Friday, May 6, 2011

Critters Galore and Owl

I have to watch where I put my feet down these days. There must be hundreds of lizards in the garden rushing hither and thither, and they come in all different shapes, colors and sizes. Here is a sampling of what I took pictures of.

My favorite is the green Anole on the left and right. Only this lizard is native to the USA.

Also known as the American chameleon, it will change its color to reflect its surroundings. Here you can see it is trying to blend in with the garden ornament! These little guys eat grubs, cockroaches (yay!), spiders and crickets.

There are 36 species of non-native lizards/anoles in Florida. The lizard on the left has an interesting mark on its back. The lizard below was almost completely black - no Photoshop enhancement to color.

Because I wear the standard Florida casual footwear (flip flops), and my toe nails are painted, the lizards sometimes think my toes are the dewlaps of an mysterious intruder and will rush over to my feet, bobbing their heads and dewlapping like mad! I tease them by wriggling my toes. Since they can bite this is a rather risky business.


An interesting diamond shaped marking.

The lizard to the left is spotted. The photo to the right appears to show the lizard changing its head color to match the paint splotch, but I don't think these lizards can change color the same way as the green anole can.

The next photo shows a lizard that is successfully blending in with the stick it is sitting on.
Dino-lizzie! Note ridge on back.

Lizard to the right let me get up really close - I think it was as curious of me as I was of him.
Lubber grasshopper
Black racer

Another good reason not to wear flip-flops in the garden!
 I knew something was up when the lizards en-masse rushed out of the tall ornamental grasses. The snake is a black racer. As the name suggests they are fast moving snakes. Black racers are non venomous, but if cornered will stand their ground and strike to bite hard. This snake was pretty mad at me and rattled his tail a few times to warn me off. They eat, guess? Yep! Lizards and also birds, other snakes and insects. I wish they would hurry up and polish off the lubbers. Black racers are preyed upon by the raptors, and I have seen a hawk flying away with one danging from its talons.

One of many squirrels we feed. You can see he/she is in pretty good shape and very healthy - glossy fur and bushy tailed. I have to fill the feeders up twice a day.

I could hear this high pitched, rapid peeping and there hidden in the foliage of the croton was a young cardinal (center of photo). Daddy cardinal was close by and gathering up black sunflower seeds to feed to baby.

The screech owl returned to the box last week and hung around for a few days but then moved on. We have had baby owls in this box before now, but it doesn't seem as though we will this year. A pileated woodpecker peeked in the box while the owl was resting and I think it got scared off.
 I love this photo of the bee on Milkweed, so I thought I would give it a second post.


  1. I hate snakes. I'm glad I don't get them in my garden. Lizards I can cope with, but not things without legs!

  2. Beautiful photos. I love the shot of the owl! I think having baby owls would be the neatest thing. Great post all together. Thanks for sharing with & informing us!

  3. Dawn, I couldn't find a place to message you but I wanted to let you that I added you to our FL blog roll. I'm crazy about gardenig with photos so I can easily love your blog. Thanks.

  4. It's wonderful to have so many of God's creatures all around your garden. Great photo of the owl. I'd love to have one of those boxes in my garden. Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend.

  5. Mark: I am used to the black racers but i would run in the other direction at the sight of a coral snake!

    Bee: Thank you Bee! I am glad you enjoyed photos. The experience of the two little baby owls squeezing their heads out of the box to peek at us still makes me smile.

    Susan: Yes, I feel very fortunate to have so much wildlife residing here. The weather certainly heated up recently! Whew! could do with some more rain though.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog and leave a message. Happy Gardening!

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