Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weird Week of Animals

During the past week, I caught a wolf spider inside my washing machine, found a cute little ring-necked snake under a rock by the back door, and had to fish out a big snapping turtle from my goldfish pond. See my photos.

It started on Monday when I absent-mindedly stuck my hand in the washing machine to grab the wet clothes and instead nearly grabbed a huge, hairy spider guarding the clean socks. I'd left the top to the machine open and he must have wandered in. After letting out a horrendous, involuntary shreak, I grabbed a jar and captured him. According to several sites on the web, wolf spiders make good pets (the Ansonia Nature Center has one). They can live for three years, and do not make webs. You just throw bugs in the container for them to eat.

As I was looking under rocks to find some insect meals for the spider, I found a small ring-necked snake all curled up. I don't remember ever seeing one of these snakes, which are shyer than garter snakes and therefore more difficult to see, but eat the same things: small salamanders and the like.

Finally, as I went out to feed my goldfish I was stunned to find a big snapping turtle hanging out in my pond lily. How dare he! Well, those goldfish are probably pretty easy to pick off. This is a 1200 gallon pond with murky water and plenty of potted plants and rocks and it was hard to get him out. I had to take all the plant out and start pumping out the water. After I stood over the pond holding a net for a very long time, the turtle finally floated very slowly near the surface and I quickly nabbed him with a net. He proceded to eat the net and hiss at me. Cute face, though. I took him on a little trip and let him go at Silent Waters, where a few years ago the pond level was raised substantially and the fish are probably flourishing.

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