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296 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

13 Apr 20 - 09:37 AM (#4045805)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The earthworms are out!
if that scientist told the truth
(earlier post on this thread),
the earthworms need oxygen and they come out when it rains.
Now they are oozing their slow and steady way
around on the sidewalk pavement,
in the puddles, while a drenching rain is falling.

Not certain if the earthworms get their oxygen
by being out of the ground,
or by searching out rainwater which is rich in oxygen, or what.

13 Apr 20 - 12:25 PM (#4045839)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

They obtain oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide via diffusion through their skin. Oxygen must dissolve in the moisture on the skin first, so worms must never dry out. There is a rich bed of capillaries under the skin to facilitate this gas exchange. Earthworms come to the surface to get food, decaying leaves for example, which they drag down. I suppose they may find it easier to obtain oxygen by coming up to the top when the soil is saturated by rain, but in decently-aerated soil they don't need to come up for air. And worm burrows are a major contribution to that aeration.

25 May 20 - 06:31 PM (#4055159)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Last year, it was high summer by the time
a ground squirrel turned up where I could spot it,
and it was on the paved road.

Today's ground squirrel I saw by
looking out the window where I am staying presently,
and the little beastie was right where
the grassy lawn comes up to a building;
it scampered swiftly around the corner and out of sight.

05 Jun 20 - 03:19 PM (#4057542)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Another little ground squirrel or chipmunk.
They are amusing when they dash across the road,
what really looks comical is the
straight narrow tail which sticks out on the diagonal,
almost exactly 45 degrees, from the racing little body.

05 Jun 20 - 03:59 PM (#4057548)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Gaaaaagh!!! I have never ever seen such enormous spiders in my entire life. Three now, jet black and quite hairy. In the house. In our bedroom. In our hall.
Are they a new arrival from abroad? Could they please go back immediately?
Husband has absolutely no fear (I have a phobia) and he gently picks them off the wall (shudder) and puts them out in the garden.
Can anyone suggest what type of spider this is?
I swear one looked as if it was wearing four pairs of football boots.

05 Jun 20 - 08:26 PM (#4057595)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Quite a few species of British spider will give you a nip if provoked. But none can do you any real harm. They are very useful beasts and should never be killed. Mrs Steve is scared of them and requires me to evict them. I do that only if she's looking, otherwise I secretly release them back into the house.

06 Jun 20 - 04:31 AM (#4057614)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I know Steve, and I do love learning about wildlife etc. (Norfolk Wildlife Trust) I don't want them squashed, but I can't tolerate them inside the house. If I get up in the night for the loo and there's one in the bathroom I can't help but scream, so husband prefers to put them outside.
He says the latest one is a new signing for Norwich City FC, a super-striker, hence the football boots.

06 Jun 20 - 01:17 PM (#4057702)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

could the spiders be Morris dancers?

06 Jun 20 - 02:45 PM (#4057724)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Hahaha keberoxu! Quite probably a side called the Norfolk Clog Dancers!
My much-loved neighbour-across-the-road pointed out to me just this morning some very strange and sinister webs in the two honeysuckle plants that frame our front door. Huge, thick, woolly webs totally unlike those of garden spiders. She reckons the spiders are coming in the house by climbing up the plants and using them to access our open windows.
Wish she hadn't said that - I quickly shut all the windows and the front door (usually left open when we're at home) and I'm now stifling hot but spider-free.

07 Jun 20 - 04:47 PM (#4057979)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

In this part of the world,
there are squirrels -- the full-size ones,
not the little chipmunk scamperers --
in two different colors:
the very common grey squirrel,
black squirrels.

I have in fact seen black squirrels before,
during an extended stay in
Pennsylvania's Montgomery County,
northwest of Philadelphia.
Now I am in mountain country
near the state line between
New York and Massachusetts,
where I have never stayed before,
and here are the black squirrels again ...

and the other day I spotted, in the grass between trees,
a squirrel of such an unusual coloring
that I suspect
a mating between grey and black,
with a sort of brindle in-between result.

08 Jun 20 - 04:35 PM (#4058216)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Well now it's blooming carpet moths! When we moved into this house ten years ago, all the carpets were a lovely wool-mix and just the colour we liked, and I think when they were laid by the previous owners, they were anti-moth treated. But the treatment has worn away and now we have quite a few holes, and these blasted tiny moths appear on the walls.
I keep spraying the eaten-away holes, but my sister tells me the only solution is to replace all our carpeting with non-wool stuff.
That would be one heck of a kerfuffle, and an enormous expense, so holes it will be.
Maybe the huge spiders could be persuaded to eat up the moths?

09 Jun 20 - 06:24 AM (#4058343)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

I have heard that the National Trust and other keepers of stately homes encourage spiders for just that reason.

09 Jun 20 - 07:12 AM (#4058357)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Gaaaaagh Jos! I reckon I'll be a bit terrified now to go into any of the NT properties in Norfolk!
Our lovely Churchwarden is an elderly single man, and his house has huge cobwebs hanging from all the ceilings. We've been invited a few times round his for a nice cup of tea, but I kept eyeing those webs with trepidation. He laughed and said he liked spiders (!!!) and they kept flies and other pests out. My husband replied that it would keep me (a pest??) out too!

09 Jun 20 - 01:34 PM (#4058432)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: leeneia

Senoufou, could those huge wooly webs be where tent caterpillars live? Google it.

About the carpet moths: here in America the bird-seed stores sell traps for the moths which might come with the seed. Perhaps you can find something similar to trap the adult moths as they emerge.

Be sure to distinguish cobwebs from spider webs. Cobwebs form when static electricity causes various kinds of dust to cling together in filaments. They are harmless, although they probably mean that it's time to clean the house.

09 Jun 20 - 01:59 PM (#4058439)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

That's most interesting leeneia, but the webs on the honeysuckle are more than likely spider ones. The neighbour very kindly cut back both honeysuckle plants for us last autumn, right back to the wall, and she said several 'enormous black spiders' ran away and under our garage door (gaaaaagh!) She has no fear, and reckons they have now returned and made their nests again. I'm just wondering what species of spiders these are.
As for the Churchwarden, he actually confessed that there are lots and lots of big spiders in his house, and calls them his 'friends'. (gaaaaagh again!)
I'm very ashamed of this phobia, but it's been there since I was a tiny girl, and I can't get the better of it.

10 Jun 20 - 12:33 PM (#4058622)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: leeneia

I don't think I believe the story about lots and lots of big spiders in an English house, not unless the house is unusually rickety or infested with other insects which serve as prey. I believe the man was pulling your leg. But check with authoritative sources.

I have sometimes had a spider in the house, but very small. I figure they eat the eggs of houseflies and cockroaches, and so they are welcome little guests. (None of them has ever come near anybody.)

I bet if you researched it, you would find that the big spiders' habitat is thick, leafy vegetation such as the honeysuckle, and they would never be tempted to enter your house.

You don't need to be ashamed of your fear of spiders, but perhaps if you learned more of how they live, you would learn some reassuring facts. I have a terrible fear of heights, myself, but I'm not ashamed of it.
We have a big vine of native honeysuckle, and this summer we have a hummingbird pair feeding from its blossoms. Lovely!

10 Jun 20 - 12:42 PM (#4058626)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Ooooh, hummingbirds would be so much more acceptable! How delightful!

17 Jun 20 - 06:29 PM (#4059762)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

A fox! I just saw a fox!

