Thursday, August 25, 2016

Letting Nature Alone

Perhaps you are one of those people who think raccoons are cute, masked entertainers who wash their food in streams. Little furry bundles who need our help. You are deceived. 

Raccoons are predators. They eat animals. Any small animals they can get their agile paws on. They will fight dogs and cats. They will pull all the plants out of your pond and eat the fish.

This raccoon is in our yard. It is eating a small animal, a rather dried-out animal.

They also shed a parasite in their scat, a nasty parasite that requires heat to kill. Lots of heat, like boiling water or a propane torch. Raccoons like to set up latrines. Latrines that must then be cleaned up and the area sterilized by humans who object to nasty parasites in the soil. 

We know. We have been there. Although, one of the clean-up crew greatly enjoyed the torch and would have liked more things to set on fire sterilize.

Having had a snack, the raccoon is climbing up, up, up a Douglas fir for a lovely little nap.

If you have raccoons in your area, let them forage as the wild animals they are. Do not leave food or water out. Do not leave your doors open. They will come in. We know. We have been there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beware the Ladybug, the Jaws that Bite

There was really only one ladybug, but Photoshop does some fun things.

The nursery rhyme should go like this:

Ladybird, ladybird,
ow ow ow,
What the heck are you biting me for?
Fly away anywhere

Yes, ladybugs bite and it hurts. I was amazed and disheartened the first time this happened to me. How could these lovely little bugs inflict such pain? And to what purpose? Do I look like an aphid?

When this one landed on me, I was prepared and she did bite. She is most likely a Cycloneda sanguinea. Just like her babies, she is a voracious aphid eater. You can watch these efficient predators slurping up the aphids on YouTube.

We have a never-ending clean-out the basement project. One day while bringing things up to disinfect in the sun my leg began to sting. I thought is was from the seed heads of the tall grass.

Back in the basement my leg really hurt. As I brushed it off I saw it wasn't grass, but a daddy long-legs. I didn't know they could bite people. As a child I let them run from hand to hand. This was before I developed a screaming fear of spiders. Daddy long legs, not spiders, although they look darn close.

Just how many legs are there?. 

Lessons learned:

New experiences happen all the time.
It's a jungle out there.