Friday, April 11, 2008

savannah animals

One reason I love praying mantises and birds and frogs so much is that they eat bugs. I forgot how buggy camping is in the South. I also forgot how much I love camping. Every time I camp I remember again how much I love it. But it was pretty buggy. But there were other animal that were more entertaining than the gnats and mosquitoes.

The squirrels at the campsite initially seemed pretty skiddish for campsite residents. They kept their distance, but now I think perhaps it's just a fun game that they play - to see if they can stay on the opposite side of the tree from the people. Cuz on Tuesday morning, one little guy became awful brazen. Mother opened the peanut butter jar and he was next to us in a jiffy. He looked up at us, one paw in the air like he was begging. He jumped all the way up onto the picnic table. At first I shooed him away, but then I thought it was sort of funny, and wondered if I could get him calm enough to pet. I've always wanted to pet a squirrel. I didn't.

That same morning a bird found its way into the trunk of Scout. Poor thing flew up into the car and was quite startled. He tried to fly out the windshield. Mother and I opened the doors quicky, and he escaped. It reminded me of a time camping with Angie in the southwest when a cute little bird perched on the antenna of Scout. This made me very excited, and we were both trying to grab a camera to take a shot when the dern thing pooped on Scout. I didn't appreciate that.

Later that morning a squirrel almost got into Scout's trunk, but we scared him away. I wouldn't appreciate that.

The night before these incidents we had a more scary encounter. It was the dead of the night when I was awakened by a large banging noise. When I was conscious enough to process what I had heard I was initially frightened at what might be out there. Of course it was pitch black and I hadn't brought my glasses into the tent, so I had no idea how I would discover what was just outside the tent. A scuffing noise continued, and I decided it must be an animal, and I feared it was taking off with the metal windblock that goes around my stove. As the noise continued and my head cleared, I got out my flashlight and shined it in the direction of the commotion. Two green eyes looked up, startled, and the predator made off. Apparently a raccoon. I realized that the loud noise had been the cooler getting knocked off the picnic bench. Obviously I should have put it into the car. But there was really no getting into that sucker. It's locked tight. In the morning we saw the dirty paw prints that tried to pry it open.

On Tuesday we went to the Savannah Wildlife Refuge which is just north of Savannah in South Carolina. A four mile gravel road wound through it, and you can drive along and just spot wildlife. The alligators were plentiful. I was thrilled. We were so glad to have Courtney's binoculars so that we could get a good view of the wildlife. The alligators were just floating in the water a good ways away, and it was only through the binocs that we could be sure they weren't just bumps on a log.

In fact, through the binoculars I saw one alligator that looked like it had a snake hanging out with it. I could see a skinny body, and the head looked kinda triangular. Its body had yellow rings on it. Mother looked and saw one or two more, and thought they might be baby allis. So at home I did a little research. Sure enough, alligator babies have yellow rings on their body! (I guess it's like the bambi-dots phenomenon.) I'm sorry I have no pictures of all these animals, but here's one from online of a baby alligator. The ones we saw weren't very small. They are quite tiny when they hatch out of their eggs though.

I can't remember the names of the birds we saw. Mother will have to add commentary. We saw one really cool bird by our campsite. And lots more at the wildlife refuge.


Courtney said...

so did you bring harvey (is that his name?) here from savannah? or is he indigenous to atlanta?

kate said...

Harper, silly!! no, he's a native atlantan (there are few of them, though, aren't there.)

he'll deserve a post of his own.