I'm at a residential treatment center in a small town,
and that is where the fox appeared,
nor am I the only one who saw it.
The sun is still out, if low in the sky.
The grass around the greenhouse has been recently mown,
and was cut too low to conceal anything moving in the grass.
The fox paid all of this no mind,
and paced slowly past the greenhouse over the cut grass,
under the trees.

A full-grown sized fox, and none too young;
the fur was quite brown, hardly anything resembling a red color;
muzzle, tail, and what I could see of paws
had nothing resembling black, just more of a neutral pale color.

It was the head and the tail, actually,
that helped me to positively identify
that this is a full-grown fox and nothing else.
I have rarely in my life seen an actual brown fox.

Normally, the foxes I see are near an open road,
if not dead by the side of it,
and they have been so young as to be almost pink-red.

I'm not a wilderness person and I do not venture
where older, browner foxes live, out of sight.
And it is rarer still when
an old brown fox comes out where the grass is mown,
near a parking lot full of parked autos.

17 Jun 20 - 06:53 PM (#4059766)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

We are overrun by bloody grey squirrels, an extremely unwelcome import from North America, and rabbits, an extremely unwelcome Roman import. I would welcome a plague of foxes, buzzards and domestic cats to control these horrors.

17 Jun 20 - 08:27 PM (#4059780)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Mossback


We'd be happy to come & get our squirrels if you'll return the favor & come get your goddamn starlings.

Also, be careful what you wish for - we ALREADY have a monumental plague of domestic and stray - feral[sic] - cats that needs doing away with & soon.

17 Jun 20 - 08:43 PM (#4059782)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

I understand that certain Canuckistanis object to our beautiful purple loosestrife...

My garden is overrun with American willowherb. Japanese knotweed is a menace in Cornwall. When it comes to starlings (endangered this end) I don't know what you're complaining about. You have far worse bird plagues your end. Then there's that Canadian fleabane. Bastard...

18 Jun 20 - 04:45 AM (#4059813)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Speaking of Canada, Canada geese have been called "Britain's most hated bird." I understand that they may be hated even more in some parts of the US. The cygnets are very cute, but I should think that that's as far as it goes.

18 Jun 20 - 09:20 AM (#4059868)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmits!
From: Donuel

Many US white guys perform a ritual of going into the woods armed to the teeth to kill an animal, not for survival but for sport. If you ask me its not a fair fight, its not like the animal even has a taser. The hunters patiently track an animal after being alerted to its presence at long last. If the animal surprises the hunter and starts to run they may get off a shot or two and may only hit their prey in the back and exclaim "GOT HIM". When the hunters come across the carcass they may give it a kick to be sure it is dead and it is not uncommon to even stand upon their prey. For a white guy who grew up hearing black people are animals and have that notion reinforced by others around him as well as incidents that further dehumanize black people in his eyes, the white guy actually comes to believe black people ARE animals. Is he murderously psychopathic? No, he was culturally trained to kill as in the hunt. You have to be carefully taught. Unlearning is a hard road.

18 Jun 20 - 10:26 PM (#4060014)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

You say "cygnets"
and I say "goslings" ...
call the whole thing off?

20 Jun 20 - 04:16 PM (#4060389)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Just in time for people to start getting out more,
the area I am living in currently
is sending out warnings about
hungry bears raiding dumpsters ...

it reminds me of the shark/Jaws movies,
"just when you thought
it was safe to go back in the water ... "

20 Jun 20 - 06:11 PM (#4060422)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Yeah, goslings. That'll do me.

23 Jun 20 - 03:21 PM (#4061008)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Today, meeting with one of my caseworkers,
I saw outside the office window
a groundskeeper with a stiff broom,
walking around the windows and walls outside the building,
taking down spiderwebs.

24 Jun 20 - 07:40 PM (#4061237)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Today it was a cottontail rabbit.
Very brave of the rabbit to come out
in the same spot where
the fox was on patrol earlier this week.

25 Jun 20 - 03:55 AM (#4061273)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Last night we had a tawny owl on our bungalow roof hooting away like mad. On and on and on. Must have been feeling horny. Nice at first but it got a bit annoying (very loud!) They do catch mice etc so not a bad thing.

25 Jun 20 - 07:19 AM (#4061300)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Now it's those huge bluebottle flies. In this heat, we have to open the windows, plus the doors of the conservatory and utility room. So the blooming things bash around buzzing loudly trying to get out again.
I haven't the heart to swat them/squash them. They can't help being flies can they? So I gently usher them out with a flapping tea-towel.
I swear it's the same ones that come back in again!
I offered one a bit of ham. It seemed to like it. Daft aren't I?
Our neighbour, a shepherdess, tells me her small flock has 'fly-strike' (maggots in their feet and bottoms).

01 Jul 20 - 09:48 AM (#4062295)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The coronavirus pandemic now has a component in
mink and ferrets.

02 Jul 20 - 01:13 AM (#4062412)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: robomatic

Probably due to so many people staying indoors we've had some reports of wildlife on the sidewalks. I live in the suburbs five miles(8 kilometers) from the downtown of the biggest city in Alaska. So a neighbor three blocks away saw a full grown otter running past his cul-de-sac. About two weeks ago I saw a black bear on the sidewalk. And people I don't know got on the neighbor web and reported a brown bear kill within half a mile. And a moose with calf in the local dog park. This is above average and probably covid related. Aviation is far below normal even now, and skies are I think somewhat bluer and certainly way quieter.

02 Jul 20 - 04:25 PM (#4062504)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Charmion

Senoufou, don't you folks over there have window screens yet? They keep out flies, mosquitoes, moths and all manner of critters, including spiders!

When my grandfather moved his family from Montreal to England in 1924, he discovered with disgust that window screens were unknown, although they were standard equipment in Canada. Over 21 years in England, he made a full set of screens for every house the family spent more than a few months in (they moved frequently due to his work).

02 Jul 20 - 04:42 PM (#4062506)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

No Charmion, no screens. I've seen them in Africa, and with mosquito nets over the bed, one can be relatively insect-free.
The poor bluebottles whizz outside again if 'encouraged' with my tea towel, but some drop dead on the floor from starvation (which is why I offered a bit of ham!)
My neighbour-across-the-road has had to send for the Rat Man because she's seen one rat in her garden (She's terrified of them) It's said that one is never far from a rat, and I don't myself mind them, but they are dirty creatures and carry Weil's disease.

03 Jul 20 - 05:41 AM (#4062576)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Penny S.

In Aldi or in Lidl, and probably other places, I have been able to buy black mesh with velcro fixings to cover the windows. You can get white mesh too, but I prefer the black as it's barely visible. It does the job of screens.

19 Jul 20 - 08:29 PM (#4065004)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Some big hungry bears are coming down from the mountain and hill forests
to knock over people's dumpsters.
Where I'm staying,
there was just a flurry of excitement with others running about saying,
"Don't go outside! There's a big bear out there!"
and running from window to window in the fading evening light,
trying to see the big old thing.

I just stayed at the computer ...

21 Jul 20 - 06:54 PM (#4065327)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The bear got away from the police.
Don't ask me how, because they treed the bear.
The patrol car pulled in, and out came the policemen
and one of them had some sort of gun (tranquilizer?).
But somehow, the bear got away.

13 Aug 20 - 09:49 PM (#4068289)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Another night, another bear.
Well, it could be the same bear, for all I know.
He's at the dumpster and the trash, of course.
I didn't look out the window but others did
and they say the bear left quite a mess while dumpster diving.

Wonder if somebody will call the cops again...

