I should preface the following story with a simple declaration. Both my wife and I are city folk. We are originally from Los Angeles California. What little we knew about wild animals was probably learn from television programs. Some when we moved to the East wood to Texas, we did not know what to expect by living in the woods. This is not a compliant, but a way to set up the next story.
I am constantly amazed at the variety of creatures and insects and animals that exist in the woods where I live. Let me start with the story of the scorpion. One quiet evening, inside the house, while my wife and I were watching TV my wife gave out a small scream and point to something crawling on the carpet. She stayed at a distance while I went to take a look at what was crawling on the carpet. Slowly she began to edge forward and then declared” it’s a scorpion”. I sporting confidence of an expert declared, “No it’s not it is too little”. I thought scorpion lived only in a desert environment. This started a fairly long debate between my wife and I on whether the crawling creature was a scorpion or not. Somehow I finally took a picture of the crawling creature and send it off several of our relatives for advice on what we’re looking at. It didn’t take long before we received several text messages that the creature was a scorpion. I and my dignity still would not concede that it was a scorpion. So I went to the computer and googled scorpion and after several readings I had to concede to my wife that she was right. It was a scorpion crawling on the carpet inside my home. My daughter-in-law, who was born and raised in this area, stated that she saw many of them growing up in her house. She stated that it was a nasty sting but not a deadly one. My wife was smiling ear-to-ear. And tried not to gloat about the fact that she was right and I was not. Since that first incident we would see one more scorpion crawling across the carpet. On both occasions my wife gave me the opportunity to kill the creature and put it outside in the trash.
Some months later I was working outside near the pond and I noticed something moving near the water’s edge. It was a large turtle. I went to the house and got my camera and came back and took a picture of the turtle. Again I sent the pitcher out to family members and asked if anyone knew what kind of turtle it was. I returned to the scene where I saw the turtle, and it was gone. But I noticed to smaller turtles in the same area so I again took a picture. I grabbed the two small turtles and put them in a box. I then sent out another e-mail telling my son that I had captured to turtles wondered if his children wanted them. A short time later, one of my other sons returned my first e-mail stating that the picture was of a snappy turtle. I replied to him that I was thinking of giving it to his brother’s kids. He replied back that that was not a good idea, those turtles will snap at anything put in front of them including a toe. My giving them as a gift to my grandchildren was not a good idea. So I took the turtles back to where I found them and release them. I watch as they quickly scampered or waddled out of sight.
A few months later, after listening to the news about feral hogs damaging the local farmland, I observed a small feral pig staggering down the road. My wife and I were so excited about seeing it that we took a picture of it. It appeared that the pig was either injured or ill. My wife wanted to know if we could help the pig. I said I thought it was not a good ideal, first. it is a wild animal and second we do not know what kind of disease that can be caring. I do know that feral pigs usually travel in groups. The fact that this was a lone was not a good sign. So we watched him wobble on down the road into the forest trees.
Just a few days ago I was working in my shop. Next to my shop is a 8 by 12 shed. I’ve always thought that a skunk lived under that shed but never saw any real evidence of it. So as I was working in the shop my, wife was about to bring me some drink and food for lunch. As she was walking towards the shop she stopped in her tracks. She tried to use a whispering voice to get my attention. Eventually I looked her way and she signaled by hand moment to come outside shop. Not speaking, she frantically pointed in one direction. I looked in that direction and there was a large white and gray skunk. He was moving slowly, away from our location. I can only guess that the skunk was looking for a mate. It seems like during this time of year there are a lot of dead skunks on the road. So I guess this is the mating season. I believe that skunks don’t normally come out during the daytime. My wife relayed to me that as she was walking towards the shop she observed the skunk to walk slowly right next to the open door of the shop. She was afraid I would startle the skunk and it would spray me in the shop. As it was, the skunk slowly walked away. But now I’m faced with the question, what do you do with the skunk? I certainly didn’t want to try to scare it or herded it away. But I also didn’t want it to come back and live under that she had with the lingering smell of skunk at the shed. I brought out my gun and thought I might try to shoot it, a ways from the shop. But the animal moves so gracefully I could not bring myself to shoot the skunk. So I said and watched him wobble around for a while at one point he walked back near the shed. I slowly walked around to where the shed was an effort to encourage the skunk to move on. Eventually, I came up with the ideal to pack clay around the bottom opening of the shed in an effort to keep the skunk from going back underneath. The next morning I looked around the bottom of the shed and there was no evidence of the skunk returning.
Finally, while I was walking my dogs in the back of the property, my dog alerted on some creature and chased it to the bottom of a tree. I quickly went to the tree and look down to see a large striped tail slowly crawling into a hole. I did not know if this was the large snapping turtle that I had spotted on another occasion. So once again I went to the computer research through Google and call the local neighbor to ask them if they knew what was. It wasn’t long before I was told it was an armadillo. Talk about a scary looking creature. I have seen a few of them after they’d been hit and lying on a road. But I had not seen one so close and a live.
This brings me to the title of this blog. I am constantly asking,” what is that”. This city boy had seen a lot of the wildlife of the city. But I am amazed at the different, size, diversity and abundance that exist in the woods where live. I’m no longer so cocky as to think that I know what everything is. That started with the scorpion sighting. I know that dear roam my property I have seen a coyote walk along the fence line. So now I find myself like a young student, constantly being amazed about the creatures in the woods. I hope that you would find yourself the same way. Not too old to learn. And still feeling young enough to be excited when citing a new creature.