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Wildlife: Opinion - a Closer Look

By Sharon
February 23, 2012

It's that time again. Critters who live near you are making plans for midnight raids on your roses, early morning feasts involving your lettuce, and late afternoon snacks with your daffodils. It's that time again; trust me, they're making plans. It's a surprise party they'll have. You won't be getting an invitation.

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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Feb 22, 2012 6:15 PM CST
Sharon, Thank you for this very informative article! I totally agree about leaving the native wildlife and critters alone ... they were here long before we were and they have a place in nature. I am petrified of snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, so when I come across them in the garden I usually just go inside for awhile until they go their merry way. Smiling

We have a lot of non-native, invasive snakes, lizards and frogs in parts of Florida and they are slowly displacing the native wildlife. Thank goodness I don't live in the part of the state that has those humongous pythons and lizards ... I'd never dig in the dirt again! Green Grin!

Thanks again for the great article!

Lin

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 22, 2012 6:39 PM CST
We all react to wildlife in different ways, don't we, Lin? I think realizing they have a purpose is what's important. I'm not sure I'd ever get used to some of the critters you see every day, though. Last time I was there I ran into a bunch of huge bugs, I swear they were nearly as long as my foot. So big I could hear them moving around on the ground. I think they might be palmetto bugs. I'm not sure of that, I just know I wouldn't be really happy seeing them again. Eck!!

Thanks so much for reading the article.
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Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 22, 2012 8:29 PM CST
Sharon, I really appreciate your article reminding us of why wildlife is so important to us. It's sometimes easy to forget when the chipmunks are digging up your container plants to bury sunflower seeds filched from the birdfeeder, or the rabbits have eaten your newly planted carnations down to the roots.

Your grandmother had the right outlook--plant a little extra to share with everyone, and it makes for a much more peaceful garden.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 22, 2012 8:50 PM CST
Linda, thanks.
I have to admit I had mixed feelings as I wrote it. The back deck squirrel friend who stole all my walnuts while they lay drying last fall was watching me through the window. I think he was daring me to say what I was really thinking as I wrote.

We all have our places in this world, even the squirrels in my back yard.
I'm glad you feel that way too.
Thanks for your comment. It's always good to hear from you.
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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Feb 22, 2012 8:51 PM CST
Nice article, Sharon! Very few animals really bother me much. But feral hogs and armadillos do. Oh, and about raccoons...if I were to plant corn, they'd destroy the plants after the ears appear. Ask me how I know. Also peaches...they love them and some years we don't even get one peach! I haven't tried growing watermelon yet, but I know that any leftover pieces of watermelon that's put outside will disappear quickly. I'm still trying to figure out how to keep them from stealing the suet from the suet holders. Their latest trick was to break the chain and even though they couldn't open up the suet holder (my newly bought thingamajig was in place), once they had it on the ground, they managed to get it all.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
[Last edited by LindaTX8 - Feb 22, 2012 9:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 22, 2012 9:11 PM CST
Wily raccoons. I don't have answers for you either. We don't have a problem here, but then there are no woods near me. I think most of them who wander anywhere near my little town are relocated to the Land Between the Lakes which is a natural habitat to most animals native to this area. I suspect since it's so large, most of the critters are happy to be there.

I wish I could give you some advice, I just don't know of a thing they won't attempt to eat.
If I do run across something that seems to work, I'll for sure let you know.
Thanks, Linda.
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Feb 22, 2012 10:02 PM CST
Sharon: Yes, Florida has very large roaches that are called Palmetto Bugs because they are known in the southern part of the state to nest and live in Palm trees. I remember back in 1967 when my family first moved to Florida (Miami) there was a dead palm tree stump in the backyard right near the backdoor. For some reason my dad decided to burn the stump ... he dug a large hole around the base and lit the thing on fire. Well, the ickiest thing happened, palmetto bugs came swarming from that palm stump ... thousands of them! It was so gross! I know bugs have there place too but I do not like bugs and I do want to come in contact with them! Those Palmetto Bugs are giant cockroaches that can actually fly short distances! I haven't seen one in quite some time and it gives me the shivers just thinking about it! Many years ago when we had lots of rain one or two appeared in the garage (EEK) so I bought some of those Combat Large Roach Baits and haven't seen one since ... I always make sure I have those baits in the garage year round ... I'd be so afraid of one getting inside the house! Blinking

Raccoons are smart critters! I've had them take entire suet feeders and abscond with them! Armadillo's don't bother me much, I don't see them too often and I know they come digging for grubs that are in the lawn ... they gotta eat too. Smiling Possums are seen on occasion and I wouldn't get too close to those critters either ... they have huge, long fang teeth! We have alligators here too and I hope I never see one in the waterway behind my new house (although I've heard they are there. My property slopes down to the water so I don't get too close ... knowing me I'd trip and roll right down into the jaws of a gator. Thumbs down I've also heard there's at least one otter family in the waterway and I look forward to spotting them this summer but I'm just happy with all the birds that visit!


I just noticed that other than Sharon, those of us who have posted so far are all named Linda. Smiling


~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Feb 22, 2012 10:55 PM CST

Plants Admin

Another winner Sharon. Thank you.
Evan
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 23, 2012 12:17 AM CST
Thank you, Evan.
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Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
Feb 23, 2012 3:47 AM CST
Great article Sharon. Yes, it's sometimes hard to remember that wildlife should, for the most part, be left alone. Voles are my nemesis and I've yet to find a permanent way to convince them to live elsewhere.
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chelle
Feb 23, 2012 6:39 AM CST
Thanks so much, Sharon.

