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Wild and Not So Wild World

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Some of you know a few years ago I introduced toads to my pond and surrounding landscape. A red-eared slider also showed up last year on it's own. I suspect it came from my neighbors pond 2 doors down. How the turtle found my pond, I don't know. Last year on Mother's Day I found hundreds upon hundreds of tadpoles attached to the algae with their mouths. I created bogs to protect them from the hungry koi and thus had a few more toads living around the property this year. Just last week I went out to check on things and noticed foam floating around. Foam is a sign of spawning. I thought it was little early for the koi and soon saw a toad trying to hide from me underwater. Toads only go in the water to spawn. So I'm walking around the edge and I hear what sounds like a bird call. It's not. It's the toads calling. I imitated them and sat back very still in a chair to see what would happen. Sure enough 2 toads make a beeline towards me and stopped at the edge. One checks me out for a few minutes and turns around. The other must've watched me straight on for 10 minutes, about 10 ft. away, before he lost interest. It was kinda funny. I know full well what that toad wanted to do to me. Go ahead call me The Toad Whisperer I don't care. Now I gotta find me some frogs. FYI frogs and toads are 2 different things. Frogs live in the water most of the time while toads live out of the water and just go in to spawn. I'm sure you wanted to know that. I've also seen a young red-tailed hawk land on the top of my rootball tiki, checkin out my fish.
If you have stories of encounters with the wild, or not-so wild tell it here. Just don't say to me "Jungle, I knew Steve Irwin, and you're no Steve Irwin". I'll bet Chongolio's got some great stories living on the island.

[ Edited by: Jungle Trader 2011-10-03 21:37 ]

Truly, the Jungle Trader is aptly named.

Me, I kill Black Widows at night with a hand-held propane torch. Ah, California... The mockingbirds just love 'em toasted, and the outback Bar-B-Que's are a lot less stressful. :)

uh-huh, don't forget beer for your snails.

Living in South FL is like living in the Wild Kingdom. Frogs, Toads, Iguanas, geckos, snakes, burrowing owls, osprey, hawks, eagles, cranes, ibis, and alligators just to mention a (very) few. Just recently I have waged war on non-native species on my little patch of suburbia. We have what are called "curly-tailed" lizards that were introduced to eat insects some time in the 50s/60s. They are starting to take over and eating the native lizards that actually eat bugs. I carve on the side of my house and noticed one had set up shop in one of my rock gardens. Unacceptable!! So for the past month I have set a few traps with no luck. Catching these guys by hand is impossible - I'm just too big and slow. I went and purchased a wrist rocket slingshot in the hopes of taking out this pest. My aim is not that great and still needs more practice. I hit him once but it was not a direct hit and he looked at me like I was the pest. Last night I was out there showing my brother a tiki when he asked what the blur in the garden was. I explained and showed him my toy. He started to laugh when showed me that there were actually two!!

So while you are trying grow with nature I want to stop the growth. I'll get those little bastards. I can't help but think of myself as Elmer Fudd. "Huntin Wizards!!"


Vic sounds like you been hanging out by that pond for a litttttle too long!

Remember you can love nature..just don't LOVE nature!

[ Edited by: leleliz 2009-04-21 18:20 ]

Some mornings when I kick back in my hot tub I watch the avian super highway above me. Sparrows, swallows, magpies, pigeons, crows, blue jays, mockingbirds, finches, morning doves, waxwings, warblers crisscrossing the sky. Mockingbirds harrassing the crows, crows harrassing the hawks, hawks just trying to eat, all of them just trying to survive.

On 2009-04-21 07:30, Jungle Trader wrote:
uh-huh, don't forget beer for your snails.

They won't touch it, the wee snobs. They will, however, go for thimble-full of chilled Chardonnay and a bit of toasted brie (I do not offer them any rum). Thank goodness the 'possums around here seem to find 'em tasty. Just how tasty the 'possums are I have yet to find out, but if another one of 'em gets into my office this summer, he'll very likely find himself in the stew. 'Til then I'll just toss another budgie on the barbie and drink the beer meself (until sundown). As to the avian crowd around here, I shooed a Cooper's Hawk out of my next door neighbor's garage a while back (absolutely gorgeous bird). Not exactly sure what he likes to eat, but I'm keepin' a close eye on our rabbit, you betcha, now that I know he's in the neighborhood.

