Monday, July 16, 2007

Fear Factor Home Edition

When I bought my house a month ago, the garage was locked and the seller had lost the key. Today I finally worked up the courage to go in through the broken-out, boarded up window (and successfully unlocked the door). Half the window board had fallen on the ground sometime last year (I'm guessing), and when I lifted it up while cleaning the yard, I got a good look at the creepy crawlies living in my yard. I had seen the same creepy crawlies weeks earlier in the back yard. I've wimped out and swiped photos from websites instead of taking my own photos (I might remedy this in the future).

The first photo (swiped from the state DEP wildlife website) is of the one non-creepy crawly. Northern Redback salamanders. They're really kind of cute. They have a funny side-to-side way of running. Sort of a mix between running and slithering. I saw them when I picked up a tarp in the back yard.

The woodlouse (below) is the least creepy of the creepys. They are living under every rock, board and log. When I pulled off the last remaining board from the metal window frame I had to crawl through, there were woodlice (and cobwebs) which had to be brushed away.

Woodlice are the cattle of the bug world. They huddle together in large numbers and get picked off by extremely creepy crawly predators. Which is why climbing through a window possibly hiding the creepy crawly predators made me think of Fear Factor.

Here's a Dysdera crocata (woodlouse spider) doing the predator thing:

I couldn't find a single photo of the woodlouse spider that really captured the full extent of its creepiness. The above photo gives you a good sense of its color--bright red legs and head, shiny beige body. The below photo gives a better sense of the view I get of them, although the brown body is typically fatter, almost ready to explode, like a tick that's completely engorged. So nasty. Some people are allergic to its venom, although supposedly it rarely bites.

I couldn't find a photo of the creepiest crawly, so I used this photo (below) of a centipede found in Hawaii. The centipedes in my yard are bright red and just plain mean looking. They make this Hawaiian centipede look tame.

So there you have it. Waterbury's creepy crawlies, some of which can cause a fair amount of pain when they bite. All yard work will be done with gloves, heavy shoes and thick socks!


Katrina said...

Thanks! I just cleared some leaves in our neighbor's yard here in Jamaica Plain,MA and cane across the salamanders and the woodlouse spider too. I was wondering what they both were. You just answered two of my questions at once. Thanks for the research.

The Clayton Clan said...

I just posted a blog about the woodlouse spider I killed on my bed last night. Enjoyed (is that the right word?) reading your post too.