Last night at Casa Andrews:
We had sedge wrens nesting in a hanging flower bucket right by our door, which meant we had to be super vigilant about keeping cats inside and watching Charlie, because Frenchies have a serious prey drive. The little birds have finally flown their nest yesterday and today, but at the time we didn’t know if all of them were gone or if some of them were left.
This is likely a rat snake, and it ended up going into a hole in the foundation under the house. They are generally harmless.
But Gordon wanted me to tell you this story. So we’ve had coyotes howling and so on closer to the house than usual. Our property is country dark at night but very safe. The main worry we have is that skunks and other small critters do climb over and burrow under our fence, so we have to watch the dogs late at night. Because getting skunk stink out of dog fur is very hard.
So Kid 1 and I are out there, watching the dogs about eleven at night, the last outside excursion before we go to bed.
Rustling. Very loud, very forceful rustling that sounds like something large is stomping around through dead leaves and bushes just outside our fence in the area where we hid our trashcans.
Kid 1 takes off for the house, chased by dogs.
By the time I get to the house, Gordon is heading to the back and he has a gun. Because that’s what Texas men do when they hear strange things prowling.
In all fairness, he has been feeding deer. I blame Darryl. Darryl is our neighbor and he boasted to Gordon that he can sit in a chair outside and feed deer out of his hand. Now my husband wants to feed deer out of his hand as well. He bought the approved deer feed, because corn is bad for the deer. Deer attract mountain lions and coyotes. We get dead deer in our neighborhood occasionally that look like something ate them.
The conventional wisdom is that loud noises will shoo the predators off, hence the gun. However, everyone in the family knows that if my husband did encounter a mountain lion while armed with the gun, not only he wouldn’t shoot it, he would likely try to feed it.
But anyway. My now armed husband and I go to the back. He has a gun. I have a stick.
There is nothing. Just trashcans.
Me: I’m going to bang on the trashcan. Don’t shoot anything.
Gordon: I’m not going to shoot anything.
I hit the trashcan with my stick.
Gordon: It sounds huge.
Me: It’s a racoon.
Gordon: Yeah, racoon the size of Sookie. (Sookie is 80lbs of dog.)
I bang on the trashcan again.
Out comes itsy bitsy armadillo the size of a house cat and streaks in panic into the darkness.
And that is our scary Texas wildlife story.
I’m going to be travelling to Texas soon and I’m going to be on the lookout for wildlife photography moments.
My grandparents lived on an island off of BC. coast. They had turned their summer home into a year round home when they retired. The first winter they were there they discovered a group of sea otters had nested under their porch.Under the law as it was the breeding season they could not do anything to move the Otters as it could harm the babies. No Otters aren’t overly concerned about where they do things so my grandparents said stench of Otter poo under the porch was horrendous. (Think putrefied fish) Also Momma Otter was very protective of her pups and both my Grandparents had to dash to the front door to avoid being bitten numerous times. As soon as the Otter family went out to see my grandparents ripped up the porch floor cleared out the smelly mess underneath and poured a concrete foundation to the floor of the porch so the Otters couldn’t come back. Yes they look sweet and cute but you don’t want any taking up residence in and by your home
Visiting with friends on the BC coast, my son and I were walking their dog when he (the pup, not the child, luckily) found the worst stink ever to roll in.
It gave rise to a saying: …coulda been worse, coulda been sea otter shit.
Wow! Texas sounds like an interesting place to live. You have all the wildlife!
We live in an ordinary neighborhood. A gazillion squirrels. An occasional possum. I know they’re non-violent, but they’re so creepy. Ember likes to act tough, and the possums do their freezing-in-place act. She does charge at cats, and they run, even though almost all are bigger than her. Not too long ago, we had our first raccoon. Yikes!
Jeaniene Frost says
“I know they’re non-violent, but they’re so creepy.”
Wont! You think possums are creepy? We can no longer be friends! Lol.
I think opossums are kind of scary. They can be really mean. The babies are kind of ugly-cute, but not when they are snarling at you when you are trying to get them out of the pool. I think I have PTSD from that. 🙂
They’re snarling at what is, to them, a predator that outweighs them by a factor of at least ten. Pretty sure they have PTSD from that too.
Possums are beneficial creatures. Yes, they look like giant rats, but.. they are mostly very peaceful. They eat slugs in the yard, spiders and bugs, and also.. TICKS (I did not know this part). They can get into garden foods, but generally they won’t if it takes too much trouble. Lifespan is only 3 years or so in the wild maybe longer in captivity. Oh, and they do not carry rabies (too cool temperature of a critter..
Donna A says
I wish we had possums. And armadilloes. But you can keep the house invading scorpions. Best you get in central London is foxes and squirrels. I love both, though squirrels climbing up your balcony just to rummage through your pots and uproot your spring bulbs us taking the Mickey a bit. Yeah, I would probably try and feed a carnivorous predator twice my size too. They’re just so cute ???? And in fairness if the scorpion stayed outside, I’d probably name it and say hello to it daily too ????
Earlier this spring: late evening, went to put the trash outside in the covered and latched bin. Startled an opossum who was by my car. We both said “eek!!”. Possum scuttled off into the night, I scuttled back into the house.
Would rather have opossums than skunks, which this neighborhood has lots of because we are next to a forest preserve.
I adore possums but they can most definitely be violent. Family friend reached into a feed barrel to discover a possum had taken up residence. It chewed him up badly enough for a hospital stay. Did you know they have 52 teeth? 52! Shaped like dog teeth!
“everyone in the family knows that if my husband did encounter a mountain lion while armed with the gun, not only he wouldn’t shoot it, he would likely try to feed it.”
