Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fun With Wildlife

“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” - W. C. Fields

Once upon a time, there was an itty bitty garter snake with eyes far bigger than any other part of him. But he was stealthy and he was quick and ... SNAP!! He got himself a meal.

Unfortunately for him, the meal was too big to fit in his itty bitty mouth. So there they lay, in the grass: snake refusing to let go, despite the fact his prey wouldn't slide down his throat (and even if it did, it would kill him), and prey struggling in vain to go free.

Until a savior in pink appeared and called, "MOM! There's a snake out here with a toad far too big for it."

And Mom, who was in the middle of weeding, came to the rescue. She stepped on the snake's tail, causing it to open its mouth. The toad, a bit stunned, only moved away an inch or two. And the snake, being nobody's fool, tried to run... er... slither away.

But he hadn't counted on the speed and fearlessness of Mom who caught both Snake and Toad for a photo op.



Toad was handed off to DD to put in the garden, but Snake got to hang out with us a little while.





Yes, I'm raising a DD who has little fear of anything in the wild -- though she's not too crazy about yellow jackets or other critters in the "crazy stinging" family.

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In other wildlife news, we had another release in Pillar Place: Swallowtail. Ethel hatched! We were actually able to watch her emerge from her pupa and pump up her wings. Unfortunately, she's in the box with Carole, so I couldn't open it up for pictures. I took one through the netting of her fat little behind and crumpled wings because I'm always amazed at how they begin:



We waited and watched and hoped this one would finally be female... and she WAS! Meet Ethel:




You can tell that Ethel is female from how blue the bottom spots on her wings are. Compare her to Daniel:



See how yellow the spots are on his wings?

Also, the females are significantly larger than the males. We think Hannah will hatch today -- her pupa is getting quite dark. We have only Bugsy and Carole left (and maybe Greg and Fiona... but I have a BAD feeling they are going to overwinter).

Still no monarch eggs. Last year, we found our first eggs on July 15th. Not this year.

:-(

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9 comments:

Ceri Hebert said...

I have no problem with snakes, and I don't think my kids do. Spiders I don't like; the bigger they are the more squeamish I get, but generally if they keep their distance I won't bother them. Mosquitoes, black flies and other biting and stinging nasties don't qualify for my empathy.

Beautiful butterflies! I do love butterflies.

Judy said...

Love the fable of the snake and the frog....moral: be careful of how much you try to swallow. At least it didn't try to swallow him.... :-)

MJFredrick said...

You are such a cool mom ;)

Dru said...

The butterflies are beautiful. I love the blue spots on Ethel.

I enjoyed your serialized account of how the toad was saved from being the snake's meal. WTG Mom!

I have one word for snakes: eeewww

Have a good Thursday.

MomJane said...

I wish I had a toad in my garden. It would have a variety of bugs for meals. Loved the pictures.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Whoa. Cool pics. Those butterflies are gorgeous!

Brandy said...

Love the story of the snake and toad! You are a way braver Mom than I am. *G* I think Ethel is WAY prettier than Daniel. No offense to Daniel, of course. *G*

I hope you have a great day!

Anne-Kathrine said...

LOL love the story and pics of the snake and toad! Very cool.

Yay on the butterflies!

groovyoldlady said...

LOVE the snake and toad toad story.

My very girly little ladies loves all things crawly and even asked me yesterday if we could raise a baby slug because it was "so cute".