Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Terror at the New House

What's your fear? Is it Ophidiophobia? If so, don't look at the next picture, because this was what Morgan found in the new backyard while picking up....

Not the actual snake in my backyard - but it looked JUST like this and was about 5 feet long

It is a Southern Black Racer. The scientific name is Coluber constrictor priapus. According to the information I found, racers are opportunistic predators whose diet is as varied as their choice of habitat. It feeds on frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, and birds and their eggs. Despite its scientific name, Coluber constrictor, the racer is not a true constrictor and overpowers its prey by simply grabbing it in its jaws and pressing it against the ground until it stops struggling. They are non-venomous, but will bite and will make you bleed. The website mentioned that they don't do well as pets. Well, that's a relief.

OR....are you an Arachnophobe? Then this will give you nightmares.

Actual nest of opiliones found on the side of my house.

Okay, these aren't REALLY spiders. But they are arachnids. This is a massive nest of harvestmen. According to Wikipedia, harvestmen (also known as Daddy Longlegs in the U.S. and Canada) are eight-legged invertebrate animals belonging to the order Opiliones (formerly Phalangida) in the class Arachnida, in the subphylum Chelicerata of the phylum Arthopoda. Weren't you just dying to know all that? Just to make you feel MUCH better, I took a broom and swept this nest of males off my exterior wall of the new house. They immediately started coming back to the wall and climbing it again. Oh. Boy. At least they don't make webs.

Incidentally, there is an urban legend going around that these are the most poisonous spiders, but their fangs are so small they cannot bite a human. Our waitress in IHOP told us this just a few weeks ago, oddly enough. She said "they can kill a horse." My husband - the NURSE, owner of three HORSES - said, "Horse skin is thicker than human skin. If they can't bite through human skin, what makes anyone think they could bite through a horses skin." He shouldn't have said a thing - we didn't get our drinks until after our food was delivered. She was probably afraid to show her face. :::snort:::

Okay, while I really DISLIKE snakes, I knew the Black Racer was not a "bad" snake, so I didn't want him/her killed. Now, he comes onto my back patio, then it's every snake for himself and I'm going to be the one wielding a hoe. Backyard is one thing. Back patio is close to back door is close to in my house. Snakes are not welcome in my house. Sorry, snake lovers.

And I'm not really afraid of spiders. Okay, really big, hairy spiders. But Daddy Longlegs aren't bad. I'm hoping they'll eat mosquitoes for me and I do like how they tickle when the walk up my arm. But I do have a phobia.

I was working in the house alone and one of this little guy's relatives flew in through a doorknob hole that is waiting for us to agree on a doorknob. I FREAKED.

Yes, I am an Ornithophobic. Big time.

Thanks, Mom, for suggesting we watch a movie together late one night when I was 12. I 'preciate it.

I had all three doors and three of the six windows in the living room open in no time flat. Thankfully, the little guy flew out after about two minutes of panicky, shrill encouragements (he probably needed to rest his ears). Our doorknob holes are now filled with toweling.

No, I do not have a picture of the bird that flew in my house. No, I was not able to find a picture online of the exact species of bird - I actually didn't LOOK that closely at the bird. I was too busy flipping out.

Yup. I'm a wienie. So what's your fear? Leave me a comment. Surely I'm not the only wienie around.


Debbie said...

Ginger, wonderful post. I had never heard of anyone afraid of birds until my uncle came to our house and we had the Parakeet loose. He freaked out and wouldn't come in until we put him in the cage.

Anyway, my major nature phobia is spiders. I do not like them much at all, especially if they are in the house. I enjoy watching them outside, but if they are in the house, they are going to get squashed. I have gotten better about actually doing the above squashing. Brian is away too often for me to wait for him to do the squashing.

Cynthia said...

LOL! You're TOO funny! I love the info.... You'll be sure and get rid of all those things before I come visiting, right?

Ginger said...

Debbie, I'd freak at the loose parakeet, too. My Dad has a cockatiel and that bird scares me to death. My kids have begged for a bird and that is one pet (in addition to all amphibians and reptiles) that will not be added to our collection!

I like watching frogs, toads, and lizards, but I don't want them inside the house. And I keep a respectful distance outside. As long as they don't JUMP on me!

Cynthia, I will try my BEST to rid my house of all these critters before your visit. Especially the birds. :^)

Teeny said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA - okay...was just remembering the visual of you ON THE COUNTER over the poor little tree frog that got misguided and wandered into your house. I can't believe you held it together long enough to photograph anything!

Dorothy said...

Ginger, I am SOOOOOOOO glad I don't live in Louisiana!!!!!

Snakes and spiders are my worst fear. Oh and sharks. But only when I'm swimming. Though I did have a nightmare once about a shark that chased me onto dry land and up a motorway/highway? I was driving and it was persistent.