The Maine’s Wedge-Legde Chomper is a harmless cousin of the more well known and dangerous Slide-Rock Bolter (pictured) found in the Western United States. The slide-rock bolter uses its grab-hook tail to hang from the top of steep rocky peaks and slide down to devour unsuspecting passersby. The wedge-ledge chomper is also a mountain dweller but is docile and content to carve out steps and squared ridge formations on Maine’s granite mountains. They chew on the rocks they scrape off, somehow gaining nutrition from them before passing them more or less unchanged, though perhaps a bit smaller. Not prone to wander, the shy chompers move slowly along the ridges. They have keen hearing and hunch over, remaining motionless for hours, whenever anyone approaches. Thanks to their perfect camouflage they are typically mistaken for lonely boulders. They prefer open ridges and other mountainous places with exposed rocks. Like the slide-rock bolter, their feeding behavior can sometimes cause massive slides down steeper mountains like the one my son is contemplating across the Great Basin of Katahdin.
The wedge-ledge chomper is one of many so-called fearsome critters of the lumberwoods which can be found in Maine. This gentle fellow has a special place in my heart as I grew up hearing stories about them from my grandfather right here in Central Maine. I’ve spent many hours studying them in their natural habitat. You can find out much more about Maine’s wedge-ledge chomper, and 40 other mysterious creatures in “Mythical Creatures of Maine”, available for pre-order or wherever fine books are sold on 9/1/2021! Preorder a signed copy: https://tinyurl.com/mythicalcreaturesofmaine
Slide-rock bolter illustration credit: Coert du Bois, 1910