14 Aug 20 - 04:09 AM (#4068308)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Oh dear, the poor bear - he must be very hungry.
That tame red deer Bambam has been munching on flowers in tubs on people's patios and peering in windows wanting to come in. He's also swimming with all the children down at the river Wensum, and playing with people's dogs, chasing round and round. He turned up at the riding stables one evening and started teasing the horses in their paddock by butting them on their bottoms (he has no horns as he's been neutered) He's an absolute scream, but he can be a danger on the roads.

14 Aug 20 - 10:30 AM (#4068347)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Stilly River Sage

Bears can be moved and if it isn't very far away they will return, quicker than you might imagine.

Some foolish people have been feeding nutria (an introduced fur-bearing rodent) in one of the parks upstream from my house. I expect one of these days they'll become part of the excitement in the back yard. It's legal to deal with them as pests, but you can't keep them because they are fur-bearing (and were used for coats at the turn of the last century, hence their introduction).

14 Aug 20 - 12:14 PM (#4068354)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Nutria! Now, there's a varmint for you!

I've never been in areas, I don't believe,
where the nutria were introduced and became pests.
I understand that they reproduce like rabbits!

14 Aug 20 - 02:31 PM (#4068368)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

I spent more than thirty years turning our half-acre rural-coastal garden from a bleak, open field into wildlife heaven. We get an amazing diversity of spiders, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals and I love that. But this year we've had a swarm of honeybees actually living in our shower room under the shower tray (accessed by a tiny hole in the exterior stonework we hadn't even noticed), a wasps' nest right over our front porch, a plague of grey squirrels (alien), a plague of rabbits (alien), masses of cluster flies all over the garden, pheasants (alien) trashing a section of our lawn and destroying my fuschia hedge, wood pigeons demolishing my broad bean crop, an absolute plague of large white butterfly caterpillars and a horrid resurgence of Dutch Elm Disease which has killed several large trees already and which is threatening lots of others. In chapter two I'll tell you about the nice bits...

14 Aug 20 - 03:32 PM (#4068376)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

We had a bumble bee trapped inside our conservatory this morning. I'll swear it was the size of a golf ball! I got a hand towel and gently encased it, then let it go outside. I'm never scared of bees or stingy thing, just spiders.
Steve, your wildlife plot sounds gorgeous. Well done for encouraging all those species. Shame about the 'invaders' though.

16 Aug 20 - 02:06 PM (#4068568)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

My first RED squirrel in donkey's years.

I grew up, decades and decades ago,
where there were squirrels
both red and grey.
In time, the grey squirrels, who are much larger,
crowded out the red squirrels in that region;
and most likely there were other contributing factors.
But what I recall is that after a time,
one only saw grey squirrels and no more red squirrels.

Presently I am staying in a different part of the country,
where there are mountains, foothills,
protected forests, acres and acres of green trees,
the squirrels come in three colors:

black, grey, and red.

The black squirrels and the grey squirrels are different in color
and alike in every other respect. Same size, proportions.
Occasionally I have spotted a sort of
brindle-furred squirrel of the same size,
which I take to be grey-squirrel-plus-black-squirrel.

The red squirrels, though, the little ones,
are still here; there is room for any and all squirrels here,
and they don't crowd each other out.

So, where did I spot the little red squirrel yesterday?
Why, at the local branch of
MacDonald's fast-food restaurants, of course,
diving into a dustbin by the parking spaces,
looking for something edible.
It was hilarious to watch the little beast going in headfirst
with his furry red plume of a tail sticking out above the dustbin.
It was only in there for a minute or two,
apparently whatever was in the dustbin
wasn't even fit for a red squirrel to eat.
out again, across the alley, and up the nearest pine tree,
and leaping from pine tree to pine tree
next to the shopping center, wheeeeee!

16 Aug 20 - 06:46 PM (#4068591)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

So today's good stuff: a comma butterfly, a peacock butterfly, a couple of red admirals, a speckled wood, a common blue, a couple of small tortoisehells (not enough), a European hornet (they're fine!), several species of bumblebees on my Salvia "hotlips", a pair of woodpeckers, a coal tit, loads of blue tits and great tits, a couple of goldfinches, jays, dunnocks, chaffinches, a robin that wouldn't leave me alone in the garden, loads of blackbirds...

16 Aug 20 - 07:06 PM (#4068593)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

And the weather's been horrible: hardly any sun for days, hot and with high humidity. But I saw all that in my garden today. Then, a few minutes ago, I stepped outside into the dark, hot evening, and the stars gleamed out at long last through the boughs of my pride-and-joy big beech tree. The moths were all about. Beauty and calm enveloped me and I even thought of singing a song (but Mrs Steve was in bed and she might've thought I was doing my Romeo to her Juliet bit...). God sat on a nearby tree stump and asked me why I didn't need him. I told him that the beauty and diversity of all around me were all I needed, magic not required. He slunk off in a huff, and I'll swear he was muttering that I'll never get to heaven. Bugger that, I thought, I'm OK here...

21 Aug 20 - 12:36 PM (#4069075)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Oh how lovely Steve. I think you're living in an earthly paradise similar to our village.
Yesterday evening our whole street was outside because Bambam the tame red deer had wandered up and was happily browsing on everyone's flowers in all the front gardens. He's very big, but completely tame and gentle. We were all worried about passing cars and a possible tragic accident, so I fetched some biscuits and my soft dressing-gown belt. While he munched on a Rich Tea, I gently put the belt round his neck and nose (like a horse's halter) and we all quietly led him back down the road to the Old Rectory.
Trouble is, apparently he was back again very early this morning and has eaten most of my neighbour-across-the-road's begonias, much to her fury! Other neighbour (adjacent to us) said "Oi'd loik him in a noice venison stoo with a foo caaarrots n' taters!"
Regarding moths, aren't there a lot this year? Our house seems to be full of them. I try to liberate them but they get squashed so easily when one tries to catch them.

24 Aug 20 - 09:18 AM (#4069435)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: robomatic

My main exercise is walking a dog, not my own, with her keepers, and occasionally hiking with one of them. They live nearby and it turns out there are some nice open spaces in their neighborhood, which is pleasantly upholstered with school grounds melded into some municipal parkland, good continuous concrete sidewalks and curved routings so you never feel confined to a grid. And treed areas in which the wildlife can hide. One of the wildlife is a huge bull moose which has wandered through the suburbs for the last few years. While you never treat a moose as a domestic animal, this one appears to have a personality like Ferdinand, he has enjoyed the lawn sprinklers on some of our hotter days, and apparently lounged within ten feet of a local family barbecue with no one getting excited about his proximity. He would be a prize 'harvest' were he in the wild. And as I mentioned earlier in this pandemic, a black bear has been seen round the corner treading the sidewalk (by me). Nevertheless those same sidewalks are populated by bicyclists and babycarriages (and me). We've had the annual visits from stellar jays, which are plump jaybirds with a crowned black head and upperbody shading into a midnight blue with a bit of a sheen toward the tail. They are talkative birds, the ones that passed through my yard seemed to have a long complex message to pass amongst themselves and to me, but less raucous than our constant companions, the magpies. While I haven't seen beaver in years, my largest tree was heavily eaten into by something that must have been a team of them, within the last couple years. Since the tree is a cottonwood, I'm sure my neighbors were rooting the beavers on.

24 Aug 20 - 03:28 PM (#4069469)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Goodness robomatic! Moose, bear, beaver - what a great selection of animals you have there!
Out tame village deer Bambam has disgraced himself. He turned up one evening recently at the door of the village pub (called The Fox) and they invited him in! He's the size of a horse. He wandered into the main area and suddenly pissed copiously all over the carpet hee hee. There was a large steaming lake of it, followed by a hail of pellets of poo. The landlord was naturally furious and chased Bambam out, while the landlady started the Major Cleanup.
The pub has only just re-opened due to the Virus Lockdown, so this was very ill-timed. I don't think he'll be invited back in there ever again. When we heard about it (we don't go to the pub) we nearly died laughing.