I've tried all kinds of inconvenient (only to me (!) Hilarious! ) methods of keeping the rabbits from eating my snap beans, without any luck to speak of. I'll definitely try planting a patch just for them this year; or, if they still prefer mine, I'll gather our beans from theirs! Whistling After all, how difficult is it to plant a bean? They're one of the easiest seeds ever. Smiling
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Name: Christine
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wildflowers
Feb 23, 2012 7:16 AM CST
Wonderful topic.
Sharon, thank you for another enjoyable article.
I don't always have (or make) time to see if there is a new article to read but that cute little raccoon caught my eye; they really are deceiving little critters! lol

I also feel that nature has a purpose. We have woods surrounding us so we get all kinds of wildlife and it's already making an appearance. It's been an exciting week. Just yesterday I watched a baby hawk take its first flight with its parent cheering him on.

We have a little bird-couple that comes every year and builds a nest under the eave of our house. My husband used to knock the nest down and the next day it would be right back up there. I finally convinced him they were here first! I figure our house was built on their nesting site, and it's not their fault their nesting tree was gone. Smiling
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Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
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rocklady
Feb 23, 2012 9:00 AM CST
Loved your article, Sharon. Lovey dubby We have almost 3 acres here, mostly wooded and every morning I sit at our breakfast room window and watch the squirrels and do wish I had been able to capture the three baby racoons sitting in our birdbath, with Mamma keeping watch close by. We have black snakes here, too. I don't mind them as long as they don't make quick movements and startle me. It is hard to tell who is the most frightened, me or the snake! In Arkansas, we have a huge deer population. They love to snack on the azaleas, however, I figure there are enough of them so that they can have a snack now and then.

There is an old saying which your grandmother was probably familiar with which went something like this: When you plant, plant one for yourself, one to share, and one for the animals.
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam
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vic
Feb 23, 2012 9:10 AM CST
GREAT article Sharon and thank you so much!

I'm with you in that we all have our places here on earth even things that slink long the ground Crying

We do everything we can to protect the wild animals and insects except for flies. We do kill flies.

I did have to kill a raccoon once. It was rabid and so sick with foam coming out of it's mouth. I shot it with a gun and then cried like a baby. It was the first thing I had ever killed in my life with a gun. And last. But I had no choice as Hank wasn't home and I had 3 little ones I couldn't let outside so....... I explained to them what I was going to do and why and even though they were sad, they understood if they got bitten, they would be very sick.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 23, 2012 9:44 AM CST
Chris, I haven't had any experience with voles, which you could tell in the article. I skimmed right over them. But I've heard stories that aren't pretty. Sorry I don't have a ready solution to the vole problem, but maybe somebody else does.

Chelle, it works for rabbits, planting a second patch of something. It doesn't work for squirrels though. Luck with your beans!!

Christine, it's the bluebirds that came here this week, that's always exciting. Birds are good. We get some weird weather here and I've learned that birds are great weather predictors. If it gets really dark and quiet and if there are no birds, then I know bad weather is on its way. I'm not to fond of the blackbirds landing in droves in my yard, but they don't linger long. And right at the moment the finches are losing their winter drab color and I'm beginning to see their yellow. Beautiful little things.

You're right, Jean, I've heard that saying all my life. It happened when Aunt Bett was going after her medicinal plants too. 'Take one for yourself, one for medicine, and leave the rest alone.' It sounds very pretty there where you live and actually I've been to Deland. I stayed with some friends who have a little fishing resort on the river there one January. I enjoyed the walks, lovely place.

I remember your raccoon story, Vic. I would have done the same thing and would probably still be crying about it. I've never killed anything, but I know I could if it needed to happen.

Thanks for all your comments. It's pretty difficult to 'out think' critters, but I prefer trying to out think them than getting rid of them. I think we'd be in worse shape without them than we are with them. I did stomp down some mole hills yesterday. I just hope I didn't squash too many moles with my stomping.
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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

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PollyK
Feb 23, 2012 11:04 AM CST
Wonderful article as always, Sharon!

Now, if someone could just tell me the role of rats. We have farmers around, so we see an occasional rat. I've never had one in the house, but I cringe at the thought. They must have some life meaning, but I can't possible imagine what. They scare me to death, and I can't imagine living in parts of NYC where they are so common, and huge.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 23, 2012 11:17 AM CST
I don't know, Polly. I haven't figured out the role of rats yet and they for sure haven't told me.

The only thing I know is that they are useful for laboratory experiments.

The thing about it is that rats are everywhere humans are, and are eerily smart.
Ugly too and scary.

I can't answer your question which is also why I avoided mentioning them in the article.
I abhor them.

But thanks for reading the article. I just don't know any good things about rats.
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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

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PollyK
Feb 23, 2012 11:23 AM CST
And that's my point exactly. Nothing good about rats. And there's regular rats, and tree rats, and sewer rats. Yucko!
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Feb 23, 2012 11:24 AM CST
Yep. Yucko!!

I'm not going out and doing any research, but if I ever find out one good thing about rats I'll let you know.
How's that?
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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
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PollyK
Feb 23, 2012 11:45 AM CST
K

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