Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Citrus County Wildlife

 

Helen has been walking around the block with a neighbor up the street. It’s not everyday, but several times a week. Helen has seen a few animals and has been taking a camera along to get a picture or two.

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Here’s Helen, all ready to get going before it gets too hot.

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And here is Darlene ready to set off into the wilds of our neighborhood.

We’ll start with a picture taken right here in our yard.

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This spider is one of many that live on our property. I suppose that they do a good job of catching bugs with their massive webs. I have seen lizards caught in the web because the webs are so strong. The spiders a a bit smaller than a woman’s hand, so we’re not talking about a little spider. They are all over our yard and are a real pain in the neck when you encounter the web as you pass through the woods. I have seen one web that extends to the power lines running above the street. If a web gets destroyed, you will find it rebuilt the next day. It is awesome how they can string a web across large areas of the yard.

 

Heading down the street and taking a right turn on Avon, there is a Gopher Tortoise residing off the north side of the road. They are BIG animals and their dens provide havens for all kinds of animals. In the winter, snakes will bunk with the tortoise to keep warm. This guy has been living here for quite a number of years.

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This tortoise is a drab plain looking animal, but fascinating none the less. They can reach a length of 16 inches, weigh 30 pounds, and live 75 to 78 years. Their “den” can extend 3 feet down and go horizontal for almost 50 feet. The can often be seen crossing the street and someone will frequently stop and help them across. This is a good thing because they are an endangered species and many do not make it across the street.

 

Next, Helen and Darlene found a dog and his friend.

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As you can see, the dog seems to be doing OK. His friend, not so much.

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This is a dead armadillo, a very common sight along the roads of Florida and a main food source for buzzards and vultures. When you see a big party of vultures at the side of the road, you can assume that an armadillo is the entrĂ©e. When I first started at Florida Power in 1985, two of my co-workers argued over who was going to take the road kill armadillo home for supper. Of course they claimed it tasted just like chicken, but it had been killed sometime in the night and they wouldn’t actually get it until after 4:00 in the afternoon. UGH!!

 

Next are some animals that I am not aware of and I don’t know where they live in our area.

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I know that the girls don’t walk very far, so they have to be close. It pleases me greatly to see that they all appear to be well cared for and well fed. That’s often a problem in these parts where the old timers in the area feel that animals are completely capable of caring for themselves.

 

Now, this morning I went to my physical therapy session to work on a problem with my hip. When I got home, Helen had the pictures of our most recent visitor.

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We remember the saying “red and yellow-kill a fellow…red and black is good for Jack”. Therefore this intruder on our patio was, indeed, an Eastern Coral Snake, related to the Cobra and the Mamba. Their venom is among the most toxic in the world, but the Coral Snake is actually very docile.

When Donna and Sam were here in May, we found the first Coral Snake we had seen in 32 years here. It was flatter than a pancake lying out on the street.

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This was a full grown Coral Snake and was on the large side at that. Helen went out with a broom to shoo him (or her) out  of our screened enclosure. It found another, faster route out and Helen could see where it had made it’s entrance. Has Helen gotten brave, or what? Again, I missed all the fun! Years ago I was working the night shift when Helen had to deal with a large Opossum in the pool. I’m just lucky I guess.

 

Later.

2 comments:

  1. Great pics, you guys sure have some critters in the neighborhood,looks like Helen is doing fine on her walks, I hope the snake goes away and keeps away from the girls. I know Rigg's would want to confront it.Don't think they are instinctively afraid of snakes like wives are. You guys must be getting close to your winter trip.Don't know what we will do yet, but would like to get away for at least a month or two. Give the girls a pet from all of us. Sam &Donna, also Rigg's and Sadie...

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  2. Enjoyed reading your post. Pictures are great especially the spider in web looks awesome.

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