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143 messages

BS: Varmints

11 Jun 18 - 03:49 PM (#3930350)
Subject: javelinas and others
From: keberoxu

So I arrive in southern Arizona in summer
for a week's stay at a resort / former ranch,
in the foothills near the mountains.
Saguaro cactus everywhere.

The staffperson from reception assists me in walking my suitcases
to the room, which entrance is outdoors, not inside a corridor.
He begins to warn me about strolling the grounds, especially after dark.

You gotta watch out for the javelinas.
Are there tarantulas?
Javelinas are not tarantulas. Javelinas are more like kinda sort of a little b-
I KNOW what javelinas are. Are There Tarantulas?!
I been here one and a half years and I never seen a tarantula.

A fellow guest was more to the point, at the supper table.

First time I stayed here, I encountered about a dozen javelinas all in one group together.
They spooked the hell outta me, he says.
And whatever you do,
don't get in between baby javelinas and their mama!
She's taking the babies out for a stroll and you just
give her and her babies a real wide berth.
Stay out of her way.

So it's just after dark and I have the little flashlight.
The resort grounds, while all native plantings,
are groomed within an inch of their lives,
and the paved walkways are well lit,
as are the drives for autos and golf carts.

I trudge along from lamppost to lamppost,
working my little keychain-sized flashlight like a strobe,
blink blink blink!
And muttering:
You stay away from me, you little buggers, don't even THINK about
getting close to me ...

I think they heard me. Smelled me. Whatever.
Didn't see any last night. Maybe before the week is up
I will spot javelinas.
Or scorpions.
Or a grand variety of snakes, including rattlers.
No tarantulas, though.

I would dearly like to know about the
animal-group vocabulary here.

What does one call/name
a dozen snorting little javelinas?

A SNORT of javelinas?
Or maybe it's a word in Spanish or indigenous First-Nation language?

11 Jun 18 - 03:54 PM (#3930352)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: robomatic

Or... watch out for Vinegaroons (2:50 in)

11 Jun 18 - 04:25 PM (#3930369)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel

Looks worse than their bite

I found them in NYS

11 Jun 18 - 05:13 PM (#3930378)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Stilly River Sage

You don't want to see tarantulas but you want to see the rest? What about western diamondback rattlers? Or whippoorwills? Coyotes? Bunnies and hares? I saw a lot of wildlife in the Sonoran desert when I worked out there. I did also see both tarantulas and tarantula hawks (the orange-winged wasps that lay eggs on the paralyzed spiders they drag into their holes). You could come to my house in Texas to see tarantulas if you want to see some. I also have lightning bugs.

11 Jun 18 - 05:43 PM (#3930383)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I've just googled javelinas, and they look rather sweet, although I appreciate they might attack if they have young with them.

Then I stupidly googled Arizona tarantulas, and oh crumbs! I wish I hadn't!!
I have arachnaphobia, but here in UK we don't get BIG FAT HAIRY MONSTERS like those!!! Gaaaaah!

I've seen some biggies in Senegal, Ghana and Gambia etc. I'll be having nightmares now...

11 Jun 18 - 05:45 PM (#3930385)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

That should say arachnophobia. I'm so shocked I can hardly spell!

11 Jun 18 - 06:57 PM (#3930395)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: pdq

Two of Arizona's interesting game animals are usually called by the wrong names.

The pronghorn is not an antelope. It has horns and not antlers as do the African true antelope.

The collared peccary is related to pigs but is not one. It is found from southern Arizona (and southern Texas) to north of Argentina. The name javelina is one of many across the animal's range but is not the correct one.

Collared peccary run in groups called herds.

11 Jun 18 - 08:21 PM (#3930400)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Joe Offer

I see tarantulas on the roads here and there in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in California. I usually try to stop and observe. They're interesting little guys, and very mellow and slow-moving.
Don't like encountering rattlesnakes, though.

11 Jun 18 - 09:06 PM (#3930405)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

For many years we've had grass snakes nesting in my compost heap. A week ago I saw the latest denizen, three feet long and of very healthy girth. The following morning I saw him/her again before he/she had had a chance to warm up in the sun. We had a lovely chat. I told him/her what a very fine snake he/she was, among other things. He/she just fixed me with his/her beady eye whilst tasting the morning air with forked tongue. I felt glad to be alive. Grass snakes are completely harmless. Though I doubt whether the frogs and toads in my garden would agree.

11 Jun 18 - 09:09 PM (#3930406)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Spiders are amazingly beautiful. If you see an orb web spider in its web, grab a magnifying glass and take a close look, or take a macro photo. You'll be converted. They're lovely.

11 Jun 18 - 09:30 PM (#3930409)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

I know what else Acme has in her vicinity:
she has Great-Tailed Grackles.

I have witnessed Texas-origin YouTube videos of
Great-Tailed Grackles being nuisances,
in staggering numbers.

In Phoenix Arizona, however, the Great-Tailed Grackle, while present,
seem to have smaller numbers. They still favor parking lots and all,
but not in Texas-sized multitudes.

In Arizona it amuses me no end when the sun sets,
and the Great-Tailed Grackles leave the parking lots and head for
trees, shrubs, or bushes,
where they do this big crepuscular chorus.
They sound, for a number of minutes, in a funny way
like an orchestra in the orchestra pit,
before it is time to tune up.

You know, the musicians come out in concert dress, with instruments and written music parts,
and while waiting for tune-up / conductor,
they sit down there in the pit,
each practicing her or his own little practice routine, all at once.
So they are all carrying on at the same time.

And the Great-Tailed Grackle has a vocabulary
with a variety such as the grackles in the Great Lakes
have never uttered in my hearing.
Not, at any rate, the stubby-tailed Yankee grackles of my youth.

And what I did observe on the resort today, in the sunshine,
were the little blue-tailed lizards, which are small and amusing
and very very fast.

11 Jun 18 - 11:36 PM (#3930418)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Stilly River Sage

You learn the definition of murmuration if you live very long in Texas - that is the dusk flights of combined starling and grackle flocks. They are fluid in how the whole long string of them move in unison.

I've rescued two toads from water containers this week; one out of the dogs' wading pool, the other out of my watering can. I found a new can with a much smaller hole so hopefully this won't happen again, and I'll float a piece of wood in the water (something I have to do every year; the other option is to stack a couple of bricks at the side of the tank so there is a spot to climb onto and jump or be rescued from.)

Coyotes, foxes, skunks, opossums, birds of prey, water birds, song birds, vultures, turtles, tortoises, lots of lizards, a few snakes, there is wildlife here. Most of us have it around us (this is a good thing) if we only bother to look.

I was a bit surprised to find a tarantula in the house the first time; later I spotted one in the street and gave it a boost out with a stick in my hand, only to realize that they're quite fragile and I'd injured the poor thing. It died on the curb where I tried to push it to protect it. After than I'm very careful around them. We have the charismatic argiope or "zipper" spider that slings out a large web and inhabits it day and night, unlike others that only put out the web after dark. These argiope are large and brightly colored and I've spent a lot of time observing them, photographing them, and tossing bugs into their webs. You can feed Junebugs to just about anything around here, it's the universal food type (even my dogs like to eat them.) Toads will sit on the porch and wait till you toss the bugs, I see lizards hanging out on the window screens at night, the room light attracting the insects they catch.

