I was just scrubbing out the kitchen sink when the dogs started bark-bark-barking and rushed out their (own) screen door. The barking had that "tone" that you recognize as, "Hmmm, maybe I'd better go check things out!"
Standing under the front entrance, I heard it alright - whatever "it" is / was. And, for the last 20 minutes, I've been paging through my 'Mammals of Minnesota' book to try to figure out what the heck it was! What stumps me is its sound. It made an almost metallic sound, 4 times each time (I think), as it moved through the woods, "Chhhht, chhht, chhht, chht." Like it was a rattlesnake on four legs - shaking its rattle like a slow maraca - except the "cchhhht"s were definitely shorter and more defined than the sound of a rattlesnake's rattle. And, it sounded pretty big . . . although we all know that a chipmunk can sound HUGE when you're trying to fall asleep while on your first-ever camping trip, too! ;)
So, the defining features I have are this:
- It sounded big.
- It sounded like it was on the ground (not necessarily up in the trees).
- The dogs did not go after it . . . which means that either it was nothing they felt they needed to offer me protection from OR it was big/fierce enough for them to be smart enough to not attempt homeland defense!
- It's, at least partly, nocturnal.
- It made a metallic sound that I've never before heard.