Slan juh va!

Lets see, coming home from working the polls one night in Trabuco Canyon, had a Bobcat run right in front of my car.

Also, saw both a deer and a coyote in broad daylight, in the santa ana river right next to Anaheim stadium.

Today I saw a house cat and a gopher hole.

From an old thread;

Captured by hand in my backyard-

No I myself did not do the catching by hand, do you think I'm crazy?

I saw a frog in central london the other night on my way home, I picked it off the road and took it to a park.
(I am talking about a real frog not a french person)


On 2009-04-27 23:28, Hakalugi wrote:
From an old thread;

Captured by hand in my backyard-

No I myself did not do the catching by hand, do you think I'm crazy?

That's a mean one!

I hope you were wearing welding gloves!

cheeky, did you take a picnic basket to share?

That possum reminds me I found a baby possum in the dog pen,....dead. It was about 4 inches long. Dogs voted death penalty for trying to steal their food.

Looks very much like the 'possum I pulled out of my office last summer. The little horror had found a spot behind the laser printer, and I was wondering why my dog was acting so bent, until I saw that hairy back tufting up behind the paper cartridge. Eeek. Had to put on a pair of welding gloves, screw my courage to the sticking-place, and hope I could nab him in one grab, which thank God I did. I caged him and then let him go over at the drastically overgrown, "creepy house" in our neighborhood, figuring he'd fit in just fine with the other feral lifeforms lurking there.

I've been wondering how he may have tasted ever since Bohemiann posted that pic of "Canned 'Possum" a while back --

Yum. Didn't have the heart to 'Que him up tho. But if his little brother comes back this summer, well...

GROG posted on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 10:56 AM

GROG live in mountains. GROG see coyotes, raccoons, hawks,and deer often. Nearly hit deer on GROG' murdercycle a couple of weeks ago, it was close one. GROG hear owls pretty often, but only saw one in daytime once while on hike. Seen a bobcat years ago not too far from home. GROG see two mountain lion walking on side of road about 8 miles from house a couple of years ago. GROG had to throw lizard out of house last week. Usually GROG find lizard in garage, but mostly outside in garden or by jacuzzi. Heard bigfoot once, and smelled bigfoot another time. Lots of ground squirrels, and regular tree squirrels around, sometimes see them flattened in road. Got many humming birds come to GROG garden. Some sort of weird dark bird keep landing on window sill and flirt with reflection. GROG have to chase it away because it make too much noise when GROG watching TV. GROG also have damned loud mocking birds that wake GROG up some mornings.(GROG can hear damned mocking bird right now.) GROG seen a few snakes while hiking up fireroad behind GROG' house. Baby rattlesnakes lay still and look like stick. Have to watch where you walk. Only see opossum rarely, but have seen some around. Only saw baby bear once, but that was up in northern California, and it run across road in front of car. GROG hear lots of frog in neighbor's ponds. A few times GROG find them in drive way at night, must be looking for crickets. GROG have a good amount of doves, grackles, and various other birds around house. Sometimes GROG see some sort of tall waterfowl in wash below GROG' house. Other than GROG' roommate, that most of wildflife GROG see around GROG' house.

My favorite Possum story - True story!!

Adding to the possum frenzy - here's my favorite possum memory. When I first moved into my house, there was a family of possums living in my attic. So I bought a humane trap and it worked immediately. Caught the first one right at sunset. That night a storm was rolling thru so I felt bad so I climbed up onto roof and covered the cage and gave it some food. Early the next morning I was going to release it in the Everglades. To get it to the Everglades I had to place the cage in the back of my Jeep Cherokee. Have you ever smelled a scared possum? They release a musk much like a skunk. So I'm driving down the road with my head stuck out the window trying not to puke! The Everglades are surrounded by a levee, I pulled around a beach that airboats use and proceed to the top of the levee to release the possum. I have a bit of experience with handling animals from my days of working at a roadside zoo (remember I live in FL). The possum did not want to come out of the cage so I struggled trying to get him out. Eventually I get the possum out of the cage and it looked at me like "what now". It slowly walked down the levee towards the airboat, beach area. DONE - not quite. As it walked away I grabbed the cage and placed it back in my Jeep. As soon as I turned my back - SPLASH, SPLASH!! When I turned around the possum was gone and there were only a few ripples in the water!! I was sooo pissed. Not that it had gotten eaten - it was the fact that I took such good care and suffered thru the smell and struggled getting it released - I didn't get to see it get eaten!!!!