25 Aug 20 - 05:43 PM (#4069629)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

I reckon, sadly, that were this animal in the US,
his days would be short indeed;
a tame deer would not get the same treatment here.

And I wonder, not to be pessimistic,
how long the deer can be kept safe.
For that, he is extremely dependent upon humans,
and humans can be, well, careless and cruel amongst other things.

It's a tough world for 'varmints.'

26 Aug 20 - 10:44 AM (#4069705)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

You're quite right keberoxu. Many people here are saying the same things. Bambam wanders all over the place and our narrow streets are winding. I so hope that some motorist doesn't run into him. The whole village would mourn his loss, that's for sure.
His 'owner' has made a nice hi-viz jacket for him to wear when he's out and about. I reckon he needs a nappy too, for when he enters the pub!
(nappy = diaper)

26 Aug 20 - 04:23 PM (#4069732)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

There are no truly native deer in Cornwall, bar roe deer which are only here anyway by dint of human encouragement, but there are plenty of them around and they are a menace. Totally out of balance. Round here, the only good deer is the one in your freezer in steak form.

26 Aug 20 - 04:42 PM (#4069734)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

There are large numbers of all types of deer here in Norfolk: roe, muntjac, fallow and red. They carry Lyme's disease in ticks, but Bambam has been de-ticked by his 'owner'. He's been castrated and has a microchip too.
The latest news is that she has offered to compensate any people whose plants/flowers have been eaten by him.
I don't really approve of 'domesticating' or keeping as pets naturally wild creatures, but she raised him from a tiny fawn, abandoned on her land, by bottle-feeding him. I suppose she did the best she could.

The huge flock of blasted crows has now taken to assembling on our bungalow roof and tap-dancing in what sounds like wooden clogs at dawn each morning. Appalling din, but it does make me giggle (husband, not so much!)

26 Aug 20 - 06:18 PM (#4069750)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

There's also the suspicion that deer are an important vector of bovine TB. And they're a damn sight more mobile than badgers, and they harmoniously mix with cattle in pastures. But badgers are only good for shaving brushes, whereas deer have Bambi, so they'll be fine...

27 Aug 20 - 02:51 AM (#4069785)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Gosh that's interesting Steve. And as you say, since they hobnob with cattle in the fields, they could be transmitting TB to them.
They're causing lots of damage to trees in Norfolk by 'de-barking' young saplings. There have been moves afoot to start culling, since numbers of deer have risen alarmingly over the past few years.

27 Aug 20 - 06:37 AM (#4069820)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jon Freeman

It’s been a while since I last saw red deer in the field where I am in North Norfolk but if I did, they would probably be (as has been believed to be the case in the past) escapees from the 1000 acre Gunton Park. When I have seen them, I’ve just hoped they stay the far side of the field and away from us and they have obliged.

There were a couple of sightings of roe deer in the field this year and one of them came within 10-15yds of mum when she was having her tea outside when it came along, had a nibble of some tree leaves and possibly a drink before moving on but that’s been our lot.

27 Aug 20 - 06:49 AM (#4069824)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Ah, your mum must have been enchanted Jon! They are pretty creatures, with their delicate legs.
In our last house, in Newton St Faith, we had a huge garden bordering on fields, with only a shallow ditch in between (no fences). All sorts of creatures wandered into the garden, including a lovely pair of fallow deer, a mother and her daughter. They were after the blossom on our ornamental flowering almond tree. They used to stretch their necks up to munch away.
I think you're right about the 'escapees' from posh landed gentry's parks. It seemed to be the fashion to have herds of 'ornamental' deer, and they would obviously get out and about in the area.
I visited one of 'my' prisoners down in Suffolk, and on the drive down, groups of deer would alarmingly emerge from the woods along the way and dart in front of me! Couldn't say which species - I was too busy hitting the brakes!

29 Aug 20 - 08:34 PM (#4070113)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Was much entertained, just now, by a post
about two young energetic dogs
almost taking down a squirrel in someone's backyard.

31 Aug 20 - 01:25 PM (#4070250)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I've just come indoors after sitting on The Bench chatting to a neighbour (socially distanced of course). While we were talking, a large group of teenage children went past on their bikes. Running along beside them was Bambam the tame red deer. He looked so happy, as if he were one of a 'herd'.
He really is getting big.

31 Aug 20 - 04:30 PM (#4070259)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Probably because he's eating all your begonias....

31 Aug 20 - 04:45 PM (#4070262)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

You're right Steve. People give him treats and snacks, plus he helps himself to any plants in any gardens. He has quite a large tum in my opinion. Not natural at all.

31 Aug 20 - 05:11 PM (#4070265)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

If you google bambam & buddies and click on the Instagram link you can see several photos of the blooming deer, including one of him going into The Fox through the front door.
There's also a lovely song composed by a lady in the village. Her link is Glow-worms ohdeerbambam.

02 Sep 20 - 10:34 AM (#4070474)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Sorry to keep posting, but the latest news from this Mad Norfolk Village is that the lady who 'owns' Bambam has got herself a few goats. They followed the deer out of the Old Rectory grounds and have been spotted roaming around in a large group, having yet more floral snacks from gardens.
Sounds like a Seventies pop group - 'Bambam and The Goats'!

02 Sep 20 - 11:15 AM (#4070480)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

One goat from the adjoining farm trashed our garden one afternoon last summer when everything was at its peak. I am not amused by any non-native mammal at large in this country, finding them neither charming nor cuddly.

02 Sep 20 - 12:48 PM (#4070489)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I agree entirely Steve. My friend across the road has rung the Police (on the non-emergency number of course)and they say it's a hazard on the roads and should not be entering gardens etc. They said the next time it's seen, they'll contact the RSPCA who will sort it out with the lady.
As my friend said, if it were a horse, cow or pig etc people would be reporting it immediately.
It actually isn't 'sweet' - it kicked a little girl in the stomach last week when she tried to stroke it. It's blooming huge.

07 Oct 20 - 01:41 PM (#4074653)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

What is this I hear about
a raccoon at the White House ?

09 Oct 20 - 07:44 PM (#4074912)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Here's what I mean about
raccoons going viral.

10 Oct 20 - 01:20 PM (#4075021)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

... and driving the highway this morning
to get the emissions inspection for my car,
there was a very dead, plump young raccoon in the road,
right in the travel lane.
Could not go round, so
drove with my wheels to either side
and the car body over the raccoon's body,
and BUMP --
too fat to be flattened,
the raccoon and the undercarriage nudged each other.

17 Oct 20 - 08:14 AM (#4075748)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

I don't know, at this point, if
Bam-Bam is a mere varmint,
or a public nuisance and a menace to society?

17 Oct 20 - 03:00 PM (#4075778)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Just yesterday morning keberoxu we walked down to the village shop and there was a right fracas going on. The thing had tried to mount and mate with the shopkeeper-lady and had weed all over the entrance to the shop. She was furious and chucked a bucket of water all over it. But it wouldn't go away. It's getting aggressive, and several people think it's 'rutting' in spite of having been castrated.
Husband was very brave. He confronted it and swore loudly in Malinke ("Eh boh da!") right in its face. It stared at him (never seen a black person before!) then it shuffled off.
Something will have to be done to contain the creature, or there will be an 'incident' (road accident or someone injured)

19 Oct 20 - 03:44 PM (#4076010)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

your husband only needs a suit of shining armor
in order to be a gallant and chivalrous knight,
coming to the rescue of the hapless damsels.

