This is a Public Service Geocache to inform you of various dangerous animals that inhabit our region, and teach you how to recognize, avoid, and defend yourself against them.
Have you ever been walking in the woods and were startled when a small branch suddenly came crashing down towards you out of nowhere? While you may have thought it a coincidence, you more than likely just had a run-in with an Argopelter.
Also known as Didelphis Vulgaris Americanus, the Argopelter may or may not be a rare animal. It is hard to be certain of the species’ population count since they are extremely reclusive and stealthy creatures. The last recorded specimen to have been captured was in 1854 by a lumberjack named Elijah Dunlop, who described it in a letter as ‘A monstros rodential beaste, gifted at heaving forth sticks of woode with neigh great force and accuracy faire lethale'.
Piecing together such bits of folklore, scientists speculate the Argopelter to be an offshoot of the Opossum and/or Squirrel, but with greater upper body strength and possibly opposable thumbs. They prefer to spend their time near trees, and tend to nest in areas with an ample supply of easily breakable branches, such as a stand of Firs or similar evergreens.
While not especially aggressive, the Argopelter has developed a unique way of defending its territory when it feels threatened. As stated in the observations of Mr. Dunlop, the creature will hurl branches towards any perceived intruder. Depending on the age and experience of the specimen encountered, these missiles can be wildly off target, or accurate to the point of poking an eye out.
The saving grace of this potentially dangerous behavior is that Argopelters are more or less cowards. After throwing one or two sticks, they tend to go into hiding and wait for the danger to pass. Still, when you're out for a hike and hear the sound of falling branches, it is a good idea to head in the opposite direction. An Argopelter may be waiting for you ahead.
The container is a sandwich-sized Lock N Lock, but the camo makes it somewhat larger overall.
This cache was placed for Geo Jamboree 5, and there are many other caches to be had in this great park. Make a day of your visit, and see how many you can find!