Sunday, February 8, 2009

Critters and varmints

I've decided to do a post on all the animals from last year that were nice enough to stay still long enough to get their picture taken. I think seeing lots of animals in and around your house and gardens is a sign that you have done things right. No human can live on this planet without animals dying in their behalf. We can, however, make as little impact as possible and even make our surroundings desirable to all the animal life. Although I did have to fence my gardens in to keep the rabbits and deer out, I still feed them just outside the fence. Both my wife and I enjoy all the animal life we have as much as we do our plant life. And we have plenty of animal life. There are too many pictures to put in one post so I will have to have another one.

This is a large rattle snake that got into the implement shed and would not leave. Sad to say, it had to be dispatched. It was over six feet long and was too big to catch and remove.

This is a Blotched Water snake that took up residence in the big pond. They will eat the fish so it had to go.

This is a western Coachwhip. When I was young they were called buttermilk coachwhips. They are very fast snakes,on the ground and in the trees.
Everyone in central Texas has Rusty Fence lizards. They are on every tree around here I think. This one ran out into the drive way to get a grass hopper. These are some bug eating dudes.

This is a large Red Stripe Ribbon snake. I have these in abundance because I have Leopard frogs in abundance.

We also have plenty of Hog Nosed snakes. I don't like it that they eat my toads but they are fun to have around. After they hood up like a Cobra to scare you, and it doesn't, then they play dead. Unlike possums that faint, these guys actually play dead. They are good at it too. If you roll him over on his belly, he will roll right back over on his back. If you look careful you can see his tongue is out as well, because dead snakes have their tongues out. They are just that good.

We mainly have the Red Striped Ribbon snakes around the ponds, but this year I happened to spy this Texas Garter snake. They have an orange stripe instead of the red and are a bit bulkier as well. They still eat my frogs though.This is a Coral snake. I've had this picture on here before but I added it again because it's so pretty. Although they are poisonous they are really nothing to fear. I coiled this one up to make a better picture. Red and yellow, kill a fellow, red and black, poison lack.

I've had these pictures on here before as well but think that they are interesting. It is a shed skin of a Texas Rat snake. It is a complete skin right down to his lips and eyes.

Although this is not a good picture, I think this is the snake that shed that skin. It's a Texas Rat snake, about six feet long, and grouchy. He will bite. Don't ask me how I know. I also have a really big Bull snake that lives around the house, about seven feet long, and very tame. I've partially picked him up before and he doesn't mind at all. I haven't seen him in a long time and think something might have happened to him. I sure hope not. While working in the garden I felt something crawling on my arm and it was this little Gecko. I don't think they are native to Texas but I have lots of them.Everyone has Anoles and I have a bunch. They really liked being in the corn I noticed. Gooood, eat more bugs.

Over half of the animals around our place, I do not see first. My dog does. Bonnie is a Texas Blue Lacy, state dog of Texas. Really, I mean it. It's official, the state dog of Texas. They are very smart dogs with an unbelievable sense of smell. I let her out one morning and she immediately took a right and went into the woods on one side of the house and started barking. I went to check it out and found a turtle that had dug a hole and was laying her eggs. How she smelled a turtle that was below ground level and around the house I'll never know. I didn't want to disturb it so didn't get close enough to tell what kind it was. It's probably a Creek Slider.

We had a little Red eared turtle show up in one of the ponds one day. He hung around a few days and went on, I guess searching for bigger waters. I caught him out sunning itself for this shot.

The last of this post is the cutest little guy I've seen at our ponds. I've seen several Tree frogs but they are always gone by the time I get my camera. This guy stayed here for hours. They change colors just like the Anoles do, to fit their back ground. I thought I would end this post with some cuteness after all the snakes and such.


Tabor said...

Really interesting wildlife. Not too crazy about the poisonous ones. We had to dispatch a copperhead in our back yard because of the grandchildren, but all of the others we leave alone.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm impressed by how much you know about snakes. I'll show this post to my kids. They'll like it.

I saw a little snake in my new garden recently, but I had no idea what kind it was. I call all little snakes garter snakes. But I think I'd recognize a rattler and a coral snake.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Enjoyed your post on snakes. I have seen more snakes than usual around. I wonder if it is because of our drought.

I had no idea we had a state dog! Show us a picture of Bonnie. I would love to see what a Texas Blue Lacy looks like.

katina said...

snakes. Nice pictures, but I could never get as close as you do to them.

The last time I was close to a snake it was a 6' bull snake and it totally freaked me out (thought it was a rattler until it went on its way). And the time before that I almost stepped on a small black racer which moved just as I was putting my foot down. Also, not a fun thing.

Rock rose said...

Wow! That is quite a snake collection. I hope that rattler was dead when you got so close. i wonder how you killed him? We have seen several snakes around here hog nose, rat, coral but no rattler as yet. Come on in and eat the cotton rats, I say. I have never seen the tree frog here but once in Mo one came into the house on a plant and it sure could make a racket. It was bright green and it looked like one of those deadly poisonous frogs from Asia!

Michelle said...

I loved looking at all your wonderful snakes!! Everyone I knows thinks I've completely lost my mind because I just love finding a snake. LOL I always take pictures too. It's nice to find someone who appreciates these wonderful little creatures as much as I do.

Getting Dirty in Texas

Anonymous said...

While Googling "lizards" and "central Texas", my nearly 6 year old daughter and I came upon your blog and this particular post. What a wonderful exhibit of images and narratives to accompany your lovely photos.

Many thanks for sharing your experiences and increasing even more my young naturalist's curiosity and respect for nature!


Anonymous said...

While Googling "lizards" and "central Texas", my nearly 6 year old daughter and I came upon your blog and this particular post. What a wonderful exhibit of images and narratives to accompany your lovely photos.

Many thanks for sharing your experiences and increasing even more my young naturalist's curiosity and respect for nature!


viagra online said...

I'm other fears of snakes, but it is interesting to see how your skin! I loved the turtle is very cute.

Elliott Broidy said...

Eeek.... scary