This is the endangered Florida Salt Marsh Vole:
Pretty cute, eh? According to the North Florida Ecological Services Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, this darling creature was only discovered in 1979, and ‘is known only from one site at Waccasassa Bay in Levy County, Florida, where it appears to exist in low numbers and has a very restricted range. Any natural or human-caused adverse impact to this species could result in its extinction.’
Admittedly, that report is a bit dated, and well-meaning eco-warriors in Florida have been introducing the F.S.M.V. to salt marshes in other parts of the state. So there might be, literally, dozens of them in the coastal panhandle area. Really good news. I mean, really really good news. Just wonderful, I mean it is simply GREAT news.
OK, you might be wondering why I am whittering on about this obscure creature, and I will tell you that it has to do with the fact that I have been dog-sitting for my neighbour’s labrador retriever, Nigel, while they are on an extended relaxing spa vacation.
I decided to take Nigel and Blanche on a road trip to Florida last week with my dear friend, the ingenious artist, Lanie Gannon. It was one of those awesome and rare girl vacations. She sewed, I knitted. We ate salad and chocolate. We walked the dogs on the beach. And we decided to try out the Grayton Beach State Park Nature Trail. Where there was a slight incident with Nigel, who was, I would like to point out, tightly leashed at the time.
Fortunately, we managed to get him safely over the state line and he is back home in Nashville. to be fair, from his point of view, it was the dog equivalent of a hole-in-one. And Nigel, who is a loving alpha dog, thinks that he is the King of the Forest: