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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Mice and other creatures between the walls and in the yard...(lizards in the house)

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 17, 2009 10:50PM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments As I sit here with my laptop I can ocassionally hear mice running through the walls. I live in an old house, right next to a field, so mice are an inevitability. I don't see them much, but I hear them. And I can't see any reason to try to evict the mice from my house. In fact, I've grown used to the rustling every now and then. It's part of living out here, I guess.

I wouldn't want anything bigger than mice, though...and luckily we've never had squirrels or the like in the attic...not that I know of, anyway...

We also have bats that live under out cedar, way up, for part of the summer...that freaked me out at first but doesn't bother me now...you almost forget they're there...and the kids know not to touch one if a bat ever gets hurt, etc...

On Friday morning I was headed to basketball at 5AM in the frigid temps...I drove through our small, deserted downtown...and five deer crossed about a block in front of me...it was cool and magical...

What about you? What wildlife lives around you or, well, with you in your immediate area? How do you coexist? What are the pros and cons?

message 2: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments Wow--that would be cool! The deer, I mean, not the mice. I see foxes once in a great while around here, and possums and racoons.
I had a squirell in my attic, which is actually no attic, not even a crawl space, the house has an almost flat roof. It was a huge ordeal, listening to him running around above my head at night, wondering what he was gnawing on, how I would get him out. I had just moved in and when we pulled down the new, very cheap soffiting, there were big holes!! RRRRRRRR!!!! We put poison up there, which I hated to do, and patched the holes and sealed the squirell up in the attic! It was horrible, because I didn't know if was or wasn't in there and it turned out he was, and when I figured that out, I un=patched the hole, but he didn't come out, he came in--inside my house!!! He knocked stuff of the walls and totally freaked me out!! He was dying by that point, from the poison, and I called my dad to come get him for me and I was standing on the bench in the kitchen in my slip, panicking--I was screaming into the phone to my mom everytime he moved. I freaked out!! It was terrible!! So now the house is sealed up, and the place he came is sealed up...but when I hear them scampering across the roof, I get scared they will get back in!
In another house we lived in we had a pair of red rat snakes that lived on our patio, and in the laundry room that was off the patio--that was cool! I'm cool with anything non-venemous outside. But I can't live with creatures in my house, with the exception of the little lizards that run around everywhere around here. They get in the house and it's no big deal. I really have a thing about no creatures in here!
I think it's cool that you are co-existing with the mice. I admire that!

message 3: by Matt (new)

Matt | 819 comments Around the house we mainly have squirrels, bunnies, and birds. The squirrels haven't caused any problems yet, but the birds are a pain. They like to hang out in the tall trees beside our driveway and if I don't pull my car into the garage during their happy hour it looks like my car has been in a literal shit storm. The previous owner put one of those fake owls in the tree but I think the birds just mock it. I also tried beating on a pan with a spoon one day to scare them off, but they were back five minutes later and the neighbors probably thought that I was on drugs. Last Spring one really ingenious bird family figured out that they could flip up the flap for the stove vent and were living in it. One of them got stuck one night and freaked out to the point of knocking the filter out and getting into the house. That was real entertaining, as i'm sure I looked like that kid doing the Star Wars lightsaber routine from a few years back trying to shoo the bird outside with a broom. Haven't figured out a way to fix that problem yet, as the outside flap is in a very precarious position on the side of the house.

There is a lot of interesting animal life in this area. Armadillos have evidentally made it this far North. The possums should be glad that there is now somebody around who is dumber than they are, as I now see much more armadillo road kill than possum.

Deer are cool but a persistent problem. Every year I hear of at least one friend of a friend messing their car up really bad by hitting a deer.

A few years back my parents lived in a newer, suburban type development. The area was formerly woods and farmland, and one day I was driving through and saw a little red fox frolicing in a vacant lot. I thought that was really cool because I had never seen one in real life, but it was also sad because it was evident that the crazy suburbanites had invaded his home and he was just making due with the situation.

OK, one more story. A few years back in the town just a few miles away from us a teenaged girl was driving through the business strip and hit a black bear. When the news broke people seriously freaked out because we are not supposed to have bears around here. The MO Conservation Dept. seems to always want to put strange spins on stories like this, and they assured everyone that there was no reason to panic because the bear "was just passing through". Still wondering how they could determine that, did the bear have luggage or something?

message 4: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I also tried beating on a pan with a spoon one day to scare them off, but they were back five minutes later and the neighbors probably thought that I was on drugs.

