Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cute, Creepy, and Beautiful Creatures

                Remember God made all things great and small.  I think the majority of them live in Missouri!  We find new creatures on a daily basis here.  Most of them I don’t know the name for but that’s where Super D comes in not only is he is a walking field guide he fears nothing. This is homeschooling at its best in my opinion. Sugarbug has started a nature journal and can hardly keep up with it. 

There are turtles everywhere.  We have box turtles which are the classic turtle that really can close all the way up in his shell.  Sugarbug kept one she called Earnest and colored his shell until he escaped.  There are red-eared sliders which have red where their ears would go and are a water turtle.  Water turtles that are super cute especially the small ones.  There are also snapping turtles and alligator snappers but we have yet to see either of them up close.   We also haven’t seen any soft shelled turtles that live in the waters around here. 


Now, we also have snakes.  So far we have caught, well Super D has caught, 2 black rat snakes, 2 ring neck snakes, 2 water snakes.  None of these are venomous snakes.  Do you know the difference between venomous and poisonous?  It is poisonous if you have to eat it or touch it to get hurt and venomous if it has to bite you to get hurt.  The black rat snakes are some of the largest snakes in Missouri and can grow very big.  The biggest one Super D caught was 6 feet long and the smaller one was about 4 feet long.  They are not usually very aggressive snakes.   The ring neck snakes are small.  Honestly I’ve seen night crawlers that were bigger.  They are very soft and neat to hold.  At the largest they grow only 12 inches.   We still haven’t looked up what exactly what kind of water snakes Super D caught.  They were both pretty small and non-venomous.  Sugarbug and I are learning to have an eye out for nature around here.  Snakes are pretty common but they usually run from people.  There are several venomous snakes that live in Missouri but we haven’t seen any in nature yet.  We did go to a fair that one of the booths had snakes so we got to see a cotton mouth and rattlers up close so we know what to look for. 

Ring Neck snake

Black Rat Snake

Water Snake

                So far we’ve caught 2 different kinds of lizards.  One is a fence lizard that I named Frank.  The other is either a 5 lined skink or blue tailed skink.  We aren’t sure as they both look really similar.  My family can’t seem to go without its share of creeping pets so the lizards are in a tub that Super D set up for them.  Most of the reptiles we get go in the tub to watch for a while until we let them go or they escape.  (Don’t worry the tub is outside)  
Frank the Fence Lizard


                Sugarbug is a little disappointed that the tub we have won’t contain the frogs she catches.  They are just too good at jumping right out.  Plus those tree frogs can really hang on to just about anything with their little feet.   Sugarbug has gotten pretty good at catching the frogs, but she was a good toad catcher in Colorado too.  There are several species of frogs and we haven’t taken the time to look them up much yet either.  We’ve caught both tree frogs and ones at the river.  We also found a little pool of tadpoles that was drying up and we caught several and put them in the river to save them.

                Sugarbug loves that our neighbor has a horse and pony and there is no fence keeping them from our land.  She often wakes up to see one of them right outside her window.  Super D is less than thrilled at the gifts they sometimes leave close to the house or that the curious horse was knocking his tools around one night.   They have gotten used to us in their pasture and pay us very little mind.  Also in the field behind us is a pack of mules.  They are huge!  I cannot believe how tall they are.   They have learned there is a little girl that will feed them grass and pet them at the fence.  Now if they see anyone at the fence they all come over to get attention.  Sugarbug even cuts grass and puts it in her basket to feed them.   She’s also been known to share an apple with them.  It’s a little girls dream.  Too bad she can’t ride them.  She’s hoping her Aunt J will take her riding on her horses soon. 

                Never in all my life have I seen so many different bugs.  I have seen so many beautiful butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and interesting caterpillars. Yes I said moths, there are moths that are white, some stripped orange, and some green.  There are colorful beetles and ones that are huge.  Some flying bugs I’ve never seen and look like something out of a sci-fi movie.  Spiders of all kinds, those really are quite fascinating at a distance!  Have fun looking up what these are if you want most of them I have no idea. (I don’t have any pictures of some of these.  Some bugs are hard to get on camera) 

This Beetle was large enough to hold.

                This is just a sample of Missouri wildlife.  I’m sure I’ll have many more pictures to share as time goes and we come across even more.  Some creatures we’ve seen we just didn’t have the camera ready take pictures.  I also haven’t been good at remembering the camera on all our outings but I’m getting better!

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