Snakes!

Snakes!

An article I wrote about rats, snakes and bees appeared today in our local paper. Since I gave an update about rat poison and wildlife last month, let’s talk snakes. I like snakes. I know I’m unusual in this, perhaps because I didn’t have brothers that terrorized me with them (real or not), and maybe living in the Chicago suburbs, where we didn’t have a lot of snakes, had something to do with it.

My husband also likes them so when we encounter them it’s a positive thing. My previous articles on snakes have mostly focused on relocating rattlesnakes, something we did quite often at our San Diego County property.  [Read more…]

Love in Lizard Land

Love in Lizard Land

It’s springtime in the nature world. We came across two mating lizard couples yesterday while many others are running around like cuckoos trying to get into the game. (… looked up cuckoos and they’re a family of birds that include roadrunners.) The season of love has also struck other animal species. Two of our birdhouses are being prepped by busy Bewick’s wrens. And out in the chaparral and desert, male rattlesnakes are getting territorial, lifting their fronts up to challenge one another.

I thought I would get some answers to things I ponder when observing our yard’s lizards, so I asked Robert Fisher, a biologist with the USGS in San Diego and co-author of A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians in Coastal Southern California.

Here is what I learned: [Read more…]

Even More on Rattlesnake Relocation

Even More on Rattlesnake Relocation

Dr. Erika Nowak from Northern Arizona University commented on my last rattlesnake blog on relocating rattlesnakes, and provided the following info – so I thought I would provide it as a separate blog.

In a nutshell, if you must relocate rattlesnakes (which is preferable to the alternative of killing them) – relocating them close to their original range improves their survival chances. [Read more…]

Our Backyard Brethren: Recent Wildcam Photos

Our Backyard Brethren: Recent Wildcam Photos

I took a hiatus with our Bushnell wildlife cameraOur Bushnell Trophy Trail Camera, but have put one up again the last couple months in 3 different places to track our wildlife visitors.  Thought I would post a few photos of what’s been in our yard, plus what’s been waking up my husband most early mornings as it goes through the gate next to our bedroom. [Read more…]

More on Relocating Rattlesnakes – including a research bibliography

More on Relocating Rattlesnakes – including a research bibliography

A reader and nature appreciator, Gary MacGrumbley from New Mexico, responded to my earlier article Rattlesnakes! Relocating them works just fine, saying there was not enough evidence to say that relocating rattlesnakes worked. I checked in with rattlesnake expert Dr. William Hayes who I had interviewed and he provided the update below, along with a complete bibliography on the subject.

Dr. Hayes said the following:

“As I stated and Linda wrote, snakes do travel more the first year after release and suffer higher mortality, but many do survive and settle down in time.” [Read more…]

Our Welcome (and not welcome) Nature Guests

Our Welcome (and not welcome) Nature Guests

Our housesitter called when we were away to say that we hadn’t told her about our unexpected friend. At dusk she had walked out onto the back patio and discovered a 5-foot gopher snake slithering along the house. Knowing our respect for critters, she successfully whisked it away with a broom. We hope it stays around. After all, gopher snakes eat lots of rats and other rodents, which also seem to like our yard. [Read more…]

Saving Wildlife: Keep Cats Indoors (and Other Suggestions)

Saving Wildlife: Keep Cats Indoors (and Other Suggestions)

First a full disclosure: I have had both indoor cat and outdoor cats.

Yesterday I came across a half-eaten bird kill caused by a cat I’ve seen stalking our bird-friendly property. It made me think of some research The Secret Life of Roaming Cats I heard on NPR in August. Working with the National Geographic Society, University of Georgia researchers strapped small video cameras on 55 cats as they roamed [Read more…]