Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reptile week

In a previous entry I mentioned all the animals we have spotted on our property.  This week we added several new ones to our list and ironically they were all reptiles.  The most frequently spotted were box turtles.  I'd say at least seven, but since we weren't actually studying the markings, we may have seen the same one over and over.  There were at least two for certain--my husband almost ran over them with the lawn tractor as they were making baby turtles.   I'll have to read up on where they lay eggs to see if we can spot the babies.

Our next visitor was a little lizard.  It has taken up residence in a stone retaining wall along our driveway.  My son has seen it flitting in and out of the open garage door.  I saw it on the driveway and tried to get a closer look, but that was the fastest little critter! I couldn't keep up with it despite my much longer leg span.  From my brief glimpse and my Handbook of Nature Study , I think it might have been a skink.  The book said its territory only goes as far east as Kansas, but that was written in 1939 so maybe they've ventured further to Missouri.

The next encounter, and perhaps the funniest was when our dog Della met a large bullfrog cruising the road.  Little miss inquisitive stuck her nose right down on the frog's back and when it jumped forward to get away she jumped twice as far backwards.  Then she started following the frog, jump for jump, and she was taking off and landing on all four legs at once.  I was laughing myself silly by the time the frog made it to the culvert on the other side of the road.

Della also discovered our last reptile.  She was sniffing around the rock wall where I had last seen the lizard.  Imagine my surprise then when she pushed a large rock off and revealed a snake!  She was trying to paw at it and sniff it.  I was a little disappointed to see her curiosity was stronger than her survival instinct, for while this was just a garter snake, we do have copperheads on the property.  Maybe she'll know to stay away from the bigger ones if she comes across them. 

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