I don't like cockroaches, and they're endemic here also. But lots of things eat them.

12 Jun 18 - 03:44 AM (#3930429)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

'Spiders are amazingly beautiful' - and I can move amazingly fast if I catch a glimpse of one. I certainly wouldn't be admiring the blooming thing through a magnifying glass, I'd be shrieking for my husband! (He gently puts them out, then calms me down with a hug, bless him)

Tarantula IN THE HOUSE??? GAAAAAAAGH!!!!! (faints)

I actually quite like snakes. Naturally I kept my distance from venomous ones in Africa. But our resident grass snake in our last house, Hissing Sid, was wonderful. My neighbour and I really liked him, and were forever stopping the cats (I had five in those days!) from tormenting him. He could whizz along remarkably swiftly, and lived in the bank of the ditch beside the field adjoining our gardens. Beautiful creature. They can bite, but aren't venomous.

We had numerous slow worms too. A sort of bronzy colour (actually legless lizards, not snakes or worms)

We've had our windows open all night over the last few weeks, and I've found two extremely interesting moths that look exactly like folded, dry leaves. Quite large, and very beautiful. I managed to get them outside without damaging them, using a glass and a sheet of paper.

13 Jun 18 - 01:03 PM (#3930707)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Still have not seen a javelina,
which is just as well.

But I can report having seen:
quail moving very fast

road runner, head high, sauntering across a paved road
(were it running, its head would be forward and down)

too many hummingbirds to count

14 Jun 18 - 06:03 PM (#3930925)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

On the subject of tarantulas, I give you what I believe is
a Spanish version of a tarantella
("tarantella" comes from "tarantula," no?)

"Zapateado" by Jiménez

14 Jun 18 - 06:41 PM (#3930930)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

The tarantella dance originated in the beautiful Italian region of Puglia. There's a town there called Taranto, which, unfortunately, is not the finest town in Puglia. But it's an enchanting region, a place apart from the rest of Italy. We spent a week in Puglia, staying in the amazing town of Lecce. Go there before the tourist masses discover It!

14 Jun 18 - 08:46 PM (#3930938)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Rapparee

Don't forget the Gila monsters. Pretty things, but don't touch them.

15 Jun 18 - 07:51 AM (#3930995)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I'd never heard of those Rap! 'Heloderma suspectum' - very funny Latin name!
They are attractive though (I googled it) and though venomous, they don't kill people.
I learn something new every day here on Mudcat!

15 Jun 18 - 07:51 AM (#3930996)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I'd never heard of those Rap! 'Heloderma suspectum' - very funny Latin name!
They are attractive though (I googled it) and though venomous, they don't kill people.
I learn something new every day here on Mudcat!

15 Jun 18 - 11:15 PM (#3931116)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Bigger lizards. Have seen two.
One was on a treetrunk, not going anyplace,
just hanging on one side of the tree
with all four feet.

The other bigger-lizard was under a shrub,
moving about in tiny circles,
and would stop
with its head bobbing up and down as it looked at things.

15 Jun 18 - 11:16 PM (#3931118)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

What I heard at dusk last night
was, I think, coyotes.
Not IN the resort.
But in the desert outside the resort,
perhaps in mountain foothills as well.

Very high squeaky yip yip yiiiiiipps!

16 Jun 18 - 02:03 PM (#3931258)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Have yet to see a javelina or a Gila monster.

However, some of my fellow guests at the resort
have seen them some Gila monsters on the grounds.
Actually there is a staff member who has
an ongoing relationship, I am told, with
one particular Gila monster. I don't know the details,
but the two of them meet regularly. Bet food is involved.

One guest going down a sidewalk could not help but observe
the Gila monster sitting right on the concrete, motionless.
She walked around it. As she continued walking, she looked back,
and there it was, following her down the sidewalk.
She was telling all about it the next day.

16 Jun 18 - 02:40 PM (#3931269)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Stilly River Sage

Sounds like the association between humans and food has been made.

I stopped feeding our smallish red squirrels on campus because apparently some of them are overly aggressive in panhandling. The campus is quieter during summer so they've resumed digging up the acorns and pecans they buried, so it's a good time to wean them of human fed nuts.

16 Jun 18 - 09:29 PM (#3931311)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Two nights ago, I spotted two local-variety cottontail rabbits.

Turns out, not all of the resort ground plantings are indigenous. And the ground plantings have changed over the years. I was listening to a long-time staffperson remarking on the subject.

There used to be, she says, a lot more patches of thick green grass, which in a place this dry, requires much irrigating. A transition is being made, across the resort, from the lush green grass to arrangements of native plants surrounded by gravel.

One large patch of green grass remains in an open courtyard adorned with lawn chairs and benches, as well as shrubs of some kind.
Two nights ago I was in a lawn chair out in the open, as the sun went down. After it started getting dark, out came the two cottontails.

I commented on this to one of the bellhops. "The rabbits are hungry," he explained, "and at that hour, when they're hungry, they come out to feed." The remaining patches of grass are certainly well maintained and there is much to munch on.
And munch they did. The two little rabbits hunkered right down to graze, and paid no attention to people on the sidewalk, walking directly past them. Serious business, grazing when you're hungry.

After the passersby had all left, and I had remained quite motionless in my chair watching the rabbits, the dancing started.

I was not prepared to see these straight-up-and-down bounces and hops.
I'm well accustomed to rabbits in flight, bounding laterally with great leaps of the hind legs. But this BOUNCE! BOUNCE! BOUNCE! and pausing to stare at each other in between? I had never before seen that in my life.

18 Jun 18 - 01:26 PM (#3931722)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Just checked out of the resort in Tucson.

Never did see a javelin. Or a tarantula.

Just as glad I didn't, on reflection.

18 Jun 18 - 01:34 PM (#3931728)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

How sweet keberoxu! I'd have loved to watch that!

Last Friday evening, my husband was locking up the rural school where he's a cleaner. It was 9pm, and he's the last worker to leave. Suddenly he saw a shape moving in the bushes. Then a huge hare bounded out right in front of him and shot away, its long ears with their black tips standing up stiff.
It was still fairly light so he had a good view.
Coming home along Nowhere Lane (!) he usually sees muntjac deer and the odd fox, plus lots of rabbits (baby ones at this time of year)

18 Jun 18 - 07:02 PM (#3931779)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Still in Arizona, having traveled from Tucson up to Phoenix.
The car radio, en route,
advised all and sundry of a new hazard
in certain Phoenix neighborhoods:

bats with rabies.

30 Jun 18 - 06:56 PM (#3934469)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Back in Massachusetts,
the seals are holding forth on Cape Cod.
That means great white sharks.
This past week an entire beach was cleared for a day
because a great white shark was spotted.
Without incident, fortunately.

01 Jul 18 - 03:14 AM (#3934505)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: JennieG

I had never heard of a javelina, so had to look it up. Kinda looks like some sort of pig.

The name sounds as though it should be on a posh menu caressed with an exotic sauce.

