Bob Maass's Page

 

Nighttime Adventures on Dobsis Lake

 

As he was about to head out to the outhouse, a guest cast about the beam of his flashlight from the back steps of our camp to assure himself that he would not stumble upon a four legged intruder.  With a slight note of concern in his voice, he called to me and questioned, What has green eyes?  I replied, I dont know.  As I looked over his shoulder, I could see those eyes.  The creature was about fifty feet behind the camp but from the height of the eyes I could tell that it -- whatever it was -- was not a tall animal, and probably fairly small.  Our guest, however, decided that his trip to the outhouse was not as urgent as he had thought.

 

 Back home on Long Island the following winter, I decided to do some research in the library of the local museum where I have my part-time retirement job.  I found some information that I want to share should you be wandering around your camp at night and see a pair of eyes staring back at you in the beam of your flashlight.

 

I had not realized that the eyeshine of mammals can be distinctive and therefore quite helpful in identification.  Here is a list of mammals with the eyeshine of each:

 

Coyote  greenish gold
Mink  yellowish green
Mountain Lion  greenish gold
Opossum dull orange    
Otter pale amber
Porcupine deep red
Skunk deep amber
Snowshoe Hare orange
Wolf  greenish orange

 

While the opossum is common in most of New England, Im not sure that its range extends to Maine, and the wolf has been extinct in Maine for many years.  However, there has been increasing talk of reintroducing the wolf to Northern Maine.  As for the mountain lion, also known as the cougar or panther, there have been reports of recent sightings in Maine.  Mary Gaskill and her late husband Clint swore to me a few years ago that they saw a panther lope across the baseball field in Springfield.

 

At any rate, I think the creature that my guest spotted that night was probably a mink.  Good luck to you in your future hunting by eyeshine at your camp.

 

                                                       Bob Maass