I caught 3 more and tried to duplicate the experience with no success - they all lived, damnit!!

Mmmm. The catering around here's never been better since Tom started his 'wildlife conservation program'...


Good stories guys.
My brother just told me this one: One night working at the rock quarry he finds a gopher snake jus walkin' around, yeah jus walking around. So he picks it up goes into the scale office and a big truck driver walks in and sees this snake wrapped around my brother's arm. The driver turns around high tails it out the door, slams the door so hard it breaks the window, glass everywhere. Never came back the rest of the night. I thought truck drivers were burly men not girly men.


A few years back I had a big red bellied woodpecker making a nesting hole in a large pine tree in my back yard. The bird worked for days and days on it's new home. I took my daughter out to show her this wonder of nature one afternoon and as we were watching the bird peck and peck at the tree all of the sudden POW!!! the tree trunk exploded right at the hole and the top of the tree came crashing down. About fifteen feet of the tree came crashing at us as we went into a flat out run. Must be that the tree was weakened at that point and gave way. We looked for the woodpecker but I think it was able to get free before the tree came down. My wife and neighbor saw it happen from a distance and couldn't believe what had happened. So a beautiful nature story ends with an afternoon with the chainsaw cutting up a tree downed by a woodpecker. Gotta love the neighborhood wildlife.

GROG posted on Sat, May 2, 2009 8:33 AM

That was one tough pecker!

It will live in woodpecker infamy forever. "Now son, let me tell you about your Great Grandpa Willy and how he brought down the biggest pine tree evar with just his pecker!"

I've been thinking a lot about frogs in the backyard lately.

I grew up with a little above ground pool in the backyard. Every spring the tree frogs would spawn in the pool, and by summer the night air would be a cacophony of chirps and ribbits. Apparently my brothers sold tadpoles to the neighbourhood kids.

When I was about 13 or so one of my brothers and I dug a pond in my parents yard, hoping to attract the frogs back. One of the neighbours nervously thought his kids would drown in it, so he filled it with newspapers and threw a piece of plywood over top. Oh that's better, a HIDDEN pond you might trip in when the wood rots!

When I bought my home the first thing I did in the backyard was add a pond. Having a dog and cats has kept most wildlife away(apart from the herons and racooons that eat my koi) But now that I'm virtually pet free, I may have a chance at frog re-entry.

I just turned on my pump for the season, but am wondering if that might keep them away? Personally, I'd rather keep the koi inside if I can have frogs in the pond! Then at least I won't have to replace the fish when they become sushi. Does your waterfall or pump impede the toad's spawning? Or do you have a quiet, stagnant place for them?

You should take some backyard wildlife photos!

The area of my pond that the toads spawn in is a quiet area, not raging near the waterfall. I have a "bog" (about a foot deep) or step whatever you want to call it where I set Acorus 'Ogon' or 'Variegatus'. Just set it in the water in the container. I have about 5 of those in the pond along with water lily at the bottom. (3 ft. deep is best). Also have horsetail, cattail, and taro. This gives any frogs, toads or turtles plenty of places to hide, spawn and eggs will attach to the plant material. You can add basketball size stones or smaller at the edge of the bogs to keep the koi away. They eat everything. They're not fish they're really pigs with fins.
Pix soon.

[ Edited by: Jungle Trader 2009-05-02 21:59 ]

On 2009-04-28 10:56, GROG wrote:
Nearly hit deer on GROG' murdercycle a couple of weeks ago

What it was doing on GROG's Motorcycle we'll never know.

Check this out, 2 toads, the smaller (male) on top of the BIGGER female. For 2 days they've been doin' it. Now that's love.