Earlier today, from a parking-lot vantage looking down a street,
my attention was caught by four or five crows
high overhead near the rainclouds, flying in a slow circle.
Must have been something very dead nearby ...

19 Oct 20 - 04:46 PM (#4076025)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Wonder what had died keberoxu? A bit sinister!
Husband is indeed very brave (not scared of spiders either)
The latest about Bambam this evening is he was found standing right on top of a large picnic table just outside the village shop. (This is where people can have a coffee and a cooked snack during the daytime) Cars were swerving as motorists did a double-take and stared at a deer on a table! I suppose it was a look-out point for him. But he then weed all over it (disgusting!)
He's getting to be a right nuisance!

20 Oct 20 - 09:40 AM (#4076132)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

This all sounds highly territorial,
what the castrated deer is doing,
trying to mark everything and everybody.

I wonder how one trains a deer to do this sort of thing differently.
I suppose the training, if there be such,
would have had to happen during the juvenile stages anyhow.
So the little fellow, when he was really little,
was handled very permissively,
and this is the lamentable result ...

20 Oct 20 - 10:41 AM (#4076142)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

You're quite right keberoxu, the deer should have been trained when younger. He's been thoroughly spoiled all his life (nine months now) by all the children, visitors and tourists coming up to him, stroking, offering sweets and even swimming with him in our river.
Now of course summer is over, the children are back at school and no more tourists are coming here. He's lonely and confused.
He's actually the size of a horse, meaty and weighs a lot. If he pushes against you he knocks you over.
Also, he's often prancing down the middle of the road or the winding lanes. So many vehicles have nearly hit him, or swerved to avoid him.
He's not yet fully grown (!!) so heaven help us when he's full-size.
We all think he should me moved to some sort of deer park, enclosed and safe.

21 Oct 20 - 12:43 PM (#4076305)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The squirrels are acting, I don't know, desperate of late.
Much bolder about begging for handouts.
One of the funniest things I saw this month,
was looking through the window, where I'm staying, outside
to the patio with outdoor tables and chairs,
some close to the window and the door outside.

A fat furry grey squirrel hopped up from ground to chair to table,
hunting every inch of the surface, sniffing all over.
Then the squirrel hopped to the chair nearest the window,
balanced on the top of the chair back,
and turned its head to one side so that one eye was facing the window.
And I swear
that squirrel was paying attention to our moving forms behind the windowpane glass,
hoping we would saunter out the door and hand-feed it or something.

21 Oct 20 - 02:44 PM (#4076327)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Ah, what a sweetie! I'd have popped out with a few treats for it. Here the squirrels are collecting up all the acorns (bumper crop this year - our numerous oak trees in Norfolk have been busy!) and storing them in secret caches for winter. They wake up periodically from hibernation and have a bite to eat.

26 Oct 20 - 08:20 PM (#4076964)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

We're still getting beetles that creep indoors
to get away from the cold.

28 Oct 20 - 05:09 PM (#4077146)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

For the first time in months,
I spotted both a black squirrel and a grey squirrel,
at the same time and place,
each hurrying up the trunk of a different tree.

15 Nov 20 - 11:12 PM (#4079765)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

We need a pesky varmint update.

18 Nov 20 - 12:51 PM (#4080106)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Well I'm afraid that BamBam the tame deer was hit by a 4X4 Land Rover about an hour ago. The driver is very shaken, although not injured. His car is damaged of course.
The deer has a bruised back leg, but my lovely neighbour, the veterinary nurse, ran down to attend to him and she reckons he'll be alright. With the help of another village resident she lifted him into her vehicle and they took him home to his owner.
This is a serious warning to his owner that his meanderings must stop. He should be in a secure environment, preferably with other deer. He isn't a 'pet', he's a wild creature.
The whole village is buzzing and everyone here is very very concerned.

20 Nov 20 - 08:49 PM (#4080410)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

I wonder if there is a way for the village, collectively,
to, I don't know, do something besides
wait for something worse to happen ...

21 Nov 20 - 01:06 PM (#4080487)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I think the Police may be involved keberoxu. It was after all a 'road accident' and the outcome could so easily have been much worse.
The latest update is that the deer is 'alright and being looked after at home by his owner'.
It's interesting that this animal has divided the village into two vociferous groups. The "We love BamBam!" set and the "This blooming thing is a danger and a nuisance!" group.
Not many people have asked after the unfortunate, shaken-up driver of the 4X4!!

06 Dec 20 - 09:04 AM (#4082131)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The trees are bare, the wind is blowing, the sky is overcast,
and two large grey squirrels
are chasing each other up and down a treetrunk.

Hey, you guys, it isn't even spring yet ...

18 Dec 20 - 08:33 PM (#4084088)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Haven't seen any animal tracks in the newly-fallen snow yet.
But it was, after all, some twelve to eighteen inches of snow,
and all at once, too.

28 Dec 20 - 08:21 PM (#4085416)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Any chance of a BamBam update?

Hoping nobody else has collided with the creature ...

29 Dec 20 - 11:54 AM (#4085513)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Hello there keberoxu! No,luckily Bambam is still in one piece, but rather lonely. Our village has had severe flooding. The river Wensum burst its banks two days ago and water filled up the cellars of the people who live nearer the river than us. All roads out of the village centre were impassable, and the weather has been very cold. The poor deer can't figure out where all the children are (we're now in Tier 4 for Lockdown) and can only play with his goat mates on his watery owner's land. The Old Vicarage where she lives has been completely flooded out, poor lady.
My neighbour saw Bambam up by the riding stables, wearing a natty high-viz coat. Very sensible.
At least our road is dry and our house too!

30 Dec 20 - 08:51 PM (#4085758)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Well, Senoufou,
that darned flooding of the roads
might keep Bambam alive that much longer,
if it keeps vehicle traffic limited ...

23 Jan 21 - 09:15 PM (#4089615)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Happy New Year, everybody, and
goodness gracious,

varmints have invaded
the Declutter During A Pandemic Thread!

So, too, I note the invasion on that thread of
an exploding tin of apricot halves,
but I guess the Varmints thread
is no place for tinned fruit fermenting in someone's kitchen pantry.

What a way to inaugurate the New Year ...

25 Jan 21 - 07:50 PM (#4089923)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The gray squirrels still show up hereabouts.

It's been months since I last saw
a black squirrel or a red squirrel,
and both of these were out and about
when the weather was warm and the trees leafed out.

26 Jan 21 - 02:39 PM (#4090039)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

An acquaintance recently moved out of the residence
where I have spent most of the past year.
Left their room in this residence,
in order to rent a studio apartment upstairs from
a village-square neighborhood that has mostly
shops, restaurants, and other commercial small-business ventures.
Library, post office, bank branches, suchlike.

This person's studio apartment has three restaurants within walking distance, or even stepping distance,
it's that sort of block -- a big-sized street block for a village.

Now it's winter and the restaurants are shut due to COVID-19
And guess what has come to chew their collective way
through the studio apartment walls?
Some hungry rats that are restaurant-dumpster habitués . . .
the exterminator had to be called,
and some closing up of places done
where the restaurant rats could get up to the upstairs . . .

28 Jan 21 - 10:26 AM (#4090344)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Half the village now seems to have taken to jogging around the various lakes and pools, or along the many little lanes. BamBam the deer has found some solace in accompanying them at a fair trot for miles, in his hi-viz outfit. There are several photos of him with accompanying runners, some who put a hand on his back while they run.