My husband moves water bugs/Palmetto bugs safely outside. He rescued a cat wandering lost in our building. A mountain lion (if it were possible deep in the city) would send him into ecstasies. He’d be laying out food while on the phone with whatever animal rescue service is here.
It’s a big reason I married him. Not just that he cares, but that he acts on it. It makes me happy to hear this about Gordon. The world needs more men like this.
I’m not trying to be sexist. It needs more women like you as well. But after the recent news (and the less recent news), I am so off entitled men. We need more who care and act.
Ok, I think I could have run with Kid 1 too…
I used to live in the interior of BC and a friend of mine and I went hiking in the high country. We came across some fairly fresh mountain lion tracks on a forest service road and we kept a look out for the animal but fortunately we didn’t encounter it. I was surprised a week later to read a news article that someone had been a attacked by a mountain lion but their dog had fought it off. Mountain lions have been know to track humans for days. There was a recent case here of a rancher who went out on his horse searching for a missing steer and he disappeared. His horse returned to the ranch. Search and rescue parties could find nothing and the man is believed to have been mauled and killed by a mountain lion as the rancher lived in the area all his life and knew the terrain well. Wanting to feed wild animals is okay but actually doing it causes multiple problems for the animals
Wild animals in the middle of Vienna would be following slightly different rules.
Where my parents’ house was, in Washington DC, was a residential neighborhood very close to the MD border (PG County, not Montgomery. Very very different neighborhood from Chevy Chase).
But it was many houses, all with yards on both sides of the border. And many vegetable gardens. Driving there one day, I pulled over because I saw a full-grown deer jump a fence between two yards and start munching lettuce. When she finished, she jumped to the next yard over to nosh on what looked like green beans, but might have been peas.
I hadn’t been home in a while. My parents told me they’d even seen deer as far in as their yard. They were becoming pests.
There are plenty of rats in any city, if the mountain lion comes far enough (or here it would more likely be boar or bear for big dangerous beasties).
Maria M. OToole says
Your husband rescues palmetto bugs?! He does know they’re basically cockroaches big enough to put a saddle on, right? (There are reasons I will NOT live in Florida. This is one of them.)
I TRIED to tell him! We called them waterbugs when I was growing up in DC. I remember coming home from one of our school things one night, my dad turning on the light in the kitchen, and the floor BLACK with the waterbugs that were racing out of the light (he called the exterminator the next day).
My husband said, about the one we found and was carrying outside on a paper plate, “what if they’re endangered?”
To which I replied that I dreamed of that day. As did everyone else in Brookland, DC.
He found. Not we.
With all due respect, everytime I read your “Texas Wildlife” posts I get further convinced that I would not be able to survive in Texas.
A Committed Urbanite
I think its safe to assume that you aren’t working for the Texas Tourist Board.
We are in NC and this is the closest Ive ever been to wildlife. Mind you I spent 9 yrs on Okinawa and grew up on a Caribbean island.
But we’ve lived here for 5 years and there are foxes that live in the woods behind our house. Every spring a mama and babies show up and the kids and I watch from the window. Im not sure if its the same mom with new babies, but they are really cute. My neighbor has been feeding them, which I think is a bad idea but we watch our kids like hawks when they are outside. We also have dolphins in the river with some caymans. And baby bears have come through housing a couple times, once forcing school to be locked down till about 4pm.
The deer will eat everything in your garden if its not properly covered.
I have foxes, too. A couple years ago I got great video of 4 kits romping around in my backyard. They were adorable. I like the foxes because the one year I didn’t see foxes is the year I had mice inside the house.
My neighbor has pictures of deer in my yard, including a buck. His young son thought it was a moose.
Glad it wasn’t a skunk! ????
Mary Beth says
Oh noes! The armadillo of doom! LOL
Our biggest issue living in the countryside is feral dog packs. It’s a totally avoidable problem that grinds my gears. Animal control won’t come out here often, and the local farmers prefer to shoot them. Hubby and I make a point of meeting our neighbors and their dogs and cats. That way if any of them get lost or get out of their yards we can pick them up before some idiot shoots them.
I’m very Zen on the animal fronts, though I don’t miss my cat dumping a live mouse on my face at 3am. (She passed in 2016–still miss her.)
Hoping everyone’s health at HA stays good. Looking forward to seeing the cross stitching. (Stabbing things with floss is an awesome stress reliever.)
LOL! I had similar experience but in my case is was a black bear on my porch getting into a large bin (with a heavy lid mind you) to get at some garbage I had put there for my neighbor and was going to take to the cans in the morning. 3A…a thud and the dogs go ballistic. Bear doesn’t leave until I hit the porch light.
Note to self: never leave smelly garbage where a bear can get at it in the mountains!
In our area, some ppl freeze their smelly garbage before putting them in the bins on garbage pickup day. The bears have gotten into and destroyed or dragged away so many bins (they belong to the city) that the city has put locks on them. Even the raccoons can get pass those locks. Lol the bears just haul the bins away and break them at their leasure. The point of the locks is to discourage the bears from trying the bins in the first place. The freezing of the garbage works better
I’m sorry for laughing, I feel like Texas has more wildlife on average than Australia, I mean we get the deadly critters but they generally leave us alone. You might run across a snake in the yard once in a while. Maybe a few spiders. Coyotes and mountain lions….how exciting! We’re lucky if we see a kangaroo or koala anywhere in our parklands.
William B says
I was under the impression that damn near everything in Australia can kill you.
Nah, just the weather.
Loved that story. Especially about the Mountain Lions! They are big cats. Who shoots cats? Nobody who lives with cats can shoot any type of cat.
