Critters of Oakdale

Almost good enough to be a title of a new young adult novel series…but seriously…

We’ve been getting some visitors lately.  First there were these guys…

Behind our garage, there is a little piece of concrete and I went back there to explore one day when Cleo refused to come when I called…I’m glad she didn’t try to eat them!

I’m thinking males fighting over prime territory!

Surprisingly vicious, writhing, twisting and biting each other.

Then, just last week, Woody had just arrived home from Indonesia (story for another time), and Cleo was on the back porch.  We keep the gate closed with a bungy cord as the metal is bent and the latch doesn’t work anymore – anyway, Cleo managed to jump the gate or push through it somehow and fling the bungy to run after something.  Woody heard her barking – which she never does…ran outside with a flashlight to find her behind the garage in full pointing mode staring into the darkness at this creepy critter…

Don’t immediately recognize it…it’s a possum, and a large one at that!  Woody would like me to point out the drool drips underneath the possum’s chin.  Once again, very pleased that Cleo didn’t consider this an evening snack and was most likely upset that she did such a good job pointing, and yet Woody didn’t do any shooting!  (isn’t that how this whole thing works…?)

Just yesterday morning, I walked out the back door into a spider web…I hate this feeling.  Knowing that you have strands of web around you, and you can’t seem them, and who knows where exactly the spider who these strands belongs to is located at that very moment.  Upon coming home from work, as I unlocked the door, I glanced at the light fixture and realized that right inside it was a young black widow spider.  Here we go again.

This is our back door.

This is the light next to our back door…and that little spot in the upper left panel is an unwelcome house guest!

My breadth of experience with Black Widows is broadening by the month…and I now know enough to identify this as a fairly young female black widow.  The bodies of black widows darken as they mature, which is why her legs appear almost striped and her abdomen is not jet black yet.  I sprayed a completely natural insecticide that works using concentrated essential oils from cinnamon, rosemary and clove.  Once I sprayed it (can indicates that it is very effective on ants, roaches, silverfish, etc.), the entire patio smelled like bad potpourri on steroids.  In fact, it was so strong, my eyes were burning and nostrils were stinging.  I think this stuff could work as a substitute for bear spray!

It wasn’t Oakdale…but our neighbors only a few blocks away had a bit of a family problem…

A racoon family problem!  Mom is up there with at least 3 offspring.  They look pretty cute…but their scratching, pitter-patter in the attic and across the roof was not.

I do like that little striped tail though!

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