Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Snakes, Scorpions, Squirrels and Dragonfly Skeletons

I have a habit of saying "mi casa es su casa" and apparently the rat snake has taken me seriously. It appears as though he is now a regular visitor. I let the dogs out after dark--which I do not often do--and as Holly walked back into the garage, the rat snake dropped on her head. Holly shook him off and kept walking, then glanced back over her shoulder as if she was only mildly curious. The rat snake slipped into the garage and beneath a wall-sized cabinet. I decided it was best not to pursue him for a picture. It was too dark anyway, and I have a feeling he was already shook up from dropping onto the dog's head. I think he was trying to climb across the wall again, most likely moving along the trim above the back door.

As I stood in my bathroom last night brushing my hair I heard a scratching noise on the floor and looked down in time to see a scorpion scrambling across the room. This has become a daily occurrence. We found one behind the bed the night before. They are always the tree bark scorpions and are not deadly unless they cause an allergic reaction.

I have heard all kinds of stories about these scorpions. Some people say they follow the walls, but I've found them all over the place in our house, from the middle of the room to the top of the stove. Some people say they only come out at night and only move around in the dark, but I rarely see them in the dark. I think my next door neighbor's guess about these little creatures is most accurate. She suspects they are in the ceiling making babies and climbing around in the vents. I am deeply concerned that one of them might sting one of the dogs or the cat while they are sleeping. I know I'm not allergic to them, but one of my pets might be, and it could become a dangerous situation if something happens while my husband and I are out of the house.

The little one-eyed squirrel was on my bedroom patio again today and I prayed for him while he ate his sunflower seeds. Of all the squirrels in my yard, he seems most comfortable with my presence. He still jumps if anyone moves too quickly, but that's understandable considering his vision problems. I still wonder if he can see at least partially through his injured eye. It appears as if he can. He seems to like the sound of my voice, too, which is interesting. When I talk to him after he's been spooked, this seems to calm him. He is growing larger and stronger and has a beautiful, thick coat, so I think he is thriving in spite of his vision problems.

I don't know if any tadpoles made it out alive in my pond. Once again, a dragonfly laid her eggs in the pond. I watched her do it. She was large and red and beautiful and skipping across the water. At first I thought she was getting a drink, then I noticed it was her tail that was skimming the water's surface. I think she must have seen the tadpoles and realized they would provide food for her young. Dragonfly babies look like little roaches that scramble around the rocks on the bottom of the pond. They eat the tadpoles, bugs, and each other, and only the largest and strongest survive. When they are ready, the crawl from their roach-like shell like a butterfly leaving its cocoon, then they fly away. I actually found three dragonfly skeletons yesterday. It took me a few minutes to recognize the shape. I wish we could have baby toads and frogs around here. I love the toads and frogs, but I also think the dragonflies are lovely. They do try to bite, but their mouths aren't strong enough to break the skin. I've seen them in all sizes and colors around here, but mostly the iridescent blue and the deep red. Some dragonfly species are considered endangered, just like some of the frogs around here, so it's best to just let them battle it out in the pond and wait to see who survives.

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