Made me laugh 😀
When I lived in Texas I landscaped with native plants wherever I could. I tried native bulbs multiple times and they kept disappearing. One night I saw the culprit. I had been providing a buffet for an armadillo. I gave up on bulbs and stuck to other less tasty plants.
Katie R says
We are in Southern California, but we are also “country dark” at night. Our neighborhood is zoned for horses, so it has no street lights and homes are not supposed to have major light setups either. So it’s creepy. I have had similar experiences to yours before, only we can’t have guns, so I talk in a loud voice to my dogs while they do their business, hoping that will discourage any large visitors.
Last night I had to let one of the dogs out in the wee hours (she was getting revenge on me for the donut I had to put on her after she was licking a scab), so I may have woken my neighbors with my jabbering. I have no regrets. Mountain lions and especially coyotes are not uncommon in our area.
Wow! Like the book says, “Everyone Poops”! ???? yuck.
Not sure how that reply got under your comment but technology has been cranky for me this morning so ????????♀️ Sorry!
The scariest thing about armadillos is that they (supposedly) carry leprosy. Other than that, they are pretty cute.
Leprosy requires a fairly prolonged exposure to infect humans. I’m trying to imagine a scenario where a human got infected by a passing armadillo, and it’s not coming together for me.
You are correct. I think the US gets something like 100-200 cases of leprosy a year. The risk of contracting it from an armadillo is extremely low unless you’re in the habit of hunting, cleaning and eating the animal. Then your chance of being infected jumps way up. It’s quite high in a couple areas of Brazil where hunting and eating armadillos is very common. Fortunately for us, there is an antibiotic treatment now.
Wait, where are the other 99-199 people getting leprosy if not from prolonged armadillo contact or consumption?
Presumably in the usual way, from prolonged human contact (not consumption, one hopes, though consumption is the archaic term for TB, which like leprosy is caused by a Mycobacterium; now I’m envisioning an armadillo on a Victorian fainting couch).
Susan Spencer says
Glorious reply, Jewel! Thank you! I’m having the visual equivalent of an ear worm now… 🙂
There are people here in the US who do eat armadillos. Others pick up the disease in their travels. here’s a nice article, heh. https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/05/leapin-lizards-dillos-carry-leprosy/#:~:text=And%20researchers%20agree.,for%20stews%20and%20chili%20bowls.
I live in suburban Arkansas and this seems totally normal. Be watchful of the armadillos, their burrows can be a nuisance. We had a couple build one under our deck and we had to relocate them when they started digging towards our house foundation. If you want to keep them away from your trash we used month balls. They aren’t poisonous or anything, they just really hate the smell. It keeps snakes away as well! We threw a couple down their burrow and they were gone in a week.
Natasha Johnson says
???????? I could see Gordon saying here Kitty kitty lol!
We get the occasional mountain lion here in west Texas but not too often. Armadillos are funny litter creatures my parents get them at their house and my daughter went and stayed with them for a week and she FaceTimed me all excited,mom I just saw an Armadillo!!!
Hope Gordon gets to hand feed yalls neighborhood deer. If you go to Ruidoso,NM and stay in one of the rental cabins out closer to Alto you can hand feed them because they will literally come right up to the porches if they see people with food.
Back in the 1960s, while my family was visiting Texas kinfolk, my father’s cousin took my sisters on a drive through his country property. An armadillo was waddling down the dirt road and my sister, thrilled, called “Look, an armadillo!” The cousin pulled out a gun and shot it. She was moderately traumatized.
“ Because getting skunk stink out of dog fur is very hard.”
It is also very hard to get out of your rainjacket if you stand between your dog and a skunk trying to restrain the former from going after the latter. ☹️
For some reason the whole thing with deer reminds me of Derek and Julie’s conversation in their novella.
Hope you are having a good day Casa Andrews.
I have lived in a suburb just north of Dallas TX for almost three years and in this shared house for just over two. My roommates told me that once a couple of bobcats were on the roof – they went outside to see what was so loud on the roof. Two bobcats stared back. I haven’t seen that, but I have occasionally heard things on the roof that sound as hole lot heavier than squirrels. There are lots of squirrels and rabbits, so certainly plenty for them to eat. For me, the biggest animal problem has been the time my first summer here when a wood rat got into the house and I and one of the roommates were up late trying to corral it and transport it outside. This took far longer than you might think, due to the jumps and squeaks from us women whenever the rat tried to make a break of it. It’s ridiculously “girlie” and embarrasses me when that happens.
I would want to feed a mountain lion, too. Or the bobcats.
When I was a kid, we had a similar scare only it was broad daylight and we were sure a black bear was scavenging around the area near my uncle’s lakefront cabin. It eventually wandered by the door (we were clustered inside) and we saw a long flat tail. Yep, it was a beaver. The biggest, fattest beaver I’ve ever seen.
Moved just North of Fort Worth TX on March. Still awaiting my first snake, scorpion sighting or a armadillo for that matter. But don’t live too far out in the country just see deer, toads, squirrels.
‘..going into a hole in the foundation under the house’. BURN.IT.DOWN. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. I can handle anything but snakes.
Sell it to AllState. “It’s amazing how much they paid for it considering the shape it was in.”
We had a large venomous snake go under the foundations of our shed chasing rats, so my husband grabbed a can of expand-o-foam and filled every tiny hole we found all the way around. We never saw the snake, or any more rats, after that.
Andrea Smith says
Strangely, I didn’t see much wildlife living in the country.
Now I live in the city, I’ve had a red fox eat my brownies while they were cooling outside.We have seen voles, squirrels, deer, trash pandas, a possiom, lizards, hawks and even an eagle circling overhead. This year we have a pair of ducks swimming in our pool. So, my husband desided to get duck food and start feeding them. So, I’m relating to this story now that a pair ducks our nesting in my yard.
