Late Summer Bug Out

July 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm (Big Animals, Big Bugs, Day to Day, Heat, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Snakes, Spiders, Summer, Wasting Time In General, Weird Shit Around House) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Late July, early August. This is the time to be careful. Every day I step outside to see some new type of bug (or snake–HA) trying to give me a fright.

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Not because they are soooo scary but because they surprise me with their quiet, non-moving, oddly, and sometimes ominously, colored presence in the places that I was the day before and they were not. And because of my schedule. I get to see day bugs, like that one above, and night bugs, which seem even bigger and buggier in the semi dark of my backyard.

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I have to look up on the doors and walls and down on the ground. I keep thinking that my lost snake will return like a cat or a homing pigeon, back to stay with the family forever or exact its revenge for abandoning it to the wild. As a bonus, I usually get to be the first one to walk through the webs that our wolf spiders are always trying to build across the door frame.

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Yuck yuck yuck. Three different kinds that I was able to get a picture of, not to mention the countless other spiders I don’t see. This moth (?) was just sitting on my flower pot while I dead headed.

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Did not move or even try to fly away even when I was shaking the planter. Standing his ground. It knows that I am not going to touch it. I mean, look at it. Eeesh. I also have some kind of giant bee or wasp or something buzzing around my butterfly flowers in the front. I am not exaggerating when I say “giant” either. It’s bigger than the average bee/wasp. Probably, conservatively, 2-3 inches in length and with a wider body. It does not sit long enough yet for me to get its photo, but, you know, I will devote the rest of the season to trying. My son just moved some sticks from our small branch pile in the back, and uncovered a swarming bee’s nest. He got stung three times. Luckily he is not allergic and has been stung several times before in his young life. Both of my kids have. I think that might be kind of weird just by itself. Some people never get stung by bees. And yet my kids get stung practically every summer. Hmm. I don’t really have any more reflecting to do on that. Just throwing it out there because I mostly type what I am thinking.  The BF has planned an actual weekend for us. With a schedule and list of things to do and places to go. And I have one more day of work to get through before the fun begins. I may or may not get to post as we go. I plan on putting the actual list here if I can but I don’t want to jinx our plans so I may have to do it after and let you know what we did or didn’t do. Plus, I have to send it to the computer and download and blah blah blah. So here are a bunch of bugs to enjoy while I am gone. Have a nice creepy day.

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FYI. Ending on a positive. This last bug is NOT a real bug. It’s a display from the zoo. But what if it was? Think about it. Later.

 

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Classic Bunny Pose. Right Before We Fed Him To Our New Pet, The Snake.

July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am (Animal Deaths, Babies, Big Animals, Day to Day, Heat, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Snakes, Summer) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Just kidding. However, we do actually have 2 little baby bunnies that seemed to survive the nest we found a few weeks back. Looked like 4 inside, but we only see 2 every day now. Oh? You don’t want to hear about these bunnies? What happened to the snake? Well, I’ll tell ya.

The snake survived fine, overnight, in the pillowcase, the first night into Sunday. We had discussions with family about who to call, what to do, where the snake should go, blah blah blah. We had some nature preserve ideas, natural habitat locations, and I did more research on the internet to find a decent solution we could all live with. We had a pretty good plan in place, but when we woke up Monday morning, it seemed that nature was going to decide for us. The pillowcase was wet, but only in a certain spot, as if something tried to attack it and either the snake was now dead, or it defended itself and released liquids of some defensive sort. I don’t really know enough so I thought, dead. I got gloves, cause, ewww, and when I picked up the bag to untie the cord the snake was rattling and angry. But alive. So we let it out nice and slow like they say to, and it calmed right down. I was able to hold it and inspect it and it looked OK. But, it definitely could not stay in a pillowcase, inside of a plastic tub, in a backyard, for anymore days or nights. Based on more research and a few phone calls, the best course was to let it go in its closest natural habitat. The snake is one of our Illinois snakes, and it is considered mostly passive as far as wild snakes go. And they move around at night in the summer. So, maybe it just got really lost. We have, well, let me say, we had, a wild, wooded area right at the end of our block-set mere weeks ago. But after several episodes of flooding, the town, or county, or whoever, leveled all the trees, bushes, grass, etc., and created a retention/detention pond-type area. It was quite dense and wild. It had coyotes. We saw them over the winter. At any rate, they’re all gone now. The land is flat and I’m sure the animals that didn’t get killed outright, moved themselves out asap. And maybe our little friend finally worked her way over to our backyard looking for shelter. Or she was just passing through and just wasn’t fast enough. OR. She’s been hanging out in our backyard for god knows how long because of all the wood we had piled around and since we moved some of it in our clean-up attempt she had to move too, but we just never saw her until the other day. Eck. We could have been sitting and standing near her for days. Or weeks. Eeesh. Let’s not think about that though. Let’s think about this instead: The nice thing about living in the suburbs is we live very close to, “the end of the suburbs”, which is basically open land and fields and forest preserves. We picked the best one that had everything: Prairie-like land, woods, marshy swamp area, and water. And not visited or populated by many people. Some areas see lots of traffic, the one we picked has very little, in general and by comparison. We drove over there Monday, nice and early. No people. took a walk deep into the back, a nicely wooded and flat area, where the secondary, smaller pond is, and let her go along the tree line. It’s a good spot. Lots of space for a young snake. (We have been thinking juvenile, totally based on color and patches, via the internet again. I could be completely wrong of course. Male. Old. Dying. Who knows.) Anyway this is her new home:

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We let her out of the pillowcase, onto the ground, behind where we took the picture. Thick woods, away from the roads or parking areas, with that view across. She layed for a minute in the grass and the sun. And slowly slid into the trees. Then she was gone.

