Sunday, June 10, 2007

Creature Feature

I'm going to play blog catch-up again today.

Good fashion sense in the wild
This toad is one of many animals newly discovered in the Amazon.

The toad reminds me of a fantastic worm I read about once in the book The earth moved: on the remarkable achievements of earthworms by Amy Stewart. An earthworm specialist named Sam James found an iridescent blue one in the Philippines.

"One is deep indigo blue," he said. "Eighteen inches long and about a thumb's width in diameter. It's got big white spots with yellow centers, like fried eggs, all over its back, if you can imagine that. And get this -- it crawls on the forest floor, doesn't burrow in the ground, and its infants live in trees until they're mature. Amazing." (pg. 38)
Unfortunately, Amy doesn't mention the name of the worm in the book, and I'll be danged if I can find a picture of it. I'd love to see one. But you know (and this is surely a thought unique to me), considering this beautiful toad and the shimmery worm reminds me of a turquoise, purple, and black sequined Mexican skirt I have. My toad and worm skirt.

Well. Moving on.

Little princes?
Michael thinks he may have seen some young Bewick's wrens in our yard! He heard one of the parents' buzzing mini-squawk and saw these two on the fence. It's pretty damn hard to tell from the picture exactly who they are, but I think they just might have a stripe on the eyes. I like to think they are the little wrens that grew up in the bird house mounted on the fence a few feet away. The parents may have come back to scout out the house for a second brood, but there's a good chance they won't like it. I had to prune away all the vines surrounding the home because my red trumpet vine never came back to life this spring. I had to plant a new one.

A sad Seattle bird note: there is an outbreak of salmonella killing wild birds in Western Washington. I cleaned and bleached my feeders today, but I suppose I should stop putting them out at all for awhile. I hate not to attract and feed birds, but I'd hate to cause any to get sick. I suppose they have plenty of food this time of year.

Ferreting out the fleas
Tuesday night when Michael came home from Kung Fu, I heard the rustle of grocery bags, and he yelled, "Can you come help me!" I figured he needed help getting something inside. I go to the door, and Wow! He's got a ferret! The ferret was a beautiful, friendly, perfumed/musky little guy. While driving home, Michael had seen him wandering around about 5 blocks from our house. He hopped out, and with lighting fast Kung Fu reflexes, snapped him up. Michael couldn't locate the owner, but a neighborhood woman nearby who had been trying to catch the ferret took Michael's number in case she saw someone out looking.

We let the guy crawl all over us, I brought him up for Bijou to smell (her eyes dialated into black holes), but then we stashed him in a cat carrier until we could get him some food and water. Michael used to have ferrets, and he said they can worm their way into anything and then you can't get them out. Well, it's a good thing we didn't let him roam around. Once he was safe in his cage and didn't have new sights and sounds distracting him, he started flailing around and itching and biting himself like mad. "Uh, Michael? I think he's got fleas." We decided to give him a bath. We don't actually have flea bath, so we used Bunny Bath.

Oh. God. I have never ever ever seen so many fleas on an individual creature. Once we dunked him in the water they all started fleeing (fleaing? hyuk hyuk) up his body and onto his face. His little eyes and ears and mouth were just swarming with them. It was so nasty. We kept washing and rinsing and combing and picking, and about 30 minutes later we had sent about 150 fleas to Davey Jones' Locker. His poor little body was covered with tiny pink flea bites. Even after the bath he was still itching like mad, but if you've ever had a flea bite you know they itch like crazy for days.

Just after we finished all the hard work, the owner called and we returned the ferret to her. It turns out he'd only been missing for an hour or so tops, so he didn't get those fleas outside, he got them from home. We mentioned how many fleas he had, and she said she'd "cleaned" him the day before, whatever that means. I wanted to keep the guy just to save him from going back to a house infesed with fleas. Poor li'l dude.

So ends today's creature feature.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

OMG! You totally forgot to tell me about your ferret adventure! ANd ewwww on the fleas. Fleas totally gross me out. Talk about heeby jeebies. Poor little guy having to go back to the flea house :(