Monday, June 28, 2010

The Orange-Painted Box Turtle.

The other evening the Girl came across this Ornate Box Turtle crossing the road in our neighborhood.

This specimen was not ornate enough apparently, as someone felt that it needed a coat of orange paint. I could see that a Three-toed Turtle could use some sprucing up, but this guy? Shame! I suspect an OSU fan.

That would explain a lot.

It seemed pretty used to being handled. It chose to snap at us when our hands got in range rather than pull into its shell.

I wanted to help, so I chased it around with a belt-sander for a while. When it got beyond the extension cord I just let it go.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Oklahoma Attic-dwelling Toad.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were having coffee on what we begrudgingly call our back porch, when we heard the telltale flopping sound that we have come to recognize as one of our denizen toads. Our porch is a haven for perhaps half a dozen of these dour and by all appearances perpetually bored creatures. In the cooler evening hours they emerge within a few minutes of each other and go about their toady business.

That we heard one moving about in the the morning was odd enough, but it was the persistence of the flopping finally drove me to investigate. (Sometimes when they manage to corner themselves, they decide that a dogged application of a frontal assault on the obstruction will win out over just turning around.)

After a few minutes of poking around amongst garden tools, toys, and other detritus, I came up empty. Unlikely as it seemed, the sound was coming from overhead. I spied some movement in one our homes many screened soffit vents. Fetching a ladder and a prybar, I investigated.

Sitting on the screen was a toad that was easily as large as my clenched fist. It glared at my balefully, then made a majestic leap towards the nearby porch roof. Preferring death over suffering the indignities of my touch, the leap was far short. It plummeted 8 feet to the concrete patio below where it landed with a pronounced "plok." Surprisingly, it suffered no ill effects from the fall and it soon ambled about seeking further shelter. ( I run into him most evenings now. He has a favorite perch on a piece of scrap wood that offers it a commanding view of the backyard.)

I have no idea how it came to be in our attic, or why it would motivated to do so. A survey of our homes exterior yielded no obvious path of entry. Even considering that our house is faced with brick, it would still be a pretty long trek for an animal not really known for it's climbing prowess.

The mystery deepens: The next day when I went to repair the soffit vent there was a different slightly smaller toad perched on the flap of screen. Was it waiting to be removed, or to be closed up?
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