Andrea, a Trash Panda? We have smaller Coatimundi cousins we call Ringtail Cats in Texas. They have the bandit masks and long snouts of the Coati’s and but not the shorter snouts of Racoons.
Ms. Kim says
In Florida alligators don’t usually come into the house and hurricanes give plenty of warning. Beaches are GREAT and there are lots of universities and colleges (I’m trying the dripping water on stone approach of getting you guys to Florida).
William B says
Well, since most men can’t morph into a lion, a 9mm will have to do. Unless you live in Alaska, then it’s a 44mag.
We have bunnies, foxes and possums- and we are in an active adult community. Nature moves in along with the rest of us. This spring we had baby ducks and they were adorable!
Always kind of wished the herbivore megafauna was still around. Armadillos the size of elephants.
I tried to get birds to entertain our cat and managed to get pigeons that everyone else sees as a nuisance, lol.
Shiloh Gibson says
Do not boop the snoot of the danger floof, please. I would believe having both arms would be more beneficial to an author, instead of allowing a danger floof to take an arm as a parting gift. Glad it was only an armadillo.
Always wanted to see an armadillo! Both my husband and I would feed it.
Our backyard entertainment has included big black bears, moose, coyotes, fisher cats, foxes, wood chucks, ermine (in the basement), bob cats, non-venomous snakes, raptors and lots of chipmunks. We love animals and spend plenty of time following weird noises in the dark to make sure nothing eats our dog or the horse and mini donkey in the barn.
Just love hearing about all your critters, even if I do break into a cold sweat when I hear about your scorpions! Grateful it’s too cold for those wonders of nature here. Shudder.
Kat in NJ says
I love your stories! I’ve only seen an armadillo once, at my in-laws place in Arkansas….weird looking little critters. We have all sorts of wildlife tromping through our yard too: foxes, turkeys, raccoons, opossums, etc…and deer of course! This week two fawns were born in our yard. So adorable! ????????????
We have an armadillo that lives under my neighbors porch. However, he likes to come into our yard to forage. My old dog lives to chase the dillo because he can catch them. They jump & squeal when chased. Buck is always so proud. We have deer but he’s stopped chasing them. Unless endeavor. He’s convinced he’ll get one of the turkey vultures one day tho. Here’s Buck.
Moderator R says
A distinguished gentleman!
Well done, Buck!
Buck the cow dog! He’s beautiful. Our heeler’s job is to chase the deer out of the yard. Glad Buck has found a hobby to enjoy in his retirement.
Patricia Schlorke says
Aaahh…the wildlife of Texas. If it’s not fire ants, it’s scorpions. If it’s not scorpions, it’s armadillos. If it’s not armadillos, it’s squirrels. If it’s not squirrels, it’s snakes. Oh yeah, if it’s not the snakes, it’s the hot weather that won’t go away.
The joys of living in one state that encompasses so many different areas.
Too darn funny ???? We have Mountain Lions here in So. Cal. They mainly stay in the wilderness parks but once in a while one will take a wrong turn and end up cruising a neighborhood. There was a recent even where a very confused young lion ended up running around a shopping center. It was quite interesting watching the police and security guards chasing him around from the safety of my iPad. Luckily he was darted then anesthetized, then collared and released.
Gordon reminds me of the meme that says “If you find me attacked by a mountain lion you know that my last words were, Here kitty kitty.”
Lastly, I have found that an air horn scares all manner of creatures away. Both 4 legged and 2. Maybe that would also scare Mr. Boasty Pants Darryl ????
LOL, I’ve never had the opportunity to become familiar with armadillos, and didn’t realize they could streak. For a child of the 60s and 70s, the term has a slightly different connotation, leading to a very entertaining visual.
Nancy Weaver says
How did the cross stitch go? I bet they have a pattern for an armadillo.
I feel you.
Two weeks ago my husband told me, that he saw a mouse in the living room. We bought traps, trapped mice, threw them out (they are really cute, looking at you through the wire in the traps). We trappes more mice, more mice, even more mice.
Now it has been silent for two days.
Everytime I hear a sound, I cannot identify I go into mouse alarm, wondering if they are back, or were never gone.
We spent a good part of the covid years remodeling since we were confined to home. I became a mice killing machine redoing an old farmhouse. We live in a heavily wooded country area and the hubby said it was useless….He under estimated the woman who hated those little critters….Jokingly he classed it as murder in the beginning, then escalated it to serial killer, then mass casualty events and finally just genocide….
We are mouse free…..just have to live with the snakes, foxes, bears, coons, coyotes, bats, hawks, eagles, fisher cats, possums, moles, bobcats, wild turkeys, deer, coy dogs…at least they all stay outside…..
Susan R. says
I used to love deer…Bambi, etc. Then we moved to Florida and decided to plant Indian Hawthorne bushes. Lots of them….$$$ of them. No one told me that deer LOVE eating Indian Hawthorne. It’s like crack cocaine and chocolate combined for them. My plants are gone, my wallet is lighter, and my feeling toward “cute” deer has radically changed (ha).
Some ancient forests in the UK have been damaged/killed by deer feeding on them. As in 1,000 year old trees. ????
Donna A says
That’s why we need to rewild. Reintroduction of a predator species (that we killed off in the first place), ie lynx or wolf would benefit the ecosystem enormously. Better than culling too.
Lynx can’t handle Florida weather. Bobcat, panther, red wolf for the Deep South.
S. F. says
Love it, and I love the attitude towards animals you two have.
I was going to suggest raccoon too and possum would have been my second guess after I cornered one in my garage one night and scooted it out with the broom.