[ Edited by: Jungle Trader 2009-05-06 17:14 ]

I work in a mirror glass building on the water in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. The windows are constantly being hit by birds. Occasionally we get other visitors that see their refections in the windows - here's one.

She's a bit small - we have some that almost twice her size. What's really unsettling is that you can be walking along and these guys will shoot out the bushes in a panic and run for the water. They see you but you don't see them - SURPRISE!!

I told a friend that we have been blessed by a swallow nest just above our front door. Yah, the baby is flying around already, didn't waste any time. So the friend says she had hundreds of nests up under her eaves (she lives on a ranch in the cuntry). oops forgot the o. They had to get rid of them, just too much crap. dang. maybe I'll post a pic of the swallow in the nest.
Also if you have tomato plants then you have tomato worms. Go out there at night and jus listen, yeah jus listen real close and you'll hear them munching, then grab and stab the shit out of them. heheh.
I have also introduced frogs to my backyard. 15 to be exact. Most are only about a half inch diameter. Guys, put yer forefinger and thumb up and measure a half inch. yep that's how big. Most of them left but a couple have stayed behind. That's why I was trying to get tadpoles instead.
Next I'm going to try to introduce salamanders, especially the threatened Calif. Tiger Salamander but I want to make sure it's within legal limits to do so.
Any new stories from anyone?

Here's an image of the California Tiger Salamander.
Isn't she a beauty?

GROG posted on Thu, Jul 2, 2009 12:56 AM

Damned birds are looking for mates. Wake GROG up every morning chirping loudly in tree outside GROG' bedroom window.Driving GROG batty.

On 2009-07-02 00:56, GROG wrote:
Damned birds are looking for mates. Wake GROG up every morning chirping loudly in tree outside GROG' bedroom window.Driving GROG batty.

While riding my bike the other night, I had a VERY close encounter with nature! There is a small gap in the fence at a local park. Joggers and cyclists use it to enter/leave the park. I approached quickly and did not notice the 6-8' iguana sitting right in the gap! I slid to a stop and he spun around whipping my bike with its tail (I moved my leg just in time). It then bolted for the canal knocking me and my bike out of the way. I didn't think much about it and proceeded to ride home. Along the way I felt something running down my leg - not blood! When the iguana whipped my bike it had sliced my water bottle (that was mounted on the frame) to shreds. I panicked for about a second till I saw the fluid was not red! That was a close call!

WOW you lucky AlohaStation.
Turns out we thought the swallow babies had left but not so. They are stretching their necks out now and opening their mouths wide when mom and pop come flying in. They look a little cartoonish. Four of them I believe. Gotta get some pics and maybe video. We get harrassed heavily by mom when we walk out our front door. Raises the hair on my arms when she swoops down trying to peck my eyes out.


Had a situation kinda like AS', but not as dangerous: while riding my bike @ 6 AM on the way to work (a mostly uphill 40 minute ride, in the dark), I noticed something peripherally on my left on a particularly steep stretch - a skunk. Lifted my leg high just as it spun and squirted, a good ten feet o'stink that would've saturated my lower leg & foot. Must've had babies around as he/she started to scamper up after me so I had to crank it over the crest.

And here's some neighbors who liked to drop in at my old apt. near Commercial Dr. -

  • I always kept my back door open during the summer when I went to bed, and once in a while I'd wake up to see these silently lumbering shapes & glowing eyes explore the place...

Close call twitch. I heard tomato sauce gets rid of skunk smell. I wonder if you could just throw a tomato at the skunk. You can have some of mine. Just put um in your front basket, ammo ready.

Last month I had 2 Mexican Black Kingsnakes in front yard. Beautiful glossy black with faint yellow bands, but my wife hates snakes and said if she ever sees one we're moving back into town. Now, I have nothin' against you city folk but I can't live like that. So I caught them, transported them in the back of the truck a couple miles away and released them.

PS, for those of you contemplating 'qued 'possum - I've never tried it but my brother said they weren't fit to eat. And he'll eat most anything.

A couple weeks ago I was riding my bike on some trails in Central Florida when I came across this little girly. A soft-shelled turtle about the size of a serving platter. She was digging her nest right in the middle of the trail - there was no water close. So I lifted her up and set her in an area where she wouldn't get run over.

