Predators, Prey and the Occasional Electrification

Carrying on from the last post where I mentioned a number of our apex predators, here’s a collection of some of our more interesting encounters with the animals who live here.

First off say hi to Frank the gopher snake. This may be the very same snake that once lived under the house.

Then we have many (and I mean many) Western Fence Lizards as well as a few other species.

Sometimes the lizards want to borrow our services, as in the above video

Not all our reptile friends are safe to hang around though. Below is Franky…a wee baby Western Rattlesnake and his bigger brother Frank, who one night really wanted to come into the garage to hunt.

These two are not to be confused with the big rattler that lives down in the south pasture and likes to chase Dumpy

Normally our snakes hunt for Pocket Gophers, small Ground Squirrels and the occasional rat, but we have a few electrified traps that often pick off rats for us. When that happens we empty out the trap onto the rock pile out past the RV pad as the vultures know to check the pile regularly for tasty offerings.

We’ve managed to make good friends with the vultures in this area, as not only do we leave freshly killed rodents for them, but if a bit of chicken or fish in the fridge goes off we put it out on a fence post and the vultures promptly arrive to accept our offerings.

In addition to the reptiles and rats, we also have a small assortment of amphibians like California Toads and Tiger Salamanders that are occasionally encountered. The toads are a hazard as they like to creep along the side of the house and we have to be wary to avoid squishing them. No fatalities to date though.

And then there are our spiders….stop reading now if you are unfriendly towards our eight-legged pest controllers….

From standard web spinners and widows to jumping and grass spiders plus even some wee ghostlike ones….we have become a very spider-friendly household. Only the Black Widows sometimes meet early ends, as we do our best allow those arachnids that setup shop in opportune spots to carry on their work while putting the outdoor varieties that wander inside back outside they belong.

Then of course there are the tarantulas. We only see them for a month of so in the fall when the males stop eating, leave their burrows and head out in search of love. They are lovely creatures if a bit ungainly at times.

And one last video: this one is of a rather spectacular web in the grass over out behind the sports court.

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