.
People often ask if there are coyote living at Sheep Pasture, because they never see them. There are, but we see their tracks more often than the animals themselves. Coyotes generally avoid contact with humans, though many coyote populations survive quite well in urban or suburban environments.
Raccoons are largely nocturnal, so you are more likely to see their hand-shaped footprints during your walk than the familiar masked and striped-tail animal. Water loving animals, check around waterways and even puddles to spot their prints.
Snapping turtles spend the majority of their time in the water, so many visitors will never see them at all. However, these turtles do come out onto land to lay eggs, sometimes traveling quite a distance to find the precise spot they want. If you see a snapping turtle, please do not approach it, as they have a strong bite.
The Quest Brook provides a home to small eels throughout its length. In the summer of 2014, drought conditions and low water levels allowed us to see many of the brook's residents that often hide beneath the surface, including eels, crayfish, pickerel, and other freshwater species. Often overlooked as an important part of the ecosystem, eels are rarely seen by casual visitors.
This is just a sample of the diverse animal life that lives at and around Sheep Pasture throughout the year. Although you may never see any of them directly, knowing that the property provides homes, food, and safety for these animals is just one of many important reasons to continue to preserve and care for our environment.