20 Feb 21 - 07:40 PM (#4094038)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu


21 Feb 21 - 05:48 PM (#4094186)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

BamBam has been a bit naughty again. A chap in our village does a bit of building work around the area, and has a huge pile of sand in his yard. The deer spent a happy time climbing up and down it, and rubbing his head in the sand (goodness knows why!) The man's wife filmed this caper on her mobile phone and posted the video on our Village Facebook.
The man was a bit cross because the sand was spread far and wide, so he had to sweep it all up again.
Another lady said she ran for seven miles around our area with BamBam at her side!
He's still in his hi-viz jacket, so hopefully motorists will spot him.

21 Feb 21 - 08:45 PM (#4094195)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Mrrzy

Who dresses deer? I know, any competent hunter, but what?

24 Feb 21 - 09:24 AM (#4094591)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

I dress cheep. Never pay more than eight quid for a shirt.

I'll get me bargain-basement coat...

24 Feb 21 - 09:09 PM (#4094720)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Mrrzy, see Senoufou's post dated
26 August 2020
about the source of the tame deer's hi-viz jacket.

26 Feb 21 - 06:06 AM (#4094947)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jon Freeman

We had a pair of interesting looking rats during the snow and a little bit after. As well as resolving not to put more feed on the ground, I watched them busily seem to collect food and deposit it as a store. That and scuttle in and out of the tunnel they made at the base of the back bed. They've gone now.

I'm wondering what they were as they didn't quite look like the usual rats to me. I wonder about water voles but are a way from running streams, etc. And I realise my ability to identify things is not that good, perhaps they were brown rats after all...

26 Feb 21 - 06:22 AM (#4094951)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

They were rats, mate!

28 Feb 21 - 08:31 PM (#4095411)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Driving down a limited-access highway,
I saw three deer feeding carefully
on the grass on a verge near the shoulder.
They must have been hungry,
they were under the trees
but still awfully close to the cars and the traffic.

And further down the highway,
an extremely dead deer right on the shoulder.

01 Mar 21 - 07:45 PM (#4095600)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

For some reason or other,
the grey squirrels are out there getting their exercise
in the bare trees;
but the black squirrels,
which are very busy during the warmest weather,
are not showing up where I can see them.
Haven't seen a black squirrel in months.
But I reckon they will be back.

02 Mar 21 - 07:23 AM (#4095658)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Oooh I wish we had black squirrels keberoxu! They sound rather attractive (we only have reds and greys)
A lady in the village got her husband to move their wooden shed along a bit so they could tidy things up. Underneath they found a strange little nest with some tiny sausage-shaped babies inside it. She posted a photo on our village Facebook and dozens of people replied. They're BABY RATS!! She was horrified and had to get a real 'Norfolk' chap in to 'dispose' of them. Then the Pest Control Officer to put down poison for the rat mother. Bit of a shame really, I don't mind rats!
BamBam is now getting dangerous, attacking children and dogs with his hooves and shoving them about. He knocked over a three year-old little boy and his mother was terrified. There are moves afoot now to have him contained (Police/RSPCA involvement)

04 Mar 21 - 07:58 PM (#4096078)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

... yes, life will be tidier without a nest of rats ...

05 Mar 21 - 09:59 AM (#4096158)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

I was reading this morning about an albatross called Wisdom. She's the oldest known wild bird in the world. She was ringed in the '50s and has long-outlived the person who ringed her. The amazing thing is that, at seventy years old, she's just produced another chick, something like her 30th...

That's the same age as Mrs Steve (don't tell her I've told you). I've warned her that if anything similar happens...

05 Mar 21 - 11:41 PM (#4096245)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Stilly River Sage

We had a small hare in the yard during the snow (visible via footprints) and some kind of small rat or vole I saw run across a path from one brushy area and into another.

The excitement at my daughter's yard, where they have a bird feeding setup (and some small rodents), was during the snow when a hawk swooped in and nailed a mourning dove not as quick as the rest to exit the yard swiftly. (Pun intended)

06 Mar 21 - 10:17 PM (#4096407)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The acquaintance i mentioned in the 26 January post
finally had the exterminators at the building
with their studio apartment,
in a tightly crowded city block with three restaurants ...

with the rats scratching in the walls at night.

The rats aren't scratching any more.
They're dead, and stinking up the building.
If I were my acquaintance, I'd get outta there.

07 Mar 21 - 04:09 AM (#4096429)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Bleurgh! The stench of rotting rats is ghastly and unforgettable! My neighbour in our last village had the Rat Man in, poisoned the lot of 'em and they died and stank. Her husband crawled through the roof space collecting as many corpses as he could (poor chap!) But there must have been one or two dead 'uns hidden away because that stink hung around for weeks.
We had FIVE cats then (all at once!) and they were superb as rat/mouse controllers and deterrents, until they started bringing in live ones as'toys'. But the poor things were easily removed. I shooshed them out through the open door (having shut all the cats in another room).
It helps if one has no fear of rats/mice (I think they're quite sweet) But if large spiders infested our bungalow I'd be on the next plane to the North Pole!

08 Mar 21 - 10:14 PM (#4096754)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Hare's tracks in the snow are magical.
I'll even settle for a common cottontail rabbit's tracks in the snow.

09 Mar 21 - 02:47 PM (#4096883)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Now that most pupils are back at school, there has been quite a serious incident with what people here are now calling 'Bloody BamBam'. He appeared outside the school gates at our village Primary School this morning as the children were arriving and tried to force his way in. The teachers had to come out en masse and try to get him to go away (he wouldn't!) so they shut the school gate and only opened it to let each child get through.
He attacked several mums, pushed over some babies in their pushchairs and in the end the Headmistress phoned his owner.
She arrived on horseback (!) but even she couldn't get Bloody BamBam to follow her home.
The Police were called and made her fetch her horsebox. Lots of folk surrounded the deer and pushed him into the vehicle.
I think this is the end for the Beast, and he will have to be contained or re-homed.
Oh Deer! (sic)

12 Mar 21 - 09:52 PM (#4097395)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

This Varmints thread is turning into
The Sad Saga of BamBam the Deer.

13 Mar 21 - 03:35 AM (#4097415)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Yes, that's true keberoxu! I just hope I'm not boring everybody.
But the latest development is that the Parish Council called an open-air meeting outside the village shop for people to discuss the situation and express their views. Present was a representative of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. And - BamBam himself arrived!! (presumably to make his views known)
We didn't attend, it's illegal to congregate during lockdown, even in the open air. But apparently it got rather heated and the two 'camps' ended up shouting at each other. The owner of BamBam wasn't there.
Nothing was resolved, so now there will be an online meeting next Wednesday (is it called a 'Zoom' thing?) and the Police will be taking part as well.
A special animal park in Norfolk, with enclosed fields, has been suggested, where the deer could roam around but not get out, and be among other deer, which would in my opinion be ideal.
Husband saw the beast yesterday on his way to work, and told me BamBam is now gigantic! Very muscular and as big as a horse.
The shop lady told husband that she's sick and tired of hosing deer wee wee from the step into her shop. And many customers have run away in fear instead of coming in to buy stuff.
Oh deer!

17 Mar 21 - 10:01 PM (#4098140)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

And what was the outcome
of BamBam Goes On ZOOM?

