Friday, April 17, 2015

4/16 Critters

Occasionally, I encounter critters a little more closely than I had expected.  At my campsite at Sebastian Inlet, I was backed into the dense sandy scrub area.  One of the first things I noticed was a lot of 1" in diameter holes in the ground and something that kept disappearing as soon as I got nearby.  At first, I thought it was large spiders, but I tried my trick of watching out of a window.  I have found that wildlife does not notice you when you have a piece of glass between you, so you can get a much better view.  Unfortunately, I need to do some window cleaning because the pictures I got of these little critters was not the best quality.

It turns out that these are sand fiddler crabs.  Mostly what I was seeing were males with their single big claws.  The females have two claws that are the same size, while the males have one big and one small claw.  These guys were sitting at the entrances to their burrows, waving their claws.  Occasionally they would come out and walk a few inches, but I am guessing they did most of their adventuring at night.

Here are a couple of images from the internet that shows them better. I was not expecting crabs since I was at least 500' from water.

This morning, I had another adventure.  I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to strange scratchings and thumpings.  I knew it wasn't birds on the roof, as often happens early in the morning.  And whatever it was had to be a lot bigger than a mouse, based on the noise. 

The more I thought about it, the more I suspected a raccoon.  A friend of mine once had what sounded like a "troupe of dwarves wearing combat boots" on her roof. Her words, not mine. 

So, I reluctantly got dressed, grabbed a flashlight and my handicap grabber, and headed out into the dusk.  I went to the back storage area, opened it up, used the flashlight to get a better look inside, and found a furry face wearing goggles staring back at me!  I yelled "Git out of there!" and he or she flew past me and into the scrub.  (I probably woke the neighbors, as well.) 

So this is the mess the critter had made.  I had left two partial rolls of paper towel, one of which was completely shredded and the pieces all over the place, mostly in the bin shown here.  In addition, part of a cardboard box had also been chewed.  Luckily, I don't think there are any electrical cords or anything else chewable in there.  It is hard to tell from this photo, but this storage area has a pass-through which is about 7" high and goes all the way to the other side and a matching deep storage area there. Perfect raccoon housing, other than the fact that if he or she had set up housekeeping there, he or she might have stuck his head out the door at 60 MPH on the freeway!

This is the mess before I cleaned it up.

This is the After photo.  Later that morning, I had to take everything out, pick out the shredded paper and cardboard, and then clean and put everything back again!  I ended up with a grocery bag full of trash. 

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