That gave me the first laugh of the morning. Good morning, sir.

I have been known to walk out of my house and say, "good morning birds" to the birds that gather in the kiwi along the side of my yard. I have always been known to hustle quickly to my garage when I realize my neighbors are out and probably heard me greet the birds like some kind of hippie.

I saw two foxes once while running at about 5AM int he spring. They were standing between houses, watching me, staying very still. The rumor around town is that they, and most of the wildlife, stay hidden by the creek woods and the railroad tracks.

There are always coyote/wolf rumors around town, people "hearing" them at night, etc. too.

Those lizards are everywhere at my wife's mom's house in Florida, Leslie...they still kind of freak me out.

message 5: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent (akagunslinger) I have yet to see a live armadillo in Missouri.

Tadpole already covered most of the Missouri animals so I'll jump right into the story about my hated nemesis, that thrice-damned woodpecker! Every morning during the spring and summer, a woodpecker lands on my roof, estimated arrival time 6 AM, and starts pecking away on the gutters and downspouts. Apparently, the noise of pecking on tin is a mating call and its loud enough to wake me up on my days off. I've thought about popping the screen out of the window and plugging him with a pellet gun but the angle looks too difficult.

To smooth things over with the people who think I'm horrible to contemplate dispatching that noisy woodpecker, here is a picture of a fox kit that used to live in a den near my house. Isn't he a cute little bastard?


This photo and more can be seen at The foxes

message 6: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments The lizards are so cure! There were a few baby roaches around in my kitchen and I was--OH NO! and one day I had a lizard in my greenhouse window over my sink, so I kept a saucer of water there and kept changing it to keep it fresh and in about 2 days the roaches were gone--and they haven't been back! As long as you have an accessible water source, when a lizard gets in, you have a live-in exterminator! And he's cute, too

I used to work at this preschool that was part of a church, so it had a huge parking lot that bordered on this little patch of woods right in the middle of town. So one day, my sister picked me up at work and we took her car and went out to dinner and hung out all evening, and we went back to the parking lot to get my car, and we sat there talking for about an hour, trying to catch up before she went back home to Pittsburg and while we were talking, 5 or 6 foxes came out into the parking lot and were playing--it was about 2 am--and we watched them play and we talked and sat there for such a long time, just watching them play only feet away from us. That was an amazing experiecne.

message 7: by Cyril (new)

Cyril | 493 comments A couple of months back, while running in the early morning, I saw a pea-hen in the street.

message 8: by Sandy (new)

Sandy (FoggedIn) | 138 comments I live in the downtown area, and the usual wilderness creatures I see are birds and squirrels. However, I have had two Possums (blech) in the back yard and a baby Raccoon on the deck in the last year or two. I think they go to the Burger King dumpster up the road a piece, and eat their goodies in my yard.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I see deer and turkey almost every week about a half mile from my house, and we have coyotes that come in the neighborhood once in awhile. I had a groundhog under my deck this summer. We have rabbits and squirrels and raccoons. I have had a red tail hawk in the back yard twice within the last week. We used to have a fox that didn't live too far away, but I saw him hit by the side of the road. There are more, but I'm not thinking of them right now.

message 10: by Jessica (last edited Jan 18, 2009 04:16PM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) we have coyotes, foxes, turkeys, deer galore, opossum, raccoons....unfortunately one sees much as roadkill around here. One of the pleasures of my new home (I just bought it last May) is that there is an owl I hear at night. Apparently they favor open fields and I am near one. Coyotes are also around. You an hear them and sometimes see them.
One day, I went to get the mail and saw a bunny lying by my mailbox. He was in good shape, only a gash, but dead. Still don't know what that was about, and why the coyotes didn't drag him off...

message 11: by Cyril (new)

Cyril | 493 comments When I lived in San Diego, a nightingale would sing very loudly at night at certain times of the year. I wished I had better insulated windows.

message 12: by Cyril (new)

Cyril | 493 comments He was in good shape...but dead.

Hmmm...a good line for a movie screenplay.

message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) Ha! you can use it Cyril, just let me know when you do!

message 14: by Pamela(AllHoney) (new)

Pamela(AllHoney) (pamelap) Rural Arkansas so we get lots of the previously mentioned critters. Foxes, deer, turkeys, wild domestic cats, stray dogs, rabbits, snakes, etc... Since we now have a dog we don't get any in our yard now. We did have a stray cow in our yard once.

message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) mmm..I've heard about stray pigs..
I've also seen black bears (several) where I live, also mountain lions, or bobcats rather.
I love seeing foxes.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments We have raccoons, possums, and squirrels in the neighborhood, and a variety of birds. Chickadees, a wren in the kiwi, scrub jays, and juncos, mainly.

