Saturday, July 23, 2011

If that were a dime, that would still be a big spider...

But it's a quarter.

Some friends of ours told us about this huge spider they found on their wall. They sprayed and sprayed it with the pesticide, but it just refused to die. When Hilary told me it was the size of her friend's palm, I knew what it must be immediately - "Ah hah! A Huntsman spider! So they do have them here!" I was a little jealouse that I didn't get to see it though.

Well, tonight I peeped into the garage to close the door, and as I opened up the door from our pantry I spied a dark mass with what looked like a lot of large legs poking out. I closed the door then realized as I did that it was probably just the thing I was looking for. I opened it back up, took another look, and sure enough, it was a very [VERY] large spider! I ran after it, and it immediately took flight. These things are fast! Not only that, but they hop. I know, it's bizarre, I thought jumping spiders were the only spiders that hopped, but these things really get a lot of air, we are talking on the order of several inches. Well, it ran out into the driveway, and I followed it until I realized that I only had underwear on. I went back inside to put some shorts on, and Hilary, in the excitement, found me a jar (what a wife!). I grabbed my jar and hoped against all hopes that my prey would still be where it came to a stop in the middle of the driveway.

Sure enough, it was still there! But it was ready - when it saw me, it took off, fast as lighting, and doing more of its weird ultra-hops every few feet. As I chased it, I realized I had a problem. The diameter of the spider was wider than the mouth of the jar, so the spider probably wouldn't live through this unscathed. Furthermore, it is very difficult to glomp a jar over a quickly moving target.

Still, summoning dormant skills from a bygone era, I took aim and fired. Clack! The jar came crashing down over the scuttling arthropod.
unfortunately, my dormant skills were a bit rusty from unuse, and the edge of the jar popped the spiders (relatively small, I might add) abdomen. The critter curled up and died there on the spot in front of me. Oh well. I still brought it inside, uncurled the legs and took a photo for... the 3 people who still check my forgotten blog.

Also, we found a Horseshoe crab shell on the beach today. Horseshoe crabs aren't actually crabs, but they sure do look crazy. So many weird things in the ocean.

This brings my tally of cool critters up to:
Green Anoles: Millions (including one in the Chick-fill-A parking lot, today)
Brown Anoles: Millions of millions
Green/Brown Anole hybrids: maybe 2
Ground skinks: Several
5 lined skinks: Several
Geckos: Quite a few
Glass-lizards: 1 live, 1 dead

Snakes: 1, and it was dead. (I seriously can't believe I haven't seen a live snake down here yet.)

Pond turtles: Probably in the zillions
Box turtles: 2. Turt the first, and turt the second, who is roughly the size of a silver dollar and living in a cage on our back patio, happily munching on reptile sticks from my fingers, most mornings.

Alligators: 1

Green tree frogs: 5 or 6
Ultra-Ultra-small tree frogs: 2
Regular frogs: 1


Diving beetle: 1
Leef footed bugs: too many

Ocean critters:
Colorfull fish: lots
Dolphins: several, but too far away to count
Sting-rays: 3 (kind of creepy, btw)
Manta-rays: About a dozen, in a herd
Remoras: 4 or 5
Hermit crab the size of my head: 1

I might be missing a few. But here is my list of things I still want to see before we move away:

1) Snapping turtle (preferable of the Alligator variety).
2) A snake. Any snake.
okay, well, actually I do have a preference. I want to find a "rough green snake" because they are bright green, non-venemous, and I have never actually seen a real, genuinely green snake, despite that being the default color people seem to choose when depicting them.
Also, I want to see (not catch) a coral snake. And a coachwhip.
3) A tortoise
4) A dolphin, up close.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Visiting cousin Beatrice

Annie saw her new cousin Beatrice for the first time this weekend! Here's some photos, I'm happy to say that it looks like they are going to be friends.