On 2009-07-14 16:04, MadDogMike wrote:
PS, for those of you contemplating 'qued 'possum - I've never tried it but my brother said they weren't fit to eat. And he'll eat most anything.

I went to the Annual Possum festival in a small town in North FL. Tried the Kabobs and the stew - both tasted great after drinking ALL DAY!! Also tried the rabbit and coon selections.

Damn!!! I missed it this year.


So I was watchin' "Woodstock, Then and Now". Michael Lang is tellin' Santana they gotta go on stage and play. Nobody's ready, nobody. They go on anyway. Carlos is peakin' on mescaline. He thinks his guitar is a big red snake and he's gotta control it. Well YEAH! Carlos kicked ass on that big red snake. If you haven't heard "Soul Sacrifice" at Woodstock, sheeeeeit.

[ Edited by: Jungle Trader 2009-08-27 19:41 ]

I was having drinks Friday night at the Mai Kai. In tradition we order our drink, ordered some food and went on a journey thru the Gardens. While wandering around we encountered this little guy. Not so "little" - probably 18-20". He had no fear, which is unusual for this species. I call them "Cubera" lizards - very shy, very bright green/yellow, this was my closest and longest encounter with one of these lizards. He hung out for several minutes and allowed me to stick my cell phone into its face for a few pics (I could have grabbed him easily). So the next time your in the Mai Kai garden keep your eyes open - you may not be alone!!

I'm sure it doesn't mean to look sinister but it does. Nice pics. He's a beauty.


The spring before last there was a rufus-sided towee (sp?) who was either in love with himself or was trying to attract a mate, whatever, he would spend the ENTIRE FREAKIN' DAY going from the windows on one end of the house to the other, jumping up and slamming into them! He did it all spring and well into the summer! This year he came back but only for a short time. Not only did he have a thing for our windows, but he also seemed to have a hard-on for the neighbors' brass kickplate on their front door!

It's been a long time since there's been any REAL wildlife in our area. When we first moved in we had all kinds of critters - including an opposum who got locked in the garage all night by accident and attempted to chew his way out through the rubber stripping at the bottom of the garage door!

The garter snakes are trying to make a come-back - all the new cats in the neighborhood basically wiped them out - but the quail haven't been back in nearly 16 years. VERY unfortunate. We only have the gray squirels and racoons on occassion. But I did enjoy watching a pair of killdeer raise their four young from egg to gone! They're the ones that try to fake you out with the broken wing trick! Fooled my dog!

Ahhhhh - suburbia!


Found this guy on Sunday morning in the hills above Mojeska Canyon.

[ Edited by: Lucas Vigor 2009-10-26 12:22 ]

Lucas you're getting better at this, so far a coyote and a tarantula.


On 2009-10-27 15:00, Jungle Trader wrote:
Lucas you're getting better at this, so far a coyote and a tarantula.

It was a nice halloween suprise, that's for sure! Coming down the trail above Flores peak, there it was...moving at a pretty fast clip, too! In all my years of hiking I have never actually seen one out in the wild...so I think it was a good omen!

While riding at Oleta State Park in North Miami Beach a buddy had a close encounter. This guy likes sitting in the trail and only has a slight interest when you ride next to him - he's always there on a very busy trail. I'll let you try and guess the size of this iguana.

Extrapolating from the 1.5 x 3.5 inch board he's sitting on, I would estimate his body length to be 37.5 inches and another 33 inches for the tail. That makes almost 6 feet - HOLY CRAP :o That's a whole lotta "tree chicken"

Wild iguanas in Fla.? How did that happen? I'll say about 6 ft. also.

GROG posted on Fri, Dec 11, 2009 1:17 AM

6 ft. was GROG' guess as well.

Today GROG had to slow for a small 4 point buck (that's a deer) that was just starting to cross the road as GROG approached. Have seen several coyotes in the last couple of weeks, and saw three raccoons in the neighbor's tree a couple of weeks ago. Small lizards in the yard are moving slow in the chilly weather. Saw a skunk a month ago a couple of blocks down from Kirby's when GROG was leaving the Rumpus Room one night. A couple of owls were out hooting in the neighborhood last week, so only heard them.

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