01 Jul 18 - 04:10 AM (#3934509)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Hahaha Jennie! It does doesn't it?

'Char-grilled javelina drenched in a spicy tabasco sauce, resting on a bed of buttered spinach, with a side-plate of tossed javelina trotters'

01 Jul 18 - 03:32 PM (#3934622)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Yes, there are tenuous mammal-connected relationships there.

I read that the peccary, or javelina,
not only has a distant connection to the pig group,
but is closer to boars,
and moreover is connected to the hippopotamus.

And the hippopotamus can be lethal -- don't get one angry,
especially in its favored element of water,
where the hippo is notorious for killing humans.

Oh dear ... I knew this would remind me of
"mud, mud, glo-ri-ous mud ..."

01 Jul 18 - 03:47 PM (#3934625)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Hippos kill around 3000 people each year in Africa.

01 Jul 18 - 09:03 PM (#3934653)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: robomatic

Alaska has no natural snakes. There are pets. One rather large constrictor got loose a year ago.

Another was literally a (sleepy) snake on a plane .

As far as an Alaska 'varmint'? indoor mice and voles which attack suburban homes in cold climes and potentially worse can invade shelter cabins where maybe some prospector of yore would leave a backup sack of beans. I don't think we regard porcupines as varmints, because although they can give a dog a horrible experience, they have also been used as dog food on the mush trail. And we don't have skunks for some reason.

The official state bird, by which I mean the mosquito, can be a major inconvenience, but it is not a surprise, and it is, despite the proud rumours, too small to be dealt with by buckshot, even very small buckshot.

There have been certain State legislators who might fill the bill, but then there's the problem of getting everyone to agree. There was one legislator and I actually saw this joke about him in the Sunday major newspaper a bunch of years ago: "You're in a locked room with Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Jack Hamholtz (well known legislator). You've got a .44 with two bullets loaded. What do you do?


"Shoot Jack twice, to be sure."

02 Jul 18 - 03:31 AM (#3934680)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: JennieG

Oz has many interesting critters and varmints. These fellers for instance, are quite common in this area; the first year we moved here (2010) we saw a baby brown snake in the garden. Don't know where it went, but hopefully it's no longer around.

02 Jul 18 - 03:19 PM (#3934842)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The Annual Insect Appearance has taken place in my rental apartment.

I keep one of those plug-in thingies for my apartment bathroom.
It supposedly works with the electrical wiring to set up a sonic area
that insects and vermin find repellent.
Spiders don't count -- there are always a few spiders around.

But I never see rodent varmints, at any rate.

And the only time I spy a six-legged critter
(mosquitoes don't count, they have other ways of sneaking around)
is about this time of year.
I only see one. It doesn't live very long once I spot it.

After these umpteen years,
I still don't rightly know
if what I squash under my shoe once a year in the elderly wall-to-wall carpet
is an ant or a termite.

You know, though, that when you spy one of those out and about,
it means ...

well, anyway. For some reason I only see one per year --
and the building is an old building.

02 Jul 18 - 07:08 PM (#3934882)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Bloody horseflies/tabanids/clegs. This wet spring then hot summer has been the worst time ever. They literally tear into your skin to get at your blood. I've been bitten hundreds of times and the little buggers ignore both deet and citronella. Luckily my bites itch like mad for an hour then I'm ok. Mrs Steve's bites last for days and she's reluctant to go outside. I've had at least two or three bad mozzie bites at a time for weeks. They take days to settle down. Asda sell little tubes of "bite and sting relief" cream for £1.50. It contains hydrocortisone, bad I know, but it gets you through the night!

02 Jul 18 - 07:44 PM (#3934883)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Joe Offer

We had a rattlesnake on our front porch last week. It was a hot day, and it just stayed in one place. Since we have a dog that likes to pick up rattlesnakes, we figured we'd better get rid of it. So, we called Ramirez Rattlesnake Removal. I met Len Ramirez in the supermarket a couple years ago, and he was very gracious about answering all my questions.

Len came 15 minutes after we called, and caught the snake in less than a minute with a long grabbing tool. He held the snake up and gave me time to take photos, and then dropped it in a bucket with two other snakes he'd caught on previous calls. Then he took us around the house to look for other snakes and to point out hiding places we should eliminate or at least be aware of.

Len is a great businessman. He's a good looking guy with tall leather boots and a white cowboy hat, and he's a great storyteller and very knowledgeable. He drives a flashy red truck that he must wash twice a day. He has been in business since 1985 and has never, ever killed a snake - he releases them all into safe areas. His visit was worth every penny of his $195 fee. I never thought having a rattlesnake would be such an entertaining experience.


03 Jul 18 - 04:20 AM (#3934915)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Goodness Joe, a rattlesnake! And That Ramirez sounds like the American version of Crocodile Dundee!
Glad he doesn't kill the snakes. But (voice of doom) surely, where there's one, there are others? I see that he did a tour of possible hiding places, but I'd be extremely scared of stepping on another one.
Hope you're both safe!

We're getting an influx of those dear little damsel flies from all the lakes and rivers around our village. They have a gorgeous turquoise jewel-like body. They get in but can't get out again, and bash themselves against the ceiling and windows. Then they fall dead on the floor. We found several corpses behind the cane sofa in the conservatory. I try to capture them gently to take them outside (they don't bite or sting), but they're hard to grab, they dart so swiftly out of reach. Sad.

03 Jul 18 - 06:57 AM (#3934945)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Howard Jones

If I were a rattlesnake-catcher then I'd wear the tallest boots I could find!

We're thankfully free from anything like that in the UK, but we did adopt a stray Californian King Snake which had escaped from a neighbour (who had since moved away) and survived several months in the wild before being found curled up on the roadside verge.

I'm not feeling very well-disposed towards foxes at the moment, after one killed one of our chickens the other night. We're also pretty sure it was that which attacked one of our cats.

03 Jul 18 - 07:39 AM (#3934955)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

You were lucky Howard that the fox didn't slaughter the entire bunch of chickens. They often do that if they get into a hen-house, leaving a pile of feathers and several blood-soaked corpses. They only take one or two away to eat, but seem to enjoy killing the lot anyway!

And they stink!

03 Jul 18 - 11:47 AM (#3935008)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

There are fox/foxes in this part of eastern Massachusetts,
but it seems to me that
the coyotes get more attention.
It isn't that the coyotes are more numerous, so much.
It is that today's coyotes inhabit areas of North America
that they never before ventured into,
that is,
until our colonist ancestors began despoiling the land,
laying waste to the stands of forests,
and exterminating wolves, which last kept the coyotes at bay.

04 Jul 18 - 03:24 AM (#3935115)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Sitting on my famous garden bench yesterday evening I saw the most amazing pair of red kites. (Latin name Milvus milvus!) soaring above the village. I was thrilled.

4.30am this morning, we were woken by the very annoying call of a red kite apparently right above our house. Squee squee squee on and on.
It must have been circling, because it didn't stop for ages. Blooming thing.

Actually a few years ago they were very rare and only found in parts of Wales. Several were released into other parts of UK and Norfolk seemed to suit them admirably.

They're quite large and distinctive. But could they please shut up until maybe 7am? Bugger off Milvus milvus!

