Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Custer State Park Critters

At Custer State Park, there are a lot of critters to see.  There are many roads which wind throughout the park and your chances of seeing some wildlife are excellent.  The roads are easy to find; some are gravel, some are paved. Just head out and keep your eyes open!

The first animals we saw were prairie dogs.  When we were stationed in Texas, we went through a wildlife park where they sold bags of food for you to give to the animals as you drove through the park.  The prairie dogs were the first ones to come a runnin' for the food.  These ones clearly new they were not getting fed (it's against the rules) and kept their distance.

We spotted a herd of buffalo on our first outing as well as this solitary fellow who didn't look much like he was impressed with the paparazzi.

 Not sure what Texas Longhorns were doing in South Dakota, but I guess everyone needs a change now and then.

 
The no feeding rule does not apply to the donkeys.  They are the one animal in the park that you are allowed to feed and don't think they don't know it.  They hang out in the road and you won't be going anywhere for a while for all the stopped cars and stopped donkeys.

They show no embarrassment at coming right over and asking for a nibble of whatever you've got.

Fortunately we had apples in the cooler so we were able to share.  That was pretty cool.  The donkeys don't hang out when you are out of food.  They move right on to the next car and discard you like a used napkins.  We took pictures of them and everything but apparently we weren't special to them.

We saw lots of antelope.  Lots and lots.  Every day. 

And some wild goats who, coincidentally, give a great incentive to not feed wild animals.

Apparently in years past, people would feed wild animals anyway, even though everyone everywhere tells you not to.  I'm sure everyone thought it was cute and just one time wouldn't hurt.  Problem is, there were a lot of people who were giving the animals "just one" treat.  The goats in particular really liked this set-up and they became disgruntled when people didn't feed them.  And they would head-butt these folks to let them know they weren't happy that the snacks weren't being doled out in a timely manner.  But they head-butted a few people right over some cliffs.  And the people died.  And the goats still didn't get a snack, but that didn't seem to be a lesson learned for the goats.  The goats had to be *ahem* removed to a safe little farm somewhere.

So don't feed the wildlife, people.

(Except for the donkeys)

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