Years ago a friend here in town calls me at 6 am to shriek “there are rats in my hanging baskets!” I ask her if she wants me to come over or what and she calmly says no, I just wanted to get that out. So that weekend I go over and watch her water her baskets. Yup. up pops a small tree rat, shakes itself off, climbs the basket chain to the overhang, scurries upside down to the edge and jumps to the tree. She’s been seeing three or four daily and is thinking about rat poison. Then suddenly no rats. So I’m thinking, owl or other predatory bird. NOPE. We’re standing outside grilling dinner and she is watering plants and gets over to the huge pot of fern. Up pops a head and a long blackish body begins slithering out. I look at my friend and tell her as I turn off the grill, “I’m going inside now”.
We watched that 5 ft rat snake pull itself out, lift up and slither along the window sills until it got to the edge of the deck and then dropped down into the yard. I looked at her and said, “well now we know what happened to your rats”. Hang onto your rat snake, at least it will keep down the small vermin. Of course, it will also eat birds nesting around the area, but that’s all part of nature.
Sitting on the porch with the cats late one night when what sounded like a drunken big foot stomped through the woods towards the house. I know it was only a minute at most, but at the time while the cats and I were watching the direction the sound was coming from, it seemed like an hour of suspense. In the end, a little possum came out of the tree line, looked at us looking at it and ran back through the woods. Smallest little white possum I ever saw. They are cute/homely looking nomadic marsupials, who carry their little ones around on their backs once they leave the pouch. I kinda like them and their ancient looking faces.
^_^ Thanks for this relatable moment. It makes sense that the tough skinned armadillo would be louder in the bush than a furry, more flexible animal. But who’s going to expect an armadillo instead of something fuzzy!? Not me ^_^
Lol! Poor little thing was just looking for a snack and traumatized a whole household. The first time my sister (she is in her mid sixties now) saw an armadillo as a child, she called it a “pig-possum-turtle looking like character.” I think that is a pretty accurate description ????
I feel you. We also live in Texas. We had chickens until the hawks, coyotes and other varmits finally won the chicken wars and we stopped providing the cannon fodder (which the other side called meals).
Snake wrangling isn’t fun. I would occasionally have to wrangle them out of the coop as we wanted those fresh eggs (which was the whole purpose of having chickens beside pets and bug control.) King snakes act like rattle snakes and stink instead of having venom to ward off humans. Gauntlets and attitidue were required to deal with them
Thanks for the glimpse into your wildlife adventures. Stay safe!
Years ago my husband fed squirrels in the trees outside our apartments deck. They lost all fear. We had them coming into our apartment. They climbed the screen door and demanded peanut butter toast. They were spread eagled on the screen! One came down a chimney and wandered around inside the building in the air ventwork. My husband got it out eventually. It sauntered down the hall, saw the open deck door and jumped into the tree and started stuffing leaves into its mouth. It had a short tail and we could see it was ok in the following days. We no longer feed anything but birds.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
I have a friend in Oxford (England not Michigan) … Big guy, about 6’5″ 225 lbs…he feeds birds from his hand. My son-the-giant would like to do that too. Except my cats think bird feeders are all you can eat buffets. So now he’s trying to figure out how to hang the bird feeders such that the cats can’t get it…or bears, who live bird feed. Except now we have bird flu. So no bird feeders this year ..maybe next year …
Dona Deam says
Ah, the joy of country life????
Laura Martinez says
That’s pretty hilarious and par for the course. Lol.
Laura Martinez says
By the way, I call the deer in our neighborhood Four Legged Juvenile Delinquents. Cute as a button, but they think my yard is a salad bar.
Maria M. OToole says
IIRC, some of S. M. Stirling’s Changewar characters refer to them as “hoofrats”.
This is an excellent term and one I shall certainly use in the future.
rofl! good description
Lynn Butler says
ROFL> critters always sound bigger at night!
Unless they are Black Bears in a blueberry patch in Pennsylvania. Cause those guys are quiet as ghosts. And big as …..bears.
My mother in law and her sister were picking in the wild berry patch near our pond. Suddenly, her sister stopped talking. Mom walked around the bush to see what was up, only to meet a HUGE Black bear, also availing itself of the berries. I don’t know how long it took her to back away, or get over the shakes, she never said. The bear didn’t care.
Jo Ann says
Actually … I’m not sure that it is just Texas MEN who resort to guns. My Texas mother-in-law could give your husband a run for the money in that area. In fact my Texas Grandmother also kept one handy. I nearly died with laughter when I discovered a picture of my Texas Grandmother standing on a rock and aiming a very long barreled rifle. But then my husband dug up my picture and certificates showing my qualifications during my teenage years. (Gulp)
Bigmama Battillo says
I live in NW Florida in the “armpit” of the state. The area we live in is called the ‘Forgotten Coast’. The coast does not have the sandy beaches that you find just a bit farther west. Our area is primarily privately owned pine forest with a lot of wildlife roaming around and abundant fishing and hunting opportunity. Our biggest problem is the huge owl in the backyard who keeps us awake hooting at night! We also enjoy the deer who come up to your back porch, and watching the otters in the creek in front of our house. We have a Florida black panther that crosses our yard quite often at night and gets our dogs VERY riled. So if you like hunting deer, hogs or bear (special seasons); fishing, crabbing and scalloping or any other sport that can be done in a swamp :), come on down!!
Again, you have literally made my day.
Other Barbara says
I just shared an old tale, Kind of related.
This is rural NJ, on a road still partly un paved.
my exciting childhood adventure. circa 1961. babysitting.
i was babysitting at age 11 perhaps 12, in a house on rocktown road. Kids asleep. Big old farmhouse. about 10 pm I thought i heard a sound from side of house, which had a ground level porch on that side. facing Rock Road, which was unpaved and supposedly “big kids parked there”.
