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BS: Varmints

keberoxu 11 Jun 18 - 03:49 PM
robomatic 11 Jun 18 - 03:54 PM
Donuel 11 Jun 18 - 04:25 PM
Acme 11 Jun 18 - 05:13 PM
Senoufou 11 Jun 18 - 05:43 PM
Senoufou 11 Jun 18 - 05:45 PM
pdq 11 Jun 18 - 06:57 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jun 18 - 08:21 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Jun 18 - 09:06 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Jun 18 - 09:09 PM
keberoxu 11 Jun 18 - 09:30 PM
Acme 11 Jun 18 - 11:36 PM
Senoufou 12 Jun 18 - 03:44 AM
keberoxu 13 Jun 18 - 01:03 PM
keberoxu 14 Jun 18 - 06:03 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Jun 18 - 06:41 PM
Rapparee 14 Jun 18 - 08:46 PM
Senoufou 15 Jun 18 - 07:51 AM
Senoufou 15 Jun 18 - 07:51 AM
keberoxu 15 Jun 18 - 11:15 PM
keberoxu 15 Jun 18 - 11:16 PM
keberoxu 16 Jun 18 - 02:03 PM
Acme 16 Jun 18 - 02:40 PM
keberoxu 16 Jun 18 - 09:29 PM
keberoxu 18 Jun 18 - 01:26 PM
Senoufou 18 Jun 18 - 01:34 PM

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Subject: javelinas and others
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 03:49 PM

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?


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: robomatic
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 03:54 PM

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


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 04:25 PM

Looks worse than their bite

I found them in NYS


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Acme
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 05:13 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 05:43 PM

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...


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 05:45 PM

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


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: pdq
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 06:57 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 08:21 PM

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.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 09:06 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 09:09 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 09:30 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Acme
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 11:36 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou
Date: 12 Jun 18 - 03:44 AM

'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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Jun 18 - 01:03 PM

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


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 06:03 PM

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


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 06:41 PM

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!


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Rapparee
Date: 14 Jun 18 - 08:46 PM

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


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 07:51 AM

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!


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 07:51 AM

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!


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 11:15 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu
Date: 15 Jun 18 - 11:16 PM

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!


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu
Date: 16 Jun 18 - 02:03 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Acme
Date: 16 Jun 18 - 02:40 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu
Date: 16 Jun 18 - 09:29 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 01:26 PM

Just checked out of the resort in Tucson.

Never did see a javelin. Or a tarantula.

Just as glad I didn't, on reflection.


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Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou
Date: 18 Jun 18 - 01:34 PM

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)


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Mudcat time: 18 June 5:09 PM EDT

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