Animal stories

in animals •  last month 

TURTLE, TURTLE

Earlier this summer, as I entered Pokagon State Park, I spotted a turtle making it's slow way across the road.

There was a car coming the other way, but the turtle was about to the center line and looked safe from it. I shifted into park, got out, and ran up to the turtle since, as you know, it takes them about ten days to cross two lanes.

When I reached down, the turtle scampered away like a rabbit with its tail on fire.

turtle.pngNot this one, although it was also at Pokagon.

I had no idea they could move that fast. All I had to do was keep stepping behind it, and it made its way to the far side in a matter of seconds. On the way back to the car, I noticed the guy driving the other way looked just as surprised as I was.

A few days later Emily encountered a snapping turtle, and had a similar experience in that it whirled around so fast she couldn't get it off the highway, for fear of losing fingers. Some neighbors who apparently had been there before brought down a broom and trash can, and successfully moved it out of harm's way.

turtle2.pngNot this one either, but they were both plenty annoyed with me.

DON'T BE CATTY

We have a compost pile in our back yard, held together by some old wooden pallets. It's a good way to take scraps of food and other suitable garbage, mix it with grass clipping and leaves, and end up with some nice, usable soil. Granted that I haven't had time to plant a garden in some years, but if nothing else maybe I can use it as a base to try and grow some grass in the front yard, assuming I trim those thick shade trees first.

There's always something.

Cats, on the other hand, know how to relax. In fact, when I went out back to mow the lawn I saw a small black bundle on top of the compost, which I at first took to be a dead cat. I got within a few feet of it before realizing it was just sleeping.

It was a cool morning, and the decomposing products in compost, along with a layer of leaves over top, apparently gave the little feline a warm and comfy place for a nap. I was trying to quietly turn on my camera's phone when it stretched, turned its sleepy face around, and splotted me.

The only thing I saw after that was a black streak, for the space of maybe half a second, before it disappeared around the corner.

It's probably for the best that I saw it, instead of it being discovered by our dog, who has a faster reaction time and doesn't bother taking pictures.

thing.pngThis is not a cat. But I photographed it before running for my life, and I had to use the picture for something.

FLYING HIGH--I MEAN, LOW--AND PROUD

A few weeks ago Emily and I drove down to Missouri. Part of that trip is down the length of southern Illinois, on the four lane interstate 57. Toward the south it gets hilly and picturesque, just as Indiana does, but closer to the center of the state it can be a bit of a bland drive. Picture I-70 west of Indianapolis, only with less corn.

So when a large bird flew down low over the highway, it caught my attention. It was being chased by a much smaller bird, something I've seen often that's (I assume) related to nest stealing. Usually the larger bird is a hawk, or buzzard.

In this case it came down extra low, and took a turn just over the highway, in the same direction we were traveling. For just a moment, it was almost still in relation to our car, just thirty feet or so away.

It was a bald eagle.

turkeys.pngThis is what Ben Franklin wanted as our national symbol. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same, fighting over an eagle leg.

They're more common now than they used to be, but still not very common; when I was a kid they were practically unheard of. But there it was, right in front of us (no, I didn't take a picture--I was driving). Emily and I squeed and maybe I peed a little, and had something to talk about until we got further down and started seeing the Mississippi River area flooding.

It was a bald eagle, people. Right in front of us. And I don't want to make it sound like I'm just a fanboy, and maybe it was a small thing, but it was really neat.

I think sometimes we don't take the time to realize just how neat the little things can be. We get to thinking something's not worth seeing unless its had a few million dollars worth of CGI work put into it. We don't even bother looking up from our phones anymore. We're bringing up a whole generation of people who don't get how truly cool it is to see those first blooming flowers of spring, bringing color back to the world.

Check out those rainbows, people. Study the stars. Our universe is a miracle.

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Oh, thanks for giving my brain something refreshing.
I have a red-footed tortoise at home.
It is extremely slow and always lives longer than its owners. LOL
Funny what happened to the fast turtles.

LOL. I really yearned to see the cat and I play a porcupine.
Nice picture.

The amount of eagles is overwhelming.
The Bible prophesies that they would be abundant ...

I had a lot of fun. Stay cool
Thanks Curie for a good selection.

A red-footed tortoise, huh? That's a good looking one! I kind of like the idea of my pet outlasting me; I'm not looking forward to the day when my dog passes away.

