Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Bug Jail

April 24, 2008

I was playing tennis at Harmon Field the other day and went to pick up a ball by the back fence. Bent down and HALLO! A snake on the other side by the garbage bin slithered away under it. A goodly size he was (about 2 feet I’d say), but no Copperhead this - just a cute Garter Snake. Two days later when I was back playing again I went to examine the area, but couldn’t find him. Then an hour later there he was, all coiled up sunning himself watching the game. (First photo is on the way to the courts, taken last year...couldn't just leave you with a picture of a garbage can after all...sorry there's no snap of the snake but he was shy.)

Last summer I reached down to turn on the outdoor water spigot at the house. Had my hand on it when I saw the Copperhead lying coiled directly under my hand. I mean he was 4“ away. I very gently moved away and said a very large “Thank You Jesus!” Why that snake didn’t strike I don’t know.

Also last summer I saw my first Black Widow. I’m one who is constantly enthralled by creatures and can spend hours studying them. This lady happened to be right on our front porch by the front door. I noticed her because there was a splash of red on her back, and that made me curious enough to get the Bug Jail.

The Bug Jail, I should explain, is perhaps my favorite gift from my husband. (See photo.) We’ve caught many a creature - large and small - in it. From a wee Walt Disney field mouse that was attempting to leap up the stairs in our house in Millerton, to bats. Yes, you heard me correctly. Bats eventually get exhausted from flying round and round if they get caught inside the house, and they will finally land somewhere. Usually on the top molding near the ceiling. All you do is place the open Bug Jail over them and Voila! My favorite creature that I’ve caught with it is a Luna Moth. Of course all creatures I eventually free.

But back to the merry Widow. She was quite large. I had no idea what she was never having seen one before. And I couldn’t see her belly, just her back. Looked up what she might be on the internet and all descriptions seemed to indicate she was an Australian Redback. That didn’t make any sense. So I called a zoo and left a message for an entomologist.

Meanwhile I kept her in the bug jail. Eventually she created a web and hung up-side-down and I noticed the red hourglass on her abdomen. Yup. Had to be a Black Widow. Quite a specimen she was. After I saw her tummy I decided to let her go. So husband and I drove off with her and HE let her go into the woods far away. (I was too chicken to open the cage top.)


Dan said...

Oh my! I got the chills reading this! I am NOT as fascinated by creatures as you are -- I can appreciate a pretty picture on the internet, or maybe look at one in a bug jail (how cool is that thing, by the way?!?), but as for coming across creatures in the great outdoors -- NO WAY! Ugh. When I was in high school, I had a job mowing lawns and I mowed at these condos on a lake. There were TONS of garter snakes in the lawn and every once in awhile, without meaning to (I swear!) I would accidentally run one over with the lawnmower (ugh!) You can't imagine how traumatizing that was! LOL. And then, a year or so ago, a mole came under the door in my basement. I was talking on the phone to my mom and I saw this creature dart across the floor. Lordy, I screamed like a schoolgirl and jumped up on the couch down there for the rest of my phone conversation. I opened the basement door and I never did see that thing again, so I assume it got out. But a black widow and a copperhead??!?!??! My gosh! Those two things would surely send me into cardiac arrest! Glad you escaped unharmed. I don't blame you for letting hubby set the black widow free. LOL.

Giulia said...

I'm sure you'll like my new friend better. Much more more benign than the aforementioned killers.

You whimp! (smile)

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Oh, I need a bug jail Guilia!

Check out my story on my blog about my introduction to a copperhead. It's called The Do-Nothing Technique from May 6, 2007.

What a coincidence--last night Kurt showed me a black widow. Wild to see that red hour glass.