Essays

Essay — Fossorial herbivory

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Image source: openclipart.org

 

Wondering about the post title? To clear up any confusion, we’ll dig right into this essay and give you the dirt on the words of the week. They are

Image source: Screen capture by HL Carpenter

 

and

Image source: Screen capture by HL Carpenter

 

Why such weird words? Because we found this

Image source: HL Carpenter

 

in Carpenter Country this week.

Yep, that’s a mound of dirt. Can you guess what created this mighty fine mound of dirt? We dug up a mug shot of the culprit as a hint.

Image source: wpclipart.com

 

Still not sure? Okay, here’s another hint. These wily little critters eat plant roots (herbivory), live to tunnel (they’re fossorial) and can move more than a ton of sandy earth in a single year. The tunneling aerates and enriches the soil, and the abandoned tunnels shelter snakes, turtles, and lizards, as well as small mammals.

Give up? If you live in the southeast you might call this mighty excavator a pocket gopher, a “sandy mounder”, a salamander, or if you want to get specific, Geomys pinetis.

We call our environmental engineer Digger, because that’s what a pocket gopher does best, and we were so impressed with Digger’s digging we featured her in this week’s book bubble.

Image source: Screen capture by HL Carpenter

 

 

What did you dig into this week?

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter duo who write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit Carpenter Country at hlcarpenter.com.

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