18 Mar 21 - 07:55 AM (#4098176)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Well the meeting online took place, but apparently descended into yet another 'bunfight'. The owner joined in and said she hadn't got a solution, but felt unable to move BamBam to another location. She was subjected to a lot of abuse, which I think is wrong. Abuse is never, ever acceptable.
I think she feels very maternal towards the deer and has brought him up from a tiny vulnerable fawn. In effect, she truly loves him and he loves her. Having loved many cats over the years, I can relate to her feelings. But I just hope and pray that there won't be a dreadful accident in which either the deer or a human gets badly hurt or even killed.
I didn't join in 'online' but neighbour-across-the-road told me all about it this morning.

19 Mar 21 - 10:13 PM (#4098441)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust ...
I wonder if they could actually save the animal,
before it's too late?

22 Mar 21 - 09:58 PM (#4098811)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

... but what has been decided about
Bloody BamBam?

23 Mar 21 - 04:06 AM (#4098823)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Well, the owner (called Lucy) put up an electric fence around part of her property (The Old Vicarage has a considerable acreage of land attached to it) But BamBam leapt over it with ease and continued his wanderings. He was even seen in Fustyweed (the next village along from ours). So Lucy had some men build a fence along the river bank, sectioning off her horses' field, and popped the deer in there. But BamBam (getting ever more angry and frustrated) butted it until it collapsed, jumped into the river and swam down to the bridge, where some children saw him emerge.
Lucy is on the point of a nervous breakdown I think. Many villagers have now posted messages to her on the Village Facebook, supporting and encouraging her. I can't think of any solution which would keep BamBam, Lucy, the whole village and any passing motorists safe and happy.

23 Mar 21 - 07:20 AM (#4098846)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Oh God, I'm sitting here in tears. BamBam is dead. Apparently he had a fit during the night and died in his owner's arms. The whole village is devastated. I'm so sad, for him but particularly for Lucy. She must be absolutely crushed by her loss.
Husband thinks he may have eaten something dangerous in someone's garden (pesticide, herbicide, poisonous plant).

23 Mar 21 - 08:25 AM (#4098854)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

I'm not naturally suspicious but that sounds dodgy to me. I'd be thinking that a post mortem might be in order. The way you've characterised him makes him sound like a bit of a marmite individual...

23 Mar 21 - 09:09 AM (#4098861)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

You may be right Steve. My neighbour and I were talking just now, and we wondered if someone fed him poison in order to 'do away with him'.
Having a fit sounds suspicious to us. I agree that a post-mortem would be advisable.
At a time like this, people coping with lockdown, many of our elderly residents have died lately (not Covid, but other things) everyone depressed and edgy, this is just about the Tin Lid.
I expect there will be moves afoot to put up some sort of memorial or statue to BamBam.
Everyone here is very very sad. RIP BamBam!

23 Mar 21 - 09:14 AM (#4098864)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

Very sad.
Maybe they should put a statue outside the pub, and rename it 'The Stag' or 'The Fox and Stag'.

23 Mar 21 - 11:54 AM (#4098899)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Oh Jos, what a lovely idea! I'm waiting for the village movers and shakers to come up with comments, ideas and suggestions. The pub being renamed The Deer would be delightful.

23 Mar 21 - 03:29 PM (#4098940)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Steve Shaw

Hmmm. "The Deer Inn." I'd be looking for a cheaper one down the road...

23 Mar 21 - 04:06 PM (#4098945)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Hee hee Steve! Our rather cheeky neighbour told me quite recently about a pub in Marham (about 30 miles from our village) called the Whippet Inn. I expect you can imagine why he thought this was extremely funny. I had to think about it for a bit, but then twigged and giggled.

24 Mar 21 - 09:39 AM (#4099042)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Charmion

So sorry for the loss of BamBam. That's just sad.

Animals do occasionally die of conditions that cause seizures. My dear cat Perdita did; I think it was a stroke. She was 19 years old, so I thought it was only to be expected. One minute she was leaping for the kitchen counter, the next she was dead on the floor.

Does the village have a large animal vet who would do a necropsy?

24 Mar 21 - 12:11 PM (#4099058)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

I'm so sorry about your darling cat Charmion. It must have been distressing to say the least, despite her age. And you're right of course, animals can die suddenly from any number of things, strokes, heart attacks and so on. But the poor deer was just over a year old, and very fit.
However nobody will voice their doubts in public about what might have happened, out of respect and pity for the poor lady (Lucy). She may well have a veterinary expert perform a post-mortem to find out the cause.
Our village Facebook is filling up with literally hundreds of expressions of sadness and condolence, from Elsing, Sparham and Fustyweed.
I feel reasonably sure the next thing will be suggestions for a statue, memorial, commemoration or plaque for BamBam.
I can't get out of my head that sweet little song composed by a village lady (she does music sessions for nursery-age children) It was online (Oh deer BamBam) but I'm trying to stop humming it - it brings tears to my eyes.
If you want to listen to it, Google Glow-Worms OHDEERBAMBAM and it will come up. It only lasts a couple of minutes.

24 Mar 21 - 01:49 PM (#4099075)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Seeing as this is MUSIC,
I started a thread in the music section
with a link to the Oh Deer BamBam song video.

24 Mar 21 - 08:57 PM (#4099148)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

After all, if there are
traditional songs about keepers or poachers of royal deer,
there must be other songs about deer ...

27 Mar 21 - 05:16 AM (#4099478)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

The latest concern here is a plague of frogs. Between our village and Fustyweed there are hundreds of frogs bouncing around in the road. Difficult not to squash them.
It won't be long I'm sure before the Mad Swans are tottering along our main street followed by their exhausted cygnets.
And the Morris-dancing pigeons are assembling in ever increasing numbers on our bungalow roof early each morning. And leaving their messages of regard down all our window panes.

27 Mar 21 - 05:20 AM (#4099479)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

And the 'GoFundMe' has already raised over a thousand pounds for some sort of memorial to BamBam, possibly a statue outside the village hall and a plaque. I had to smile when one villager posted on our Facebook that he thought a 'plague' (sic) would be a good idea! I was tempted to reply that Covid 19 was enough as far as 'plagues' go.

17 Apr 21 - 11:06 PM (#4102570)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Joe Offer laments,
above the line in the Fruhlingsmusikanten thread,
that the frogs
have returned for another spring
to drive him to contemplate an act of frogicide.

18 Apr 21 - 03:21 AM (#4102576)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

I love to hear the frogs in the spring, partying in my pond.

20 Apr 21 - 06:25 PM (#4102850)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu


What is this I hear, about far too many MICE ?

21 Apr 21 - 11:14 PM (#4103069)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

it is spring in April, or meant to be.
But today, in western Massachusetts,
we started out warm,
and then the temperature dropped
something like twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit
in a matter of hours.
Now it is snowing.

And after dark, the froggy peepers started peeping away ...
I had to move my parked car after 10 pm, it was bitter cold,
the snow was falling.
and there were still a few forlorn
peep peep   peeep? going on.
I picture frogs freezing slowly to death.

14 May 21 - 01:50 PM (#4106053)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Well, here's the latest from Chicago, Illinois,
informally known as the Second City.
What I find suspicious about this top-of-the-ratings pronouncement
is that a competitive business franchise of exterminators
is conducting this poll.
Special interests, anyone?

The solution, as reported in this link, is interesting.
Tree House Humane Society

16 May 21 - 03:48 PM (#4106270)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Marked increase in roadkill in western Massachusetts,
now that the weather is warm enough
to have melted ALL of the ice.

16 Jul 21 - 11:54 PM (#4113583)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Are porcupines varmints? I guess it depends.

The incident reported on, in the following link,
is from last year actually.