04 Jul 18 - 03:59 AM (#3935121)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

The red kites were reintroduced by the RSPB and English Nature nearly thirty years ago in the Chilterns near Stokenchurch. There was a webcam in a red kites' nest allowing people to watch the chicks from the café in the Stokenchurch garden centre. The birds were so successful that they started to be a nuisance and local people complained. I was told that a few years ago a number were captured and released in other parts of the country. They now turn up all over the place.

04 Jul 18 - 05:02 PM (#3935299)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Charmion

When I lived in Halifax (Nova Scotia), a colony of large gulls lived on the flat roof of the apartment building, right over my window. I loved watching them diving off the roof into the updraft from the chimney of the house downhill from our building, but I did not -- repeat not -- enjoy their family squabbles, which included thumping of large avian bodies on the tarpaper as well as the usual raucous yelling.

Here in Stratford, it's cardinals. They make a noise like a slide-whistle at dawn, especially when I'm trying to get back to sleep after having visited the loo.

04 Jul 18 - 05:16 PM (#3935300)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Oh seagulls Charmion! Another blooming nuisance!

We have a lovely window cleaner called Andy, he comes round every six weeks. Before he arrives, there's no seagull poo down any of our windows, but after he's been, they take it in turns to do their worst. How do they poo sideways? And how do they know we've just paid Andy? My poor husband has to go round with a cloth and get it all off.

I like the sound of your cardinals. Slide whistle!! Hee hee. There's a children's programme here called 'The Clangers' (little knitted characters) and they always speak like a slide whistle.

05 Jul 18 - 09:54 AM (#3935451)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The Fourth of July, for some reason,
gave a US cable TV channel, which shall remain nameless,
an excuse for a marathon of
"Jaws" movies.

05 Jul 18 - 10:35 AM (#3935464)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Stilly River Sage

Many of the cable channels choose holidays for marathons. Star Trek, James Bond, themed television series, etc. Jaws wouldn't be so bad, I haven't seem them in a while.

Fireworks last night in the area, intermittently and far enough off that they didn't particularly alarm the new dog (here just over four weeks) though she did hang out under my desk and her head jerked up a few times when she heard them. She looked at me, looked at the other dogs ignoring them, and took her cue. #SmartDog

Ticks are the problem here, now. The climate is shifting and it seems to be bringing them more and more into the yard. I sprayed Beneficial nematodes and I'll do another spray the next time it rains. This kills the soil stage to avoid more new adults, but existing adults can live a long time between blood meals.

05 Jul 18 - 12:40 PM (#3935484)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

We're in a state of very severe drought here. Not a drop of rain for weeks, and very hot temperatures for Eastern England. I've been putting out low, flat pots full of water for hedgehogs and other thirsty creatures. Our two birdbaths are refilled every morning too.

Dead insects all over the floor and windowsills of the conservatory.
I feel so sorry for all the wildlife. The earth is like dust and everything is dying.

When I was staying in Senegal in a small 'campement' (lodging) it was as dry as dust (very little rain for five years!) So I put out a shallow dish full of water in their courtyard, for the pretty little birds and lizards.

The proprietor came zooming out and told me not to do that. She said that in a very short time all the snakes in the area would be congregating round the dish!

05 Jul 18 - 02:19 PM (#3935511)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Just as long as the TV marathon
isn't that series of movies about rats.
Cue the Michael Jackson single:

"Ben, you're always running here and there ... "


14 Jul 18 - 10:04 PM (#3937403)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Visiting Springfield, Massachusetts, en route to someplace else.
Stayed two nights; had to find somewhere to dine.

This is a former mill/industrial river city.
Its downtown urban area, as you might expect,
is badly depressed. Probably some renovation has happened, but parts just look rotten.

I knew to avoid one restaurant, for the excellent reason
that a contributor's online review
included the photo that he took on his phone,
then showed to the restaurant manager, who bluffed and denied everything.
It was the floor outside the public toilets,
upon which there sat a little mouse.

17 Jul 18 - 09:29 PM (#3938030)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Have arrived at a resort.
This one is not in Arizona.
Rather it is in the so-called Tri-State area sort of.
Which is to say, people in the Tri-State area
come here regularly,
regardless of which state the resort is in.

No javelinas here, nor tarantulas.
But there is an ornamental pond stocked with koi.
Nice to see that the koi are not too large.
I feel sorry when they get really large.
They are confined as it is,
but to be confined in a space that one is a little too large
for? That would be pretty miserable.
But then I'm no koi.

18 Jul 18 - 06:36 PM (#3938168)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

I can't wait for the picota cherry season every year. They come from that bit of Spain near the Portugal border and are unique among cherries in that they have stalks that drop off before they reach the consumer. They are also the cheapest and the tastiest cherries that money can buy. Thing is, I opened my first pack yesterday to find an extremely active medium-sized spider in there. I put it outside the back door. God knows where it is now.

18 Jul 18 - 06:45 PM (#3938170)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh Steve!!!!!!!!!

21 Jul 18 - 09:09 AM (#3938616)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: KarenH

I really hate it when you get up in the night barefoot and tread on a big fat slug in the dark kitchen.

My pet annoyances are slugs and snails. It seems almost impossible to keep them out of the house. A salt barrier around the external doors is one way. I give on Lavendula, which they seem to love, stripping a plant within one day of purchase.

Also those little red ants that hide under rocks and get into your clothes and run all over you biting.

"Varmint" We think of this as being a US word, but what about it's origins? It looks related to 'vermin', a standard English word.

I am guessing it comes from some non-standard dialect taken over the ocean, because my husband supposedly had jaundice as a child. His mother (English) told me about it more or less in the following words: 'He had yeller jarnders, caused by varmints'.

21 Jul 18 - 12:32 PM (#3938641)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I don't much mind slugs Karen, but I'm not keen on those slimy, silvery trails they leave along the floor of our utility room.

When it's wet weather (oh heavens, I dream of rain - we haven't had a drop for literally months!) the most enormous bright orange slugs appear around our back step. I didn't realise they could be that large!

22 Jul 18 - 09:05 PM (#3938836)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Slugs in the kitchen ...
good thing I don't live where you live.

31 Jul 18 - 12:15 PM (#3940645)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Read the latest, have you, about Nicole Kidman?

They're calling her "Spider-Mom" now.
(Senoufou, you can stop reading now.)

She was minding her children around the swimming pool, and
an uninvited guest showed up ...
a tarantula.

She captured this on a cell-phone video,
and put it online.
The tarantula was safely released well away from the swimming pool
and the shrieking children.
You go, Nicole.

31 Jul 18 - 12:59 PM (#3940662)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Gaaaaaaah keberoxu!!!!! I'd have plunged to the bottom of the pool and stayed there until The Thing had been removed to a distance of about a million light years from me.

There was a photo on Yahoo news yesterday of a beautiful python that had escaped from someone's house and crept through a neighbour's window. She woke to find it curled up beside her in bed! It was fairly small (a metre long) I'd not have been afraid, merely concerned for the poor thing. But I suppose it could have coiled around a baby and crushed it.

