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What interesting creatures live in your garden?

Discussion in 'Everything Else Garden' started by sumi, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. Jun 23, 2014
    sumi

    sumi Garden Addicted Administrator

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    I've found some really weird and simply wonderful creatures in our garden, ranging from oversize snails and earthworms, to cute little frogs, pretty spiders and amazing moths.

    What have you all got living in your gardens?


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  2. Jun 23, 2014
    canesisters

    canesisters Garden Master

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    ... moles.. I have moles.......
     
  3. Jun 23, 2014
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    Whoa. I bet a snail of that size has quite an appetite!

    You mean other than the rabbit, @sumi ? He's a Mountain Cottontail and a regional icon ...

    Spiders. I especially like having the harmless-to-me Harvestman Spider (Opiliones) working alongside me.

    Then, there is the Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia). My gardens must attract the Song Sparrows more than any other birds.

    Steve
     
  4. Jun 23, 2014
    journey11

    journey11 Garden Master

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    I would not want to find that snail in my garden! :ep
    The little white frog is so cool though!

    We raised a batch of tadpoles that we found out on a hike this spring and turned them loose in the backyard. Most turned out to be little Fowler's toads. One that is black might be a bullfrog, I think. I have been finding several of them almost every day in their usual spots by the water spigot, in the mulch of the pepper patch, etc. They are so cute, only as big as the last joint of my pinkie.

    I also have a larger toad that I found at the recycle center and "rescued". I am collecting toads, LOL. I am hoping they will do a number on the slug population around here. So far I haven't noticed any slug damage or their slimey little trails. The cats harass the toads a lot, stalking them and lightly batting at them, but they can't eat them. The toads also appreciate all the mulching I've been doing this year.

    I have only one solitary barn swallow this year. There have been some years that there were dozens flying over my garden morning and evening. I wonder if the neighbor knocks down their nests in his barn? I think they are the sweetest little things.

    I never realized what a vole was until I planted above ground potatoes one year. They chewed a hole in nearly every potato. :\ As DD and I scratched back the straw to harvest the potatoes, dozens of little voles shot out like Roman candles. We caught one and looked at it for awhile. They are really quite cute otherwise... Other than the potatoes, I haven't found them damaging anything else. We have horribly dense red clay. I don't think they can tunnel through it very easily.

    The coolest moth we have found so far was a Anthera polyphemus. They are huge and beautiful.
    [​IMG]

    I have honey bees too, so lots of bees on everything. Lots of mason bees around here too. And hornets. I hate hornets, although I know they are beneficial predators.
     
  5. Jun 23, 2014
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    A groundhog right now but I'm trying to change that. It's not interesting for the things you are talking about. Those things are hard. I don't know that I can do much about the voles. I just live with them.

    I recently saw a small frog, a dark green that is almost black but with some almost fluorescent green streaks or spots at a water spigot. It stays fairly wet there.

    Every year a swallowtail butterfly lays eggs on my dill. The closest I can come to what the caterpillar looks like is the anise butterfly caterpillar but we are outside its range. It should be further west. I don't bother that one. By the time that caterpillar shows up I'm just harvesting the dill flower heads for pickles so I figure it doesn't do enough harm to be a pest. And I like swallowtail butterflies.

    I have a bluebird house at each off the four corners of our property. All get used each year. Mockingbirds are bringing their first hatch off nests right now. I've got nests in a plum tree, in the grapes, and in two of the corner posts of my garden. I raised my fence with 2x4's to stop deer and the corner posts form a nice box for the birds. This is from a few years ago.

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  6. Jun 23, 2014
    journey11

    journey11 Garden Master

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    I get swallowtail caterpillars on my anise (and dill and fennel) too, but turns out they are just Eastern Black Swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes). I am out of their range too. DD7 likes to catch some for her butterfly house and feeds them until they pupate. It's awesome to watch them emerge, then she can handle them a little before they need to take off and find nectar.

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    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  7. Jun 23, 2014
    sumi

    sumi Garden Addicted Administrator

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    That moth is beautiful! We found this one in our kitchen a few months ago (I'm afraid I have no idea what's called) Please excuse that dirty window pane!

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    The wooden window frame it was sitting on is about 1 inch wide, to give you an idea of the size. It's a magnificent creature!
     
  8. Jun 23, 2014
    sumi

    sumi Garden Addicted Administrator

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    That is the cutest pic! It's wonderful that she can have that experience with the butterflies. My DS tried to keep some caterpillars as pets once, but they were not happy and I ended up releasing the poor things again.
     
  9. Jun 23, 2014
    catjac1975

    catjac1975 Garden Master

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    My chickens would love that snail.
     
  10. Jun 23, 2014
    Lavender2

    Lavender2 Garden Addicted

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    @sumi , that is one BIG snail, I would imagine it leaves more than just a little hole in a leaf! Interesting colorful spider, also.

    I think your moth is a Epiphora mythimnia - African silk moth. The giant silk moths are just amazing to see!

    This Cecropia moth spent it's last days sitting on my back door screen a few years ago. The wingspan was 6"! The next year there was another one. It was around the middle of June, so I've been watching...

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    Interesting thing last night, I was watching a young chipmunk on the deck and it grabbed a moth and ate it! I had no idea they ate bugs ... apparently the wings don't taste good though...

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