One time we heard our neighbor just bellowing, swearing a blue streak, and we got really worried about domestic violence next door - until we realized he was yelling at a possum who had been eating the cat food on their porch. Whew!

Once a deer went through the yard, which was shocking because we live in the center of town very close to downtown.

message 17: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
Sweeter and I live in a lil' neighborhood sandwiched between a major thouroughfare, the railroad tracks, some open space, and a pretty downtrodden 70s development full of rental homes. Our neighborhood is a mix of original homeowners obsessed with mowing and shoveling, and classic WT - giant trucks, power washers, motorcross stickers, glass-pack mufflers, and car windows broken sometime in 2004 and "fixed" with plastic wrap and duct tape.

Thus, our neighborhood is full of dogs. Large, untrained, barking dogs. Three or four to a yard is the norm. When a fire engine goes by we know about it early.
There are also many, many cats. My cats do not go outside for this reason. The strays are mean and often fight for their territory. As of right now there are two I see often in our yard. One ballsy little grey f***er hangs about our back door, as though I'll feed him, antagonizing my cats and sometimes instigating through-the-glass fighting.

Another reason my cats won't go outside is the foxes. Perhaps because of the open space, perhaps because of the plentitude of outdoor felines, foxes love our area. I see a momma fox running around the street we take to get to ours. Usually she is out and about around dusk and dawn.

Squirrels, big fluffy brown ones who have lived in the ginormous cottonwood trees for generations. They use our roof as a thouroughfare between trees and fences, and we often hear them racing lickety-split across the roof. It is loud.

Birds, mean ol bluejays in the fall and robins and sparrows in the winter.

Tons of raccoons. Fat, lazy, brave raccoons who will eat your trash and spread it all about unless you devise a complex network of bricks, lumber, locking trashcan lids. Or just park the trash in the garage for a few weeks until they wander off to some other, lazier neighbor.

message 18: by Jessica (last edited Jan 25, 2009 05:22AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) Once I drove home at night, pulled into the carport, and came face to face with an oppossum sitting on his haunches and eating something he held in his hands. He stared at me with his rodent-like eyes, shocked (as was I). They're so ugly!

message 19: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments When I was still living with my parents, but after high school, I had a job working 3-11, and this dog adopted my family and they were gradually adopting him, but nobody bothered to tell me! So I got home from work one night and there was this dog--a pit bull mixed with lots of other stuff, sleeping on the front door mat! I was like-what in the world? And I am very scared of dogs. So I thought, this isn't his territory, so he'll just run away. Wrong! I got out of my car and he started growling at me. Turns out, not only had no one told me about him, but they hadn't informed him about me, either. So, I ended up standing on the hood of my car yelling for my dad while this dog is growling at me! I could see the back of my dad's head, sitting on the couch, watching tv, and I had to yell so loud! Thank God he was still up! So, he finally came out and rescued me! UGH!!!!!

message 20: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
That is funny, Leslie.

A big, black cat adopted my family in a similar fashion while I was away at CU. He weighed about 30 lbs and had these huge claws. He was always sleeping on the front porch, waiting for my mom (the softie) to bring him some tuna.

About 7 years later, when Midnight was determined to be the biggest black baby in town we bought him a studded leather collar to wear. He looked downright mean. People who hate cats who came to our house would cower. It was awesome.

Midnight is now about 17 years old and losing weight fast. It makes me sad, but at least he found the most cat loving family in the neighborhood way back then. The family he left for us said he was an "outdoor cat" and left him in the yard with a big ol' canine ... I'd run away too.

message 21: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) It gets me how so many people are just freaked out by anything natural. For a while I had an exterminator company as a client in Austin (the #1 exterminator in Austin). They told me about a woman who called them and was concerned about a dead mouse she found in her back yard. She wasn't real clear on what she thought they should do about that -- but she was adamant that they do something.

message 22: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments It sounds like Midnight found the right family!

I'm pretty much ok with what nature does--as long as it's not too big, outside, but when nature accidently wanders inside, that's a different story entirely! Lizards are fine. Anything else, and it's an all out campaign to evict immedietly!

message 23: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
Lollers Leslie. I would not be fine with lizards. I'm trying to imagine a parallel universe in which I might be fine with lizards...nope. Can't do it.

message 24: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Lizards are cute!