We seem to have been invaded by very small moths. They're everywhere. Hope they're not those wool-eating things - they make giant holes in carpets and demolish woolly jumpers etc.

31 Jul 18 - 01:22 PM (#3940665)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

I have been watching the white butterflies playing happily in the sunshine - and then carefully removing their eggs from the undersides of the nasturtium leaves. I do feel rather mean, but there have been so many eggs that if I left them the caterpillars would starve in any case once they had destroyed the plants.

31 Jul 18 - 01:44 PM (#3940671)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

We only get our bins emptied every two weeks, and in the great heat, flies have been buzzing around in their hundreds, laying eggs on and around the bins.
When I opened one the other day, I gasped - I've never seen so many big fat maggots in my life!

I don't mind them though. I just emptied out the contents on to the parched lawn, retrieved the actual rubbish, giving it a good shake, and left the maggots on the grass. Within seconds, it was like that Hitchcock film The Birds.

The poor blackbirds, starlings, robins etc were delighted to have such a great feast, and hoovered the lot up immediately.

We've been putting out all sorts of scraps during the drought, but those maggots must have been like Christmas for them!

31 Jul 18 - 02:22 PM (#3940678)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

A post more pertinent than that,
to a Varmints thread,
I have never seen in the whole of my life.

31 Jul 18 - 06:54 PM (#3940714)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Nobody collects our bins. My choice is either to put my bags at the top of the lane, three-quarters of a mile away, or just leave them in the boot (trunk) and take them to the dump six miles away. I have been doing the latter for 25 years as I hate to see my rubbish flying around all over the place, liberated by foxes, gulls and magpies. I've rarely had maggots in my four bins but recently I've had varmints trying to chew their way through the lids. I suspect foxes, which I often see round here, rather than rats, which I haven't seen for years (I know, that don't mean a thang...). I like living with varmints rather than competing with them, but I suppose we all have limits. In the last two days I've rescued by hand a huge bush cricket and a big hawk moth, both of which had been "terrorising" Mrs Steve. They are now happily outdoors!

01 Aug 18 - 03:12 AM (#3940744)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: JennieG

Nicole is an Aussie girl. We have Huntsman spiders in Oz (and other parts of the world), she was probably used to them when she was growing up here before fame and fortune beckoned OS. Don't click on the blicky if you don't like spiders.

01 Aug 18 - 06:01 AM (#3940775)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Gaaaaaaaagh!!! Why did I click on that after your kind warning!!!

There was a huge spider in our bedroom this morning. There have been warnings about the spiders getting very big this year (no idea why)
I screamed the place down and husband calmly picked it up gently and put it outside. He's my absolute hero.

I hate silly women who scream, but it's beyond my control. Snake - yes. mouse/rat - yes. Spider - AAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Steve, why doesn't your local council take responsibility for your rubbish collection? We think two weeks isn't often enough, but never? Well....!!!!

01 Aug 18 - 06:11 AM (#3940779)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

"There have been warnings about the spiders getting very big this year (no idea why)"

This happens EVERY year - the warnings, I mean.

Spiders get big every year and they become more visible as the summer progresses, and journalists like to scare their listeners/readers/viewers.

01 Aug 18 - 07:52 AM (#3940801)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

They do, Senoufou, but I'd have to take it up to the main road, as I live in a house on a farm a long way down a twisty concrete lane. I have to load it all into my boot, so I may as well leave it in there and take it to the tip when I'm going into town anyway to do some shopping. I've been doing it for about twenty years, after years of seeing a regular horrid mess at the main road caused by varmints ripping the bags open. There's a bottle bank and paper bank, etc., at the dump so I can do me recycling bit while I'm at it.

"Hey, Lone Ranger, where are you going with that car full of rubbish?"

"To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump..."

01 Aug 18 - 08:40 AM (#3940812)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

"...And what time will you be going to the dump, Lone Ranger?"

"Ten to ten, ten to ten, ten to ten ten ten..."

I'll get me coat...

01 Aug 18 - 10:24 AM (#3940837)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jon Freeman

I like living with varmints rather than competing with them, but I suppose we all have limits.

Sure... Rats. I even like them in some ways (seem intelligent and adaptable) but when (and even in spite of a roof upgrade a couple of years back), they get in the roof space, one exceptionally bad year, did destroy apples on a tree and our sampling of sweet corn, we can wind up with pest control and an all out war. Don't enjoy it and it doesn't happen every year but things can go that far here.

One creature I did feel bad about killing a few years back was a European hornet in the house. I do react (only that I need antihistamine to bring the swelling down) to stings and may have got into a "giant wasp" scared mode, but I now believe they are not "just out to get you" aggressive. Did also, and the first time since then, see one in the house this year but this time round opened a window and allowed it a safe escape.

01 Aug 18 - 12:58 PM (#3940871)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

There seem to be a lot of wasp nests around this year. They're wonderfully constructed - the wasps rasp away at bits of wood (and our garden bench!) to get a papery substance, then mould it into a football-shaped construction.

It must be difficult if one has allergies to stings though.

I try to live-and-let-live with all creatures great and small.
I actually think rats are quite sweet, with their long whiskers and scaly tails. But of course, nobody wants Weil's disease.

My neighbour in our last village had a colony of blooming rats in her loft, and they chewed through the electric wiring (I don't know why exactly) The Pest Control chap left poison for them, and later the stench from their rotting corpses was dire. Her husband had to crawl through the loft space trying to find the decomposing critters and get them out. Yuk!

02 Aug 18 - 03:52 PM (#3941134)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Steve [Shaw],
what happened to the stray cat whom you saw a number of times
when it was bitterly cold outside?

02 Aug 18 - 04:36 PM (#3941141)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

It's still around. It won't let anyone get anywhere near it. It looks a bit better fed than it did in winter. Tough little tyke, eh? I have a bag of pussycat treats to hand but, so far, I haven't been able to tempt it to within thirty feet of me. And most cats love me to bits!

02 Aug 18 - 04:50 PM (#3941146)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Wow! The good news is that the poor thing survived the winter.

Do you know yet what gender it is?

04 Aug 18 - 09:10 PM (#3941659)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: robomatic

I am a squirrel feeder. Not a squirrel eater. I once listened to an office mate talk about what a good sharpshooter his wife was. She was able to pick off squirrels from a distance great enough that they weren't aware what was happening to them, so she was able to pot many of them at a sitting. I don't think they were for the pot, just the pot-shot.
We have grays in Alaska and I like watching them in the trees around my house. I recently saw a BBC special on "super squirrels" and I recommend it. From northern flying squirrels to American grays to saving the beleaguered 'reds' in the U.K. Apparently there was a time when squirrels were popular in America as pets.

Then came rabies.

05 Aug 18 - 02:11 AM (#3941677)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: JennieG

Squirrels have kept us amused at their antics on our visits to Canada (didn't see any in Alaska though) because they don't live in Oz. On our last visit three years ago I took on the challenge of trying to photograph one, and managed to get two pictures - one grey squirrel, and one black. They move very quickly, and a blurry pic is useless.

Unless one is trying to be teddibly artistique.