Hear someone walking,on,porch. Slowly.
step. Silence. Step. Terrified. Keep house darkened. hours (20 minutes) later, I stand away from window and door. flip on the big outside light.
a herd of young cows had gotten out from neighbor field and were munching grass and Walking right outside.
my night of the living heifers
Would NEVER live in Texas. Nasty wildlife. NJ only has two snakes with non lethal venom. Imho Disneyworld is the only safe place south of DC
One of my children lived in Staten Island. One of their problems was the wild turkeys running around town. The coyotes were not as bad as the turkeys. The birds knew they were protected and took full advantage of it by pooping all over the place. They are as bad as the Canadian Geese on migration flights, don’t live near a decent body of water in a residential area along a flight path.
Lol in a recent year there was a big scandal because alligators were found in Disneyland swimming pool.
Now, obviously, we need a tiny space armadillo!!
Valerie in CA says
I love your Kid’s name for the snake. A$$hole. Cracked me up.
Would’ve loved to see the armadillo. Gordon, what will you be feeding them?
I got all of the carpets in my home cleaned yesterday. Everyone I turn around there is a spider the size of a small kitten walking in the middle of a room. Any room. I catch them and place outside.
He says “why? Just kill it”
And that’s why I needed my carpets cleaned.
Valerie In CA says
Oh my gosh spell check went crazy.
Spiders. Big ones. Every time I walk into a room.
That’s what I’m catching and placing outside.
Moderator R says
Heh, I thought it was a regional name for yet another creepy crawly of hitherto unknown horror and kittenish size????.
David D. says
“Don’t shoot anything.”
This sounds like Catalina to Alesandro…
We have all of those wildlife here minus the armadillo plus bears. My adult son a ranger recycles most things. He was throwing banana peels in a flower pot outside the front door. I opened the door one day to a “knock “. There were 4 big raccoon right there eating those peels.
I love the story! Miss my Texas so much, so homesick!
I do enjoy Gordon’s attempts at being a Disney princess.
Darkness makes all the critters sound much bigger!
Linda Trainor says
I love to hear from you book news or just your live. I should start referring to my kids as kid one and kid two. Hahehehehe
Logan Matthew Teague says
Could be worse, you could be in Florida. They get alligators walking down the street in suburbs there. Not a joke or urban myth, it happens
Gordon would get along with Emily Ashford, a d&d live player on Dimension 20. In their latest season, Emily plays android who first bonds with a violent blue alien creature with spikes and fangs that just ate several people. Later she accidentally stumbles upon a hulking, clawed android who cobbled itself together from thousands of discarded memory banks and robot parts, and immediately gushes over how lovely their home is with all the disembodied parts everywhere.
A Korbel says
We had 2 dogs when we moved into our suburban San Antonio home 16 years ago, a shepherd mix and a beagle/basset. One night there was much barking and sudden silence. Husband looked into the back yard to find the shepherd mix sniffing the butt of a small, pale armadillo and the b/b licking its head.
BTW, armadillos are cute in an odd way, but you shouldn’t handle them at all. They’re the only other mammals that carry leprosy – which is why armadillo meat is not allowed in competition at the Texas Chili Cookoff.
Lara S. says
We have a whole street cat gang of raccoon, possum and skunk that we have to watch for in our yard at night. And the deer are having their spring babies so we get to be super happy to see them and then inevitably one gets hit by a car or killed by a coyote and it’s the saddest thing ever. We are just north of y’all so I bet you have some too (baby deer that is)
Texas. Oy. My brother has a lake cabin outside of Corsicana. He has VULTURES nesting under his porch. Ick
Valerie in CA says
Ah Vultures. The “always a bridesmaid never a bride” of the bird world.
The are so very important to our ecosystem ????. They take all the yuck away…..recycle it internally. I always wondered if they looked like bunnies would we not cringe when we see them? ????
Patricia Keck says
Ah, the night time potty patrol. We live in rural north Texas with 4 dogs, but only two can go out after dark. We have large owls nesting in the barn, which is not good for small dogs. The other night, two big dogs go out, I follow only to see a possum fall over, playing possum. Two big dogs…NEVER EVEN SAW HIM, WALKED AROUND!! THe chi-weenie dog was waiting at the door having a fit.
We have raccoons, foxes, skunks, groundhogs, chipmunks, rabbits, turkey vultures, hawks, snakes, deer (who will sneak in and eat flower buds – might ad well put out a salad bar), and the occasional bear wandering around.
The raccoons are occasionally rabid and one once chased my grown 230 lb brother-in-law into the house.
We used to keep guard geese till I realized what “runs like sh*t through a goose” meant. During mating season, they’d peck attack everyone coming in and out of the house. The foxes would attack the older weaker ones in the middle of the night and we’d hear them screaming. So off they went to a farm. Doesn’t matter. There are loads of wild ones flying around.
I’m a bit shell shocked because I used to live in Brooklyn. By a park no less. Now I live in NJ 10 miles from the East river. I had no idea.
I never leave a comment though I’ve been reading the books for years. Cannot help myself as the story about Gordon likely feeding a mountain lion instead of shooting resonated.
My sister sent me a funny meme/GIF (you know one of those things that us old folk can’t keep straight) and it goes: If they ever find me dead, killed by a mountain lion, know that my last words were “here kitty, kitty”;p;p
You go Gordon!
My nephew came inside and I asked him whats he doing outside. He said he’s playing with the bear.
His mom said, oh go back outside he’s probably waiting for you, then telling me he has a big imagination. Nope, it was a bear, he passed by the window????
There’s a YT channel which occasionally gets suggested to me of a front porch in Asheville, NC. Because the video has bears. On their front suburban-ish porch. Even cubs.
