Spanky, a New Face, and More - UPDATE March 3, 2021

Spanky

Today, Spanky began removing his old foot pads, biting and clawing at them as we captured in the beginning of this 3 minute and 20 seconds video. https://youtu.be/mbKgKJaUbso The end of the video is of him playing.Spanky's tongueSpanky's tongue

Two days ago, Spanky showed us something we had never seen about him—his big tongue hanging far out of the side of his mouth as shown in this 45-second video. https://youtu.be/_LJ88BW0F00 This is the same tongue that he had trouble extending far enough beyond his lips to ingest food like other bears do. How can this be explained? The truth is that I’m not really sure. But let me take a stab at it, guessing that he was born tongue-tied and it took him years to grow out of that like some human babies do as their mouths get bigger and the frenulum grows longer. The frenulum is the cord that stretches from under the tongue to the floor of the mouth and in some individuals is too short or too strong to allow normal tongue movement, i.e., are tongue-tied. After seeing him grow up unable to extend his tongue the usual distance to touch food and pull it into his mouth, we were surprised at the couple inches he could stick his tongue out to lick up his urine a few days ago. We were even more surprised to see his tongue come far out of the side of his mouth as we captured yesterday in the video. We wondered if it was easier for him to have his tongue go sideways than forward. We’ll all keep watching and be glad for the opportunity to learn about this special bear.

Mink GuitarMink Guitar RaccoonFirst Raccoon

 

Out the window a couple days ago on March 1st was the first raccoon of the year—the same day that the first woodchuck was seen. This evening, the raccoon is back. The first one to spot him tonight was Spot the mink who exited in a hurry. She weighs less than two pounds and the raccoon is probably 15 to 20 pounds.

Both Guitar and Spot have been regulars lately with Guitar going to the garage and the shed as if searching for Spot. This is mating season for minks in Minnesota and we believe these two are a male and a female. That makes us hope to see little minks in April or early May.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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