05 Aug 18 - 05:31 PM (#3941879)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Charmion

The fence behind our house seems to function as a stretch of the squirrel version of the Trans-Canada Highway. When the cats repair to the patio door and settle down like kids in front of the television, we know that traffic has picked up. The local population seems to be about evenly divided between the grey and the black; to the best of my knowledge, they are all of the same species.

As well as the squirrels, we have a rabbit colony and at least one local family of raccoons. In winter, the tracks across our deck look like a diagram from "Scouting for Boys".

06 Aug 18 - 04:32 AM (#3941935)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

As far as I'm concerned, here in Cornwall the only good grey squirrel is a dead grey squirrel.

08 Aug 18 - 08:11 AM (#3942457)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel

Squirrels can live to be about 20 years old. Great Danes live short lives of 7 years.

09 Aug 18 - 06:03 AM (#3942641)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

King Canute was a great Dane and he lived to forty.

09 Aug 18 - 06:16 AM (#3942643)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Something keeps biting me during the night. My lower legs and feet have several lumps and itch like anything. I have a duvet, but I suspect I poke my legs outside of it while asleep. Husband has nothing similar.

Do you think it could be....a giant SPIDER or something???

(piercing screams - old lady seen sprinting down to the bridge where she chucks herself into the river Wensum)

09 Aug 18 - 06:18 AM (#3942645)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Mozzies. Pain in the neck and elsewhere this year.

09 Aug 18 - 12:22 PM (#3942729)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Nah, not mozzies Steve. These bites are ginormous. Big lumpy things with a white ring around the edge.

I'm sure it's a giant spider.

Poor husband has pulled out all the furniture and hoovered with the nozzle, but he hasn't found anything untoward.

I reckon The Thing comes in through our ever-open windows at night, feeds off my feet then creeps out again at dawn.
One morning I'll wake up with the bottom half of my legs gnawed off...

09 Aug 18 - 06:21 PM (#3942788)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

One person's varmint is, I suppose, another person's sentient being.

Take toads.
One Mudcatter reports that the summer heat has prompted a local toad
to patronize her dogs' water dish outdoors.
Because toads taste terrible, the dogs leave the toad in peace.
I just wonder, wouldn't the water taste like toads
after a toad sat in the dog dish?

10 Aug 18 - 02:40 AM (#3942818)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I'd have thought so keberoxu. They have glands on their necks which exude a poisonous substance. And their skin is known to deter predators, so I imagine the dog's water dish would be pretty revolting.

The common toad has the Latin name Bufo bufo (Sounds like Boris Johnson!)

While the common frog is called Rana temporaria, as if it's not planning to hang around for long..

10 Aug 18 - 03:58 AM (#3942827)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

"Rana temporaria" - maybe it isn't planning to be a frog for very long.

If you kiss one it just MIGHT turn into a handsome prince.

10 Aug 18 - 05:58 AM (#3942858)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Hahaha Jos! In our last house we had a very large wildlife pond, with numerous frogs, newts, dragonflies and Hissing Sid (grass snake) as visitors. Sadly, none of the Rana temporaria showed any signs of being a handsome prince in disguise.

The Clandestine Foot-Biter seems to have given up on me. Perhaps it feels I haven't much blood left (only too true!), and has gone next door to try our neighbours' veins. Or maybe the torrential rain we had all day yesterday has persuaded it to hibernate early.

10 Aug 18 - 06:16 AM (#3942867)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Thompson

Perhaps you've become immune to the foot-biter. I met someone in Greece who was totally immune to the vicious mosquitoes that had me raised up in multiple huge pus-filled lumps - but who said that on a visit to Cuba, the mosquitoes there had the same effect.

10 Aug 18 - 07:48 AM (#3942879)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

That's very interesting Thompson.

African mozzies absolutely adore me. If I wasn't very strict about anti-malarial tablets, I'd have died long ago from malaria (in spite of mosquito nets and deet etc)
I've heard that some folk don't react too much to insect bites, whereas others, like yourself, suffer terribly and the bites get infected etc.

We have a rather odd Norfolk species of horseflies (clegs). One of my colleagues once had to go to hospital, as the bites caused both her legs to swell alarmingly. She was called Mrs Skeggs.

The children soon heard all about it, and chanted, "Mrs Skeggs was bitten by clegs all over her legs!" Little blighters! (the children, not the clegs)

10 Aug 18 - 02:55 PM (#3942979)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel

We have West Nile infected mosquitos ever since a Walter Reed lab experimented with them and surprise... two got loose.

13 Aug 18 - 03:20 AM (#3943510)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

That's very worrying Donuel. Having endured an absolute scorcher of a summer, we were just discussing yesterday the possibility of exotic (and maybe undesirable) creatures migrating from foreign climes, managing to survive/breed here and causing problems. Anopheles mozzies for example.

Now the weather has eased a bit (rain and not so hot) the wretched SPIDERS have started to come into the house. I went into the utility room late last night (I may have been fetching some dairy ice cream from the freezer, but don't tell a soul) and there on the wall by the door was... well, as the song goes, "I've never seen one as big as that before...!"
Ice cream forgotten, I ran screeching to fetch my noble husband (he always manages not to sigh resignedly, bless him) and The Thing was put outside. But I know only too well, there will be more...

13 Aug 18 - 05:23 AM (#3943548)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Spiders are wonderful, useful beasts that won't seek you out, not in the UK at any rate. They are actually quite beautiful in their own way. Sneak up on a garden orb-web spider in its web and take a close-up, or look at it through a magnifying glass. It won't go for you and will just scuttle away if you accidentally disturb it. They look gorgeous and their webs are works of art, never more beautiful than on a dewy morning. I admit that indoor spiders can leave scruffy remnants of webs around that make it look like you've been neglecting the house, but that's the most harm that U.K. spiders will ever do. And they'll happily hoover up your silverfish and other annoying bugs that inhabit your house. Even the odd mozzie.

13 Aug 18 - 06:01 AM (#3943552)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

You're quite right Steve of course. And I'm thoroughly ashamed of myself. I'm passionately interested in all forms of life on the Planet, and a member of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. I flatter myself that I know quite a bit about our native wildlife (flora and fauna) and feel very protective of it all.

But when it's a case of a phobia, there's no logic about it whatsoever. And no amount of advice, information or admonishment (my father used to smack me soundly for screaming at spiders!) makes any difference.

My husband is gentle and doesn't hurt the spiders. He just folds his hand around them (shudder) and sets them free in the garden.

Gaaaaaaagh!! I bet they laugh all their eight socks off and head straight back indoors.

13 Aug 18 - 06:10 AM (#3943554)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Do they home?

I sometimes have to catch mice, using a humane trap. I've discovered that if you release them anywhere near home they promptly return. I now drive them at least three miles away (got to be as the crow flies) before letting them go with a stiff bollocking.

13 Aug 18 - 06:17 AM (#3943556)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

In our last house Steve, I used a humane trap to catch mice. One had a little white patch of fur on his back, and the number of times I caught him are beyond telling.
I used peanuts as bait, and I reckon he came back for more!
I like mice though, sweet little things.

I always find that when one Big Spider is put outside, a second one emerges soon after. My husband calls them 'Monsieur et Madame Arraignée'!