It's a news story now because the sentencing of the two men just happened this week.
Also note the mention of the Veterans' Administration,
the U. S. Marine Corps,
active duty in Afghanistan,
and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And yes, I DO feel sorry for the --
did they say, eleven total? -- porcupines.
Maybe Stephen King could make a story out of it.

Bangor Daily News: Sentencing for porcupine killers

18 Jul 21 - 06:22 AM (#4113691)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

We have had several cockchafers around here. They are large, winged things (beetles actually) about the size of a golf ball. They fly/blunder about making a very loud, low buzzing noise. I'm always pleased to see them because they're not all that common nowadays, I like their loud throbbing buzz (and their name makes me giggle).

19 Jul 21 - 10:06 PM (#4113843)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

A tick had the brass nerve to BITE my arm.
All I did was cross a grassy lawn
from one building to my parked car in the parking lot.
It's not a big bite.
But sheesh, that big ring around the bite on the skin ...

20 Jul 21 - 03:21 AM (#4113859)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

Keb, if you have a red ring around the bite you MUST get medical treatment if you haven't already. The disease ticks carry can cause mental problems that you really don't need.

20 Jul 21 - 10:55 AM (#4113893)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The ring is yellow.
Only the little bite is red.

20 Jul 21 - 12:36 PM (#4113897)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Jos

I'd have it looked at anyway.

20 Jul 21 - 01:13 PM (#4113899)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel

The virus of Lyme disease found in ticks is a pernicious spirokete, related to Syphillus. Catch it late and one faces years of medication, catch it way late and crippling symptoms appear. Catch it early even if tests can't detect it yet and take the pills for months.
Cephalexin worked for me.

21 Jul 21 - 03:44 PM (#4114016)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The nurses are going to get a doctor's appointment
to get the nibble/bite looked at --
even the hard little lump is nearly gone now.

My social worker here at the clinic came back from vacation.

The backyard at his home, at about half-past-two in the morning one night,
got a visit from a bear cub.
Mature enough to get itself into a lot of trouble,
too dumb and ignorant to get itself out of trouble.

The bear cub tried to climb a sapling of a tree next to the deck.
The darned branches cracked under the cub's weight,
although the trunk stood up regardless.

My social worker, busy attempting to restrain his two dogs
( one of them is inclined to fight to the death regardless),
heard the noise the bear cub was making.
It was a distress cry like calling to the bear's dam.

A horrible noise, he tells me.
It combined a whine, a howl, and something like a hiss.

All ended peaceably
with the dogs locked in the house
and the cub, well, it got itself away in one piece somehow.
(Glad it didn't visit MY area.)

23 Jul 21 - 05:50 AM (#4114132)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

Gosh! I can't imagine what we'd do if a bear cub appeared round here!
We've had a weird event this morning in the village. About two hundred (yes, 200!) ducks escaped from a duck farm (they lay eggs for sale, duck eggs are big and much enjoyed here, but we don't like them) and were wandering around in one giant flock in and out of people's gardens. Several folk from the farm came and gently rounded them up, then posted a video on our village Facebook site. They were later transported off to Fustyweed.
The ducks can't fly because they've had their flight feathers trimmed.
I also saw the red kite hovering over our house.
And thrips are landing on our T shirts in their hundreds. I have a white T shirt with black dots on, and suddenly the black dots seemed to be increasing by the dozen!
And more cockchafers are bumbling about buzzing loudly.
This village is still quite mad!

23 Jul 21 - 06:00 AM (#4114134)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

You could even say we were all quackers!

25 Jul 21 - 06:25 PM (#4114387)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel

In the last 2 years I have had to rescue Ralph the raccoon from our garbage can three times after the hinged lid closed on him.

30 Jul 21 - 01:45 PM (#4114830)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

The doctor seriously doubts that I had a tick bite.
More likely some sort of biting fly, like a horsefly or "greenfly".
After those initial symptoms during the first five days or so,
the whole thing quieted down to normal and the bite disappeared.

But the doctor has told me what to watch for,
should the symptoms of Lyme Disease in fact present themselves.
That skin rash, which I have never had, is one of the big symptoms.
Also flu-like symptoms.

So I have not had the titer/test for Lyme disease,
and I'm watching to see what develops -- hopefully nothing more.

26 Aug 21 - 09:07 PM (#4117978)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Back in the summer of 2018, a post was entered by someone
whose home had a 'bush cricket' come inside
that had to be gently removed and taken back outside.
I had no idea what a 'bush cricket' was.

Yesterday I saw my first bush cricket,
or so I am told that's what it was.
This from one of the kitchen staff where I am staying.
The staffperson has a smartphone with a camera, and snapped a photo of the insect,
then looked it up, and reported to the rest of us
that it was a bush cricket.
I would never have attached the word 'cricket' to this thing.

It's a pale green color and its body
is shaped like a leaf on a bush: brilliant camouflage.
Then its three pairs of legs are like something
from a daddy-long-legs spider,
these LONG skinny bent appendages.

For whatever reason, this beastie left the bushes
and positioned itself on the railing for the
wheelchair-access ramp to the front door of the residence.
Just sat there on top of the railing where anyone could see it.

We all came creeping over to it and exclaiming over it,
pointing at it, hunching down to look closer at it.
I thought it might try to get away.
It just sat there.

I have never seen anything quite like it in real life,
it reminds me of nature films that show exotic creatures.

Nobody touched it and I guess it went back to where it came from.

27 Aug 21 - 03:40 AM (#4117989)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

My poor sister told me she woke up in the middle of the night and her entire bedroom was a-buzz with literally hundreds of wasps. They were all over the curtains, the walls, the furniture, and one had even stung her foot, which is what had wakened her! She's a tough lady, so she merely swatted them out as best she could, but couldn't see where they were coming from. The next night, there they were again, but in reduced numbers.
I told her to contact the Pest Control people, who would locate the nest (usually a thing like a large paper ball) and eradicate the blooming things permanently. I reckon the nest was probably in her loft.
She hasn't done this though, and today I got another e mail saying they're back again, but only about a dozen!
I'm only afraid of spiders, but wasp stings can be dodgy.

27 Aug 21 - 12:23 PM (#4118034)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

? Katydid ?

All my life I have observed the word 'Katydid' in North American english-language literature, and never knew
quite what insect they were talking about.

So here I am online, looking up 'bush cricket' to see if
it matches what I saw the other day on the ramp railing outdoors.
"Leaf Mimic" -- positively, absolutely, yes.
So I'm searching on 'cricket' and 'leaf mimic' together, and up pops

I'll be darned!

30 Aug 21 - 09:15 AM (#4118258)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel

Do ants milk katydids like we milk cows?

30 Aug 21 - 10:09 PM (#4118347)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: keberoxu

Why would you milk something that mimics a leaf on a bush?

Senoufou, what is the latest on your wasp-bedevilled sister?

31 Aug 21 - 02:57 AM (#4118355)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Senoufou

She's getting along better now thank you keberoxu. There have been no more wasps in her bedroom - she reckons she's managed to 'swat the lot' out of the window. She was worried that her feisty little cat Mela might try to catch one and get stung in her mouth. This can cause the throat to swell and the cat would die.
My neighbour and I were sitting on The Bench when she noticed a large grey thing making its way across our lawn. It was an elephant-hawk moth caterpillar! Blooming enormous (about as long as a pencil and as thick as a finger) They're nice things, and the moths are beautiful. I gently picked it up and popped it onto a bush to pupate. If not, a blackbird might have fancied it for his tea!

31 Aug 21 - 07:31 AM (#4118363)
Subject: RE: BS: Varmints
From: Donuel