I've had two chances to get a photo of that cat so far, but he's just too fast for me. But for some reason he sticks around even though it's a dog neighborhood, so you might see it yet.

hahaha i really had fun reading this buddy! i didnt know some types of turtle can move fast. great post man!

Maybe I could enter him in races and surprise a few hares!

haha you could do that man!

Maybe I could send him after the rabbits who've been living in my back yard. Wouldn't they get a shock!

Haha that would give them quite the scare i bet! Haha

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Thanks!

Yeah, bald eagles are impressive birds, like most eagles. They always look so serious. Well, being a national symbol is a big responsibility, may be thats why.

I wonder what this guy is on the photo (not the turtles). Is it some kind of porkupine, with extra nasty small quills?
The green and yellow turtle is quiet pretty, btw. Almost looks like a graffity artist had a go at it.

I should have identified that little guy! He's a pocket gopher, native to North and Central America. They're great tunnelers, with sharp claws and teeth, and they tend to destroy gardens and lawns--not very popular. In the movie Caddyshack, a much cuter gopher plays a major part.

I've always thought bald eagles look so serious because every time they're spotted someone tries to either shoot them or take their picture--and they just dont' like the attention, either way.


"Fred, stop laughing! There is someone with a camera! Oh crap - too late..."

A gopher, ok. I thought they are somehow... leaner.

Animals at our state parks tend to be, shall we say, more generous in proportions compared to in other areas. Humans keep getting told not to feed them ... but they do anyway. I actually had to fight a raccoon once to get him away from our dog's food, because they've lost their fear of people.

Yes, the problem with people feeding wild animal we have here, too. Especially with wild pigs that can become a danger. And other, like racoons, just steal what they want. As you say, from food bowls of dogs and cats, or from compost piles or bins. Well, if we invade their habitats, we don't need to be surprised about that.
Btw., this gopher, is that a kind of marmot? Because those vary enormously in weight over the year. Some quadruple it during the warm season, and lose equaly much during the winter. So it may be normal for them to look a bit round now.

The gopher is indeed part of the marmot group. I sound really intelligent saying that, but I actually had to look it up. Now we both know!

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ehy dear @markrhunter , ahahaa your photos are fantastic and your stories with animals very funny !! I madly love animals and their funny behavior that is a perfect subject for stories !! I really agree with you that nowadays people do not know how to appreciate simple things like this. teenagers grow up shut up in front of their computers and adults always run in a hurry to see what a thousand bargains. joy for small things is overcome, no time for it.
congratulations on your post

Thanks!

Not that I don't get shut up in front of a computer myself--or lost in the pages of a book--but it really is sad how people don't seem to take the time to enjoy nature anymore. My wife works with horses, and we spend a lot of time in state parks, so we get exposed to animals large and small a lot. Not to mention our dog! I'm still one of those "stop and smell the roses" people, literally.

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Thanks!

You are right, we are looking more at the phone that around us, we miss the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature, what life is, it is a waste that this generation is more aware of social networks and not to look at the sky and thank that we are alive Excellent words, congratulations

Not to mention social media just seems to make us mad, and nature can calm us down!

Nice message

We get to thinking something's not worth seeing unless its had a few million dollars worth of CGI work put into it. We don't even bother looking up from our phones anymore.

I could not agree more. We are raising a generation of kids who will know little to nothing about the real world around them. They will not know what it means to step in a river or mud, to touch a crab or a snake, or as you pointed out, to see a reainbow or smell a flower

My wife actually owns a snake, which is instantly fascinating to my grandkids. All we can do is keep exposing young people to things outside the internet, and hope they pick up an appreciation for both!

I agree with you. In the past I didn't care about what was around me. There truly were times when I wouldn't loop up from my phone. But this has changed a few years back. Now I enjoy being in nature and observing all the little creatures. It's so full of life and it makes me feel peaceful.

I didn't know that turtles could be fast! Honestly, I have never seen a turtle in nature. I think we simply don't have them here. But I heard that they are very slow and that it takes them days to cross the road. Now, I will know that when I see a turtle crossing the road I just need to step behind it and it will run for life :)

Thank you for sharing! It was fun to read your post. Have a lovely day!

Well, my wife and I both stop for turtles, and there seem to be many more slow ones than fast ones--which is why I was so surprised. But there are many of them around here; we counted several dozen on a walk around a lake at Brown County State Park, in southern Indiana.

I'm glad you're back to nature! I like to skywatch, too--clouds and stars. The real thing, and free entertainment.