13 Aug 18 - 06:18 AM (#3943557)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

My son was working at a house where he came across a large spider. He carefully took it to the end of the garden and released it.
It set off back up the path to the house ahead of him.

Apparently snails also have a homing instinct - but I take them to the meadows on the other side of the river, in the hope that they won't be able to find the footbridge to come back.

13 Aug 18 - 07:12 AM (#3943574)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Seriously, releasing mice anywhere near your home, even within a couple of miles, is useless. And mice in the house are far more of a threat to your health than spiders in this country. .

13 Aug 18 - 08:16 AM (#3943606)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

These were little field mice Steve, (huge eyes, big round ears) which our cats would bring in alive to 'play' with. (also rats, shrews, slow worms, almost anything that might provide a 'bit of fun'. Ghastly of them, I know.)

The poor things would squeeze under the door of our dining room and hide in there, where the five cats couldn't get at them.

I once found a huge rat clinging to the back of our tall fridge. There was a pile of rat poo under him, so he'd obviously been there a while.
I pushed the entire fridge towards the back door and it scuttled off.

13 Aug 18 - 04:32 PM (#3943705)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Verily, this varmint thread
is fruitful, and multiplies.

01 Sep 18 - 08:37 PM (#3947550)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

. . . that is, until it doesn't.

02 Sep 18 - 05:07 PM (#3947701)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

They aren't pests, or anything, but there are so many of them
at the moment that I do stop and stare at them:

Dragonflies. Hovering and darting about everywhere!

03 Sep 18 - 03:39 AM (#3947746)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

Some people think dragonflies are poisonous. They are not (though their larvae might be dangerous if you happen to be a tadpole).
According to a recent BBC Radio 4 programme about adders, people used to believe they could change to and from being adders/vipers - an ancient form of shape-shifting? So this could account for the mistaken belief that they are poisonous.

Apparently, people also used to believe that barnacle geese hatched from barnacles, and therefore counted as fish so you could eat them on a Friday.

03 Sep 18 - 03:57 AM (#3947747)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Ah, we get so many different dragonflies and damselflies here in early summer, hawkers, emperors and many others. There's even a Norfolk Dragonfly (Aeschna isosceles).

Our little village is in the Wensum valley with a string of small ponds and lakes. (the river Wensum, Sparham Pools and so on)

That's why we get all sorts of water fowl too, geese, ducks, swans, parading along our main street. I reckon they're looking for the pub!

21 Sep 18 - 02:24 PM (#3952041)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

It's 'possum time!

Opossum during a pro (American) football game

22 Sep 18 - 04:02 AM (#3952104)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Those possums look really sweet.

I'm sorry to have to announce that the Spider Season is in full swing. The weather has changed dramatically, with high winds and heavy rain, and it's much chillier. So our eight-legged 'friends' (not) have decided it's time to move in with the Humans.

There was an absolute whopper in out utility room a few days ago. I mean, so large it was Morris dancing wearing eight clogs. Husband put it outside, big black hairy thing. (not my husband, I mean the spider)
I'm in a constant state of alert after that, scanning the walls, peering under the bed, scared to put my bedside light out. Gah!

23 Sep 18 - 01:46 PM (#3952329)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

I just learned something new today:

I always called them Mexican fruit bats,
because the Texans call them that (they migrate through Texas).
But they are also known
as Jamaican fruit bats.

Now, there are some musical possibilities ...

23 Sep 18 - 02:32 PM (#3952337)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Artibeus jamaicensus is called the Jamaican or Mexican fruit bat, so you're quite right keberoxu.
They look very sweet too. We had one or two pipistrelle bats in our last house coming through the bedroom window and getting tangled in our net curtains. Tiny little things. I gently enveloped them in a tea towel and helped them outside.
All bats are protected here, and it's illegal to kill them. I really like them.
But NOT blooming spiders! :(

24 Sep 18 - 08:45 AM (#3952478)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel

I had a midnight blue car that would attract dragon flies . Maybe they thought it was a small body of water.

24 Sep 18 - 09:57 AM (#3952483)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Charmion

Whenever I find a bat in the house, I open a window and get out of the way. That usually does the job.

The church my family attended back in the '60s had a huge pipe organ that housed a colony of bats. The sexton, a large man name of Kenward, caught them by means of a tennis racquet and a dustpan, with which he had developed a surprising dexterity.

They made their most dramatic appearances after the Sunday morning anthem, blown out of the long pipes by the organist's choice of an infrequently used sound effect. I remember one drifting groggily out of the decani-side pipe loft, behind and over the Arch-Deacon's head as he reached the high point of his sermon. The ever-vigilant Kenward nabbed it in the west side aisle with barely a flutter of his cassock, much to the approval of the boys in the choir.

25 Sep 18 - 06:34 PM (#3952837)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Just recalled the phrase,
"there's a fungus among us."

But a fungus, I suppose, is no varmint.

26 Sep 18 - 07:04 PM (#3953052)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Then, today, I drive my car past a grassy slope
and am startled to observe
a single line of tall mushrooms :
they grow forming a single line DOWN the slope in the grass.

27 Sep 18 - 04:09 AM (#3953102)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

We get mushrooms all growing in a circle. It's called a 'fairy ring'. We were told as children that they grew where fairies danced in a circle. (I personally thought this was terribly 'wet' and never believed it!)

The reason for mushrooms growing along a line or a circle is that they're probably feeding off an old tree root, or their mycelium is spreading outwards symmetrically.

14 Oct 18 - 06:34 PM (#3956662)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Mid-October, the night are heading down to frost.
And, in time, freeze.

So this is what I call
"The Moths' Last Gasp."

At this transition of the seasons,
in the evening and through the night,
the moths will be attracted, as never before,
to the doors into my apartment building.
They are after not only light but warmth.
One has to be really careful heading in or out.

15 Oct 18 - 04:01 AM (#3956705)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Same with the blooming spiders keberoxu. They're creeping in through every slightly-open window. Husband is being kept busy removing them and gently putting them outside, but I'm sure they just turn round and head back in once he goes indoors.

15 Oct 18 - 12:06 PM (#3956761)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

And talking of varmints:

"First actual case of bug being found."

02 Apr 19 - 07:24 PM (#3985594)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Spring has arrived in New England,
and the squirrels are busy, busy, busy.

My apartment building has got balconies.
And one squirrel has become quite adept
at climbing an evergreen tree near the building,
and SWOOP! going from the tree to one balcony.

Wonder if the tenants know what's dropping in on occasion? outside?

03 Apr 19 - 12:06 AM (#3985620)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Big Al Whittle

I think we should write a folksong about Varmints. (When i was a kid Davy Crocket used to call Injuns varmints. this caused no offence in our house cos we didn't know any red injuns and didn't know what a varmint was.)


Don't let varmints get in your trousers
Fear and discomfort it arouses
Never get a grass snake in your pants
If you sit down and by and by
The grass snakes head sticks out your fly
this could cause acute embarrassment.

03 Apr 19 - 09:12 AM (#3985647)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

I was thinking 'embarrassment' could be rhymed with 'harassment' - then I remembered that nowadays people don't pronounce it the way I do.