I hope they have a back door and the bears leave the cars alone.
oooh! Gordon! Do not pat Danger Kitty!! Oklahoma Wildlife on Twitter told me that! lol
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Ilona Andrews for the post.
Good job, Gordon. Dad’s rule was always have your firearm prepared for defense. He also taught us how to shoot properly — long or short gun.
Here Coyotes follow ???? nightly up my driveway. Barney, my bull, has a permanent water trough in barn corral. He hates canine predators and snakes. So while deer partake of fresh water coyotes, who don’t want to become mush, wait near garage.
You know the adage, if you can not cross paddock faster than bovine in x number of seconds, don’t attempt. It’s true. Legal beagles made me put up beware of bull after last human trespassing attempt. He got treed before he got gored and stomped. I pointed out they ignored multiple posted no trespassing signs and beware of dog signs so obviously they had poor intelligence and danger comprehension. Sigh
You can’t fix stupid.
I must admit I was waiting for Jack to come out and pee on someone!
Funnily enough I was swapping animal tales with a patient today, seems to be a theme. Her Uncle moved to the Poconos (PA) many years ago when it was very rural. His family came to visit and they were all sitting on the porch enjoying nature. Apparently everyone went inside to do something and left Granny, who had some dementia, sitting outside by herself. Her Uncle heard a strange sound and called out to ask Granny what she was doing. Granny replied “I’m petting a kitty”. Well, Uncle had no pets so they go check on Granny who they find sitting on the porch petting a mountain lion! Apparently they had to work really hard to convince Granny to come in (no one wanted to go outside) without scaring her, or the mountain lion, she was enjoying petting the kitty too much. I was at once jealous because I want to pet a giant wild kitty and horrified by Granny’s close call! Can you imagine!?
The closest I ever got was petting a wild buffalo on the beach at girl scout camp on Catalina Island. Their fur was not very soft, sorry Eduardo, but it was cool anyways.
Jean Reads says
We bought a trail camera for our backyard last year, to check on a few cats that has been abandoned in our neighborhood. We made the mistake of trying to put some cat food out for them. Immediately we saw that we attracted a family of raccoons and a coyote, all of whom were eager to eat the food at night. And we could not put it out during the day, because the doves would eat it. So we left the poor cats to fend for themselves. We think at least one got adopted. It was two weeks before the coyote stopped coming by every night to sniff around. And it has started coming by again to drink for the birdbath at night, but it doesn’t loiter.
Armadillos are Noisy from all that rooting around they do. They are very near sighted. The last time I saw one was while walking a path at a local park. Until it came out of the brush, the brain was picturing a deer instead. I am more Gulf Coast Texas. We get squirrels, possum, raccoons, and the usual dog and cats in the neighborhood. The cats will share a food bowl with a possum but not a raccoon.
“Our property is country dark at night but very safe” – yeah, except for the damn scorpions!
Susan D says
A caution to people who want to feed deer by hand. Deer carry ticks and ticks carry Lyme disease. Lyme disease causes a rash, often in a bull’s-eye pattern, and flu-like symptoms. Joint pain and weakness in the limbs also can occur. So, if you are lucky enough to make friends with deer, check yourself for ticks afterward.
I seriously think your family should move out of Texas. 🙂
Lizz D. says
Armadillos are ADORABLE. I’m sure they’re a nuisance in the wild, but, when I’ve seen them in zoos, I’m in love.
My recent visitors. The one little guy would just stare at me when I’d check on them. I could hear him saying “do you need something? No? Go away”
They’ve flown away by now and I’ll be sure to put the screen down on that window once I clean it up.
Darn! The jpeg file was too big.
Let’s try this again
I give up. I am obviously technically challenged.
But they are still pretty cute.
Diane D says
I see them, just above. House finches?
Do you have ticks? They are considered the major hazzard around here. Moreso than raccoon.My sister is terrified to go into her back yard and she lives in the city! But deer have been spotted in her neighborhood, so I guess it could be a valid fear.
Lol, I knew it was an armadillo as soon as you said rustling. They are the loudest critters! Just barrel through the brush like little tanks. Used to scare us all the time when we lived in Florida, sounded like a bear was coming. So cute though, I miss them.
If you were in Houston, that snake would have likely been a copperhead or a coral snake. Because Houston is dangerous that way. 🙂
One summer night at work, many years ago, I was standing outside the one-storey building talking to some police officers who patrolled our area. There was a large grassy expanse beside us which contained multiple flower beds and the asphalt we were standing on held a triangular rose bed. Although a number of lights surrounded the area, the grass and flowers were unlit and heavily shadowed.
A couple of us saw the farthest flowers rustling… and, while we watched, that rustling moved towards us, bed by bed. The area was dark enough that whatever was coming closer couldn’t be seen between the beds.
As it came closer, one officer asked what we were looking at, so we told him- which made everyone look towards the flower beds and the waving plants. All conversation stopped.
Gradually, that movement stopped about fifteen feet away at the edge of the bed nearest us. We all stood there transfixed, wondering whether it would stay in the flower bed or cross the pavement and light to reach the rose bed.
We had our answer a few minutes later when a large form scuttled across the grass and asphalt then dove into the roses.
There were screams and running, with one cop jumping up and hanging off the roof edge. The only officer still standing beside me of the original four had drawn his weapon in case it came back out.
“It” was a rat. A very large rat. Big enough that none of the local cats would hunt it.
Kat Kimbriel says
I sympathize with Gordon’s love of deer. But please, everyone. Don’t coax them close.
Texas deer, like most deer in the US, carry deer ticks. And the deer ticks carry a cocktail of vector diseases, like Borrelia, bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, and many others. Doctors are not good at catching these bacterial, parasite, and protean diseases.