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Stepping Up Our Wildlife Game

July 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm (Big Animals, Day to Day, For Mason, For Stevie, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Snakes, Summer, Unusual, Weird Shit Around House) (, , , , , , , , , )

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S is for snake! This little lady was laying right in front of our door last night when we got home from shopping at Target. I mention the Target part because we do not live in an area where this type of snake roams free. And truthfully I didn’t even see it. I apparently walked right over it. Stevie too. Mason started yelling from the door, “Are you kidding me?? Did you guys NOT see this giant snake sitting out here on the ground?? Are you kidding me??” I am paraphrasing for time. Add many more swear words and repeat 10 more times. I thought he was kidding. Nope.

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Of course she slithered herself in between the outdoor plastic tub we have and the house. It was near dark when we found her and could not get a good look. She was rattling her tail and beating it against the ground and bricks while trying to move. So we thought rattlesnake. This is my night pic. The only one I could get:

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Looks like a rattlesnake to me. Sounded like one too. So we called the police because we thought they need to know about potentially dangerous animals. They do. BUT. This isn’t really in their scope. They sent an officer who helped us move the tub so we could catch it. We did. Put it in a plastic bin and then into a pillowcase. Left it outside by the garage. Then went to the internet to try and identify. Success! I feel kind of smart too since that is a crappy picture and memory is not as good as you might think when you are terrified that a rattlesnake is going to bite you or try to crawl into your house. Our pretty little snake though, seems to be a Fox Snake. Often mistaken for the rattlesnake in Illinois. Often. Quick FYI’s and possible, relevant, future knowledge, you might need too someday:

Rattlesnake: Similiar colors, but, with a lighter enhancing outline around the dark pattern. And shaped like bow-ties. Thinner in the middle.

Fox Snake: Darker, rectangular pattern with light background. Picture proof obtained.

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Rattlesnake: The rattle on the end.

Fox Snake: No rattle, but tries to mimic the rattle, by vibrating the tail just like a rattlesnake. Yep. True that. It rattled that rattleless tail alot to scare us. But, no rattle. Also confirmed via pictures.

Rattlesnake: Slit eyes with vertical pupils. Vertical. Up and down. Very scary looking.

Fox snake: Round eyes. Round pupil. You can see her pretty eyes in the above pic. And here. We really got in there this morning with the picture taking.

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Rattlesnake: Light bottom. Similar coloring to top.

Fox Snake: Yellow bottom. Or orange. Could not confirm that until today. Yellow.

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Both snakes are available in various lengths, but the Fox Snake is 3-5 feet. Ours is prob 4 feet.

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The head is lighter in color, like the pattern gets blurry or smeared, whereas the rattlesnake head keeps the pattern same as the body.

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And constricting. Bites for defense, but not poison. The internet claims it doesn’t hurt. Hmm. That will remain unconfirmed. Eats mice and rodents. It’s a sub species of rat snake I guess. Not aggressive unless attacked or threatened. Also, most likely female, based on size. We are just going with it. We played with her for quite awhile this morning and she never attacked. She did try and constrict and curl and keep trying to get out of the bin, so I picked her up bare handed and was able to look at her closely and then put her back into the pillowcase without physical harm.

A few phrases come to mind: “Snake charmed.” They do have a mesmerizing magnetic effect that makes you want to keep them and touch them. “If it was a snake it would have bitten me.” I NEVER even saw the damn thing laying straight and flush against the house. Camouflage in action. “Snake wrangling.” We were quite hilarious and ridiculous last night chasing that girl all around the house trying to pick it up with rakes and sticks. Little did we know we could have just grabbed it. But in our defense it was pretty “strikey” last night until we calmed it down.

At any rate, I posted it on Facebook for anyone to have. We can’t keep it, but we won’t kill it or let it loose somewhere. Could be a pet that got free, because it is not really indigenous to our particular location. One more interesting factoid: It is unlawful to catch, keep or kill this snake in Iowa. Endangered I think. Protected maybe. Mason found that info. There are like, 39 different kinds of snakes in Illinois at any one time, (4 are poisonous), and we get an out-of-towner. Seems funny. And don’t worry, I’m not going to just give it to anybody. It’s not food for something else or material for shoes or purses. If no one legitimately can take it and care for it properly, I am calling a private owned pet store we know of–that only deals in fish and reptiles–to see if they want it or can at least take it and fine a home for it. No animals will be harmed in the making of this post.

So, that was our night. We have to go to a grad party now (Yay Jesse!! High School Over!! College Bound!!) and prob won’t be back until dark again. I cannot wait to see what will be hanging outside the back door later on! The lost reptile wildlife of suburban Chicago must know we specialize in taking care of fish and turtles and are hoping to expand the family with snakes. What will it be tonight? I am hoping alligator! Or crocodile! Either way, it’s going to make an awesome photo gallery tomorrow! Last shot because I have one more picture I want to use.

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