Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Monkey prints in the snow

Adult and juvenile monkey prints at 5,000ft, heading for Asaksa-Dake, Tadami.

As the path gradually climbed into snow it became clear that we weren't alone. This clean white paper had taken impressions, prints entering from the left and right, following the path and eventually turning back into the woods. It gave the sense that all year, though it had felt as if the woods were largely unpopulated, there had been invisible creatures on the leaf litter and on the moss, alert and seeing, even if unseen, pausing until the danger had moved on. Now their footprints betrayed them, but also showed that this path was theirs as much as ours.

Rear monkey paws on the left, front on the right. The dark two are a Japanese hare's.

At first there were a single monkey's prints, heading up the mountain just as we were. Do they use these paths to move quickly between areas? I looked around at the unpromising bare trees and bedraggled bamboo, and wondered what they were living on.
Adult and young monkey prints

Japanese hare prints. Each set of four was a one metre leap apart.

Beautiful fur from a Japanese Hare in it's winter coat, probably eaten by a fox


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