03 Apr 19 - 11:09 AM (#3985670)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Big Al Whittle

I tend not to get bogged down in the songwriter's art...

04 Apr 19 - 06:31 PM (#3985949)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

True or false:
are not Varmints.

04 Apr 19 - 07:53 PM (#3985957)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: frogprince

"True or false:
are not Varmints"
Perhaps that question is somewhat analogous to "are viruses actually living things?"

09 Apr 19 - 04:38 PM (#3986644)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Why Earthworms Come Out When It Rains.
No, this is not poetry.
This is in response to fellow Mudcatter Donuel,
who asserts that
they don't want to drown underground.

Rhonda Sherman, at
North Carolina State University's
Department of Horticultural Science,
begs to differ.

"Worms don't have lungs, and instead, breathe through their skin.
Their skin must stay moist
for oxygen to pass through it."

What the worms wnat, when they come out like this, it seems,
is oxygen.

"A lot of people assume
that earthworms come out of the burrows when it rains
because they are drowning.
But they can't drown like humans
and can stay completely submerged in water for several days
if there is oxygen in the water."

Worms on the pavement are in serious trouble
when the sun comes back out;
exposure to light causes temporary paralysis.
Meanwhile the pavement moisture evaporates,
the worm can't breathe through dry skin,
and consequently the worm dies.

How to lend a helpful hand
to a worm on the pavement?

" ... gently picking it up and
putting it back on the grass or in leaves,
shielding it from direct sunlight,
so it will go back underground."

Learned something new today.

09 Apr 19 - 11:28 PM (#3986687)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Big Al Whittle

That gives me an idea for a song.

The earthworm coming out when it rains means this
Its like the earth whipping out its penis
'Get a load of this! All these knobs!
They're what nature needs - they're just the job!'
They're long and floppy - like pieces of string!
But some women like that sort of thing!'

you could do a whole musical.....

10 Apr 19 - 06:31 PM (#3986815)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

On the commuter traffic rush-hour report
this morning around Greater Boston,
a traffic back-up was reported on a commuter artery
"a rafter of turkeys."

11 May 19 - 10:52 PM (#3991865)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

it's gotten warm.
the termites are out.
where i can see them.
i hate termites.

13 May 19 - 08:33 AM (#3992066)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel

I like Varmints. They are better than Star Mints
Little animal shapes like armadillo, platapus and otters.
They come in textures like crunchy and liquid filled.
Mint Chocolate bombadier beetles in a thin minty shell mmmm.
They even had a limited edition of extinct Varmints

14 May 19 - 05:57 PM (#3992422)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu


must be the rain

expletive expletive gRRRRRRRRRRR

20 May 19 - 06:30 PM (#3993182)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Stopping by the Golden Arches today,
I spotted a healthy full-grown grey squirrel,
who really really wanted to get inside
one of the trash cans in the parking lot near the autos.

He scampered away, though,
when a driver strode to the nearest parked car.

20 May 19 - 07:48 PM (#3993195)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Mrrzy

Keneroxu you reminded me of a great scifi story called, I think, the rammer. I also think it is by Larry Niven. Kid puts a worm back...

20 May 19 - 08:28 PM (#3993199)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Stanron

The pesky varmint featured in a Louis Lamour novel. I forget which one. I did enjoy his novels.

21 May 19 - 02:22 PM (#3993300)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Well, Louis L'Amour wrote
How the West was Won,
in which men
do a lot of muttering about
"goin' to see the varmint."

21 May 19 - 02:29 PM (#3993305)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

Without an explanation being offered, I am left wondering what "goin' to see the varmint" means, and whether it might be a transatlantic version of "going to see a man about a dog."

21 May 19 - 03:49 PM (#3993316)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Stanron

Wasn't it about a fur trapper being tricked? He was invited to see the varmint and when he tried to see he was struck from behind and then robbed.

21 May 19 - 03:57 PM (#3993318)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Pirates, Stanron and Jos,
if I read right:
and the plot development
is in both the film and the book.

22 May 19 - 05:11 PM (#3993484)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Is the quokka a varmint?

or is the quokka an innocent victim

of human selfies with quokkas

and are the selfies the REAL varmints?

-- as if I can't see that the selfies
depend on getting the quokka up front before the lens,
and the human carefully behind the quokka ...
were people born yesterday?!

25 May 19 - 10:51 AM (#3993895)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Fat glossy black ANTS.
One chewed on my leg overnight in bed.

27 May 19 - 02:13 PM (#3994221)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

I just watched a portion of a television cable-network broadcast
of the Pixar film

Very fluid work they did with the regiments of little rats in
the restaurant kitchen.

I most appreciated the voices.
RIP Peter O'Toole.

30 May 19 - 01:34 PM (#3994500)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Oh, and
Janeane Garofalo
a MEAN French-accented English -- at French speeds, to boot.

16 Jun 19 - 01:25 PM (#3996697)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

It's a wonder that I don't have to report
to the roadkill thread about flattened bunny rabbits.

Because, at the rate that the local cottontail rabbits
are racing around where I live,
there is going to be rabbit roadkill sooner rather than later.

And the cottontails WILL run in front of the moving car.
It seems to go with the soaking wet spring rains,
now turning into early summer rains,
which are encouraging all the green growing things to go mad.

Can the local mule deer, with their
Lyme-Disease-carrying deer ticks,
be far behind?

17 Jun 19 - 03:00 PM (#3996820)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

talking of deer,
I fear the prodigious growth of green growing things
during this very rainy spring and summer
is going to encourage the deer and their parasites
in the worst way.

Not to speak of the rodents and THEIR parasites, ugh.

03 Jul 19 - 05:39 PM (#3999065)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

You watch, anytime soon
I will have to update the roadkill thread ...

but not of late,
thank goodness.
All the little beasties I see as I drive,
for some odd reason,
are alive and fleeing.

Cottontail rabbits
near the private school campus,
and groundhogs/woodchucks near the railroad tracks.

03 Jul 19 - 06:48 PM (#3999080)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Bill D

Varmints am just critters what you ain't comfy with...but as the songs says:
All God's critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
Some just clap their hands, or paws
Or anything they got now.

04 Jul 19 - 02:38 PM (#3999210)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

What is it with the woodchucks/groundhogs?

The darned things are all over the back roads --

alive and scurrying, NOT roadkill.
Young, dark-furred, and skinny, too.

29 Jul 19 - 02:21 PM (#4002587)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Today I spotted some sort of
chipmunk or ground squirrel.

The little critter narrowly avoided Mudcat's roadkill thread
as it sped across the main street,
right in front of my moving car.
He cleared it, though.

Not a conventional tree squirrel with its plumed tail;
as hard as it was to see him for his considerable speed,
I could still see a really skinny little tail.

He was reddish-brown and probably a full-size ground-squirrel
but much smaller overall then the adult tree squirrels.

Those grey squirrels in the trees
can be seen in any park or public garden,

but the little ground squirrel, hereabouts,
stays away from cultivated areas and
prefers the stands of undeveloped trees, woods, and forests.

19 Aug 19 - 01:41 PM (#4005139)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Can you imagine?

rat falls from ceiling onto restaurant table