Enjoy deer from as far away as you can. Don’t let them into your back yard!
Neighbor caught Lymes and mom caught…something. probably a mix of tick-borne diseases. Was a mess for more than 20y and the doctors could only give her brief reprieves. She finally killed whatever it was with a mega-dose of ivermectin. The neighbor never did kick the Lymes symptoms and passed before mom found her cure. This was OK.
My sister feels you may have discovered the heretofore unknown Armadillo Defense Mode: Enhanced Rustling…
Mary Healey says
I love it. And since the news up north where I live is that armadillos are now migrating north and have entered the southern part of Illinois, I now know why! LOL!
XD I needed that kind of cute story after you’re last few weeks of excitement
Is it true that bathing whatever animal is affected, in tomato sauce gets rid of skunk smell? We do t have raccoons in Australia so this is a hypothetical question, not likely that I will have to test the theory.
No. It does not work. “¼ cup of baking soda. 1-2 teaspoons of mild dishwashing detergent like Ivory Snow. 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution. Mix in a bucket and use immediately.” This works. Can confirm.
Dawn works better for some reason
Used often it will bleach the dog’s coat.
Yes, there is a story but I’ve blathered too much in this post.
Tomato juice is not effective. Can confirm.
Wow, that’s a very healthy looking rat snake. You’re right, they are great snakes to have in your yard. I’m laughing because the deer herd, and that is a herd, are completely at ease with y’all like your on their turf, not the other way around. Love the House Andrews zoo.
Lol! Oh how this makes me miss Texas! Thank you for the story. Made me reminisce about my childhood in central Texas.
A couple years ago one of my cats got out. After posting on Pawboost and elsewhere, I was reading that a good time to go looking is late at night when they are more likely to hear you and feel safer to come to you. So out I went onto my front porch at 1am and start calling for Alex. I see something coming, with purpose, from around the corner and head up the stairs and am so excited that Alex is coming. So imagine my surprise when it turns out to be a young racoon!! I quickly retreated inside from where I tried to shoo Alex the Racoon away. After standing on his hind legs and waving his paws for awhile, he finally retreated back down the stairs, turning around every couple steps to look at me as if to say…. “but WHY do I have to leave, you were calling for me?!?!?” It was the funniest thing. Story had a happy ending too, as I went out the back door into my deck and called softly (not wanting Alex the Racoon to come) and when I heard howling turned around to find Alex the Cat staring at me from the roof of the kitchen about 5′ over my head. A quick trip inside for a stepstool and Alex the Cat was safely inside.
C.D. Lewis says
Have you seen an armadillo jump yet? Their ability to jump really blew my mind. I had no idea.
Jeanne Ferguson Turner says
Me neither! I’m going to try to find a video online of this!
Yes, that’s why so many end up as Texas speed bumps. Drivers straddle them, trying not to hit them, but the armadillo startle reflex is to buck…so they end up hitting the undercarriage of the car.
Don’t try to pet them. Same reason. Will jam your wrist painfully.
Yikes don’t forget deer ticks are carriers for Lyme disease…
These deer look like they’re waiting to be fed, like the ones in Nara, Japan
Try Dawn, peroxide and baking soda for getting skunk out of dog. At least your man got a gun. Mine tried scaring a raccoon with a fire extinguisher.
Ista in Sydney says
I’d be offering not just food, but scritches behind the ears and under the chin.
Probably just as well that ‘straya doesn’t have large cats or that’s how I’d “go”.
I’d love a spotted eastern quoll, which would be the closest to a small cat (but much smaller).
Jeanne Ferguson Turner says
Faur warning- nine-banded armadillos can carry and transmit leprosy (& rabies) so make sure not to handle them, dead or alive.
But they taste like a mild pork.
Nothing goes ‘bump’ in the night like an armadillo under the bed.
Mom blames me for this knowledge.
I am taking the fifth….
Florida here. I can attest that a single armadillo walking on leaves sound like an army crawling around out there in the dark. Scared the bejeebers out of my older brother when he was down visiting us one time.
Diane D says
It was a raccoon nest under our cottage porch for us, and the odor wasn’t pleasant, but apparently much less horrible than otters. *g* Lights and noise once we found it had mom-varmint moving the adorable nuisances to a new nest.
Diane D says
Hmm, let me try this way to share the photo…
It’s crazy how much noise armadillos can make! And they’re so cute
All talking about wild things. How about pheasants, yep, pheasants, in the city of Detroit, MI. Lived near I-94 & I-75 intersection, pheasants and sunflowers ????everywhere.
Until, new construction!!
I used to be a afraid of snakes and now let them be. Since I started following the Southeast Texas Snake ID Facebook page, I have learned tons and want to relocate said snakes rather than killing them when encountered if needed. You can upload a photo of a snake and the experts on the page will id it for you. I’m also getting better with the indentation because of the page. Although I still have some issues with identifying water moccasins. I got the copperheads down (not hard) and the rat snakes vs water snakes. The one pictured is a western rat snake that joined me on my patio one evening…scared the crap out of me and after I got over the initial fear/shock it had it’s IG moment with all the photos I took…lol I figure they keep the rat populous down and it’s a win win for both of us. And yes, they are climbers…
Deer can be dangerous and unpredictable. Yesterday a large deer chased my 14-year old cat out of the woods into my yard and under my car. The deer lunged against my car trying to get at the cat, who ran back into the woods. Luckily my daughter was outside. My adult daughter and her boyfriend yelled and waved arms at the Deer. It didn’t spook, stood its ground and then meandered into the woods across the street where it lurked in the shadows. This was about 12:30 PM. My cat did not come in until midnight and has not left my house since