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Lizards are great, but I don't want them crawling around in my house. Same with most animals smaller than my head.

message 26: by Matthieu (last edited Jan 25, 2009 07:19PM) (new)

Matthieu | 1009 comments We get mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, etc.

message 27: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Love lizards!

message 28: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments It's really funny how easy it is to get used to having lizards in your house when you live down here! If you would have asked me before I lived in FL, do you think you could ever not mind having lizards in your house? I would have thought the person was nuts!!
The lizards are little, don't make any sounds except any rustling sounds they might make as they run around, they eat bugs, they don't seem to leave poop anywhere and just seem completlely benign and no big deal at all. I don't know how that happens, maybe they put something in Florida water, I don't know. I don't like having them come in for just one reason, they usually die of thirst and you find these dessicated lizard corpses when you sweep the floor. That's why I leave out water.
But, yeah, I know exactly what you mean, Sally. They also never bite and never do anything but run away from people. And they'll probably be the closest thing I'll ever have to a pet!

message 29: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments You probably have these, huh, Leslie?

[image error]

They are my favorites! I could sit and watch them for hours. They make me smile!

message 30: by Félix (last edited Jan 27, 2009 04:41AM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) That's an anole. Looks just like many of the ones I befriended when I lived in Tejas. My cat LOVED it when they would get inside the screened in deck.

I like it when the males do this:

message 31: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
I just remembered the lizards in Kauai. When I first spotted one up in our hut in Hanalei I freaked out and made a big deal of carrying it out spider-style with a book and a glass.

By week two down in Poipu I was mellowed, and in the evenings the lizard who apparently shared our condo would come out and dart across the wall behind the tv. Neither of us would move, and we did come to regard him as a pet.

Hm, I guess I found my parallel universe after all. :)

I'm so jealous of you living in Florida, Leslie. The warmth sounds so nice right now.

message 32: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments We get mice in the winter as they come in to get warm, and ants in the summer. We live near parks and a river even though we're in the city. There's a raccoon that likes to hang out in an open storm drain, and the occasional fox wanders through.

And once I saw the silhouette of what I thought was the world's biggest rat -- the size of a large housecat -- on our fence, until I realized it was an oppossum.

message 33: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Yep, it's an anole! I LUH-HUH-UVE them!

message 34: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments And I have saved several baby possoms in my life. The babies are adorable!

message 35: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Somewhere I have a picture that I took of a pair of anoles copulating.

message 36: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments I love the lizard pictures! Most of the ones I see are not bright colored, they have pretty good camoflage--(No idea how to spell that word, but you know what I mean).

I like it here, the weather, and especially the arts community, Sarasota is fantastic, lots of reasons.

The first time I saw a possum scurrying across a parking lot, it was at a college and I thought it was a baby pig who had escaped the lab and it's fate of being dissected. The guy I was with thought I was really weird!

message 37: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Lizard porn! (Larry)

message 38: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) It was so natural, though, Mindy.

message 39: by Meen (last edited Jan 27, 2009 08:20PM) (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments I know, I've watched them. It's sweet. There is nothing anoles could do that I wouldn't think was sweet.

message 40: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) You watched them?

message 41: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments You photographed them!

message 42: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Oh yeah. So I did.

message 43: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments I've seen plenty of lizards mating on my porch. I feel a little guilty when I scare them in the middle and they separate and run away--never got to finish, all because of the big giant who keeps coming out on "their" porch!

message 44: by Cyril (new)

Cyril | 493 comments When I was little I chased a little lizard and its tail fell off and started wriggling. I've stayed away from them since then.

message 45: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) They've done a lot of work on the mechanism that regrows appendages like that. My bet is that some day people will be able to regrow hands or feet.

message 46: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17319 comments Mod
I bet Mr. Bobbit is hoping they apply that technology to other apparatuses as well.

message 47: by Félix (last edited Jan 29, 2009 07:49PM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) Oh you betcha!

[image error]

message 48: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments I think it's a little too late for Mr. Bobbit.

message 49: by Félix (last edited Jan 30, 2009 08:44PM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) Actually ... he was fortunate enough to have successful reattachment surgery, and went on to do some port porn films. Or so I've heard. :)

message 50: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 30, 2009 08:01PM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Today, while sitting in my home office, I saw a mouse run along the side of the floor and hide behind a radiator.

I waved. It's cold out. I don't blame him (assuming the mouse was male) for coming inside.

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