Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Posts Tagged ‘Furry friends’

Where’s an aardvark when you need one??

Posted by Lissa on May 20, 2014


I kept noticing an ant here and an ant there in the baby bathroom (the one between Little Gronk and Bubber’s rooms, where Gronk bathes and brushes his teeth). We tried to figure out where they were coming from; they seemed to group around the light switch and medicine cabinet. Then we thought they were coming from behind the mirror, but Mike slid it out and there wasn’t a horde behind it. We finally just bought ant traps and put two in the cupboards and two in the windowsill (which I’d previously sprayed down with vinegar).

I checked the ant traps the next day and didn’t see any visible swarming. I shrugged and we went about our business.

I checked the traps again the day after (yesterday) and there were a few ants around the traps. Meh. Maybe the problem wasn’t as bad as we thought. Maybe they’d all died off already. Right?

Ha! I live in Florida; who are you kidding???

I noticed a swarm of ants by the toilet. Wrinkling my nose in distaste, I moved a trap from the windowsill directly into the thickest stream of ants.

Two hours later I peeked in to see how Killing the Ants was progressing. There were a few more ants around the toilet.

… oh, and a line of ants crawling down from the windowsill. Is that where they were coming from?

… and there’s a line of ants crawling down the side of the bathtub. Is that how they’re getting to the toilet?

… wow, that’s a rather heavy stream of ants. Like, a lot. And they seem to be disappearing … under the bath mat? Let’s move it aside and take a look-see . . .


This led directly to the following text from me to Mike:


I plopped an ant trap directly into the stream, whimpering under my breath. And then, out of curiosity, I flipped the mat over.

And SCREAMED at the HUNDREDS of ants thus revealed.


At this point I had to pack up the baby and the cat for Rajah’s annual checkup. I sprayed a vinegar barrier across the bathroom floor so they wouldn’t infest any other part of the house and ran for my life.

A few lessons:

– When you have hired a pest service for comprehensive control, don’t be afraid to call them.

– When said pest service tells you – on Monday – that they can come out at the end of the day on Thursday, politely losing your ever-loving sh*t at the operator will result in a visit from the branch manager at seven thirty in the evening.

– Don’t put out ant traps if you have professionals who you can call. All that did was sing the siren song of sweet succulent food to the horde of ants outside, all of whom invited their mothers and uncles and cousins and neighbors to come inside and partake. Gah!!!

P.S. Today most of the ants in the bathroom are dead. There are about 20 live ants – a great improvement over 200. They’re coming to spray again tomorrow. *spit*

P.P.S. Yes, I *know* it could have been spiders or snakes or roaches or the evil red bitey ants that infest Florida. These were relatively harmless. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. Nor does it mean I can’t do the Happy Dance upon their demise.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Turtles and Rajahs and snakes, oh my!

Posted by Lissa on October 5, 2012

Yes, one of those is not exactly Florida wildlife, but I needed a third to make it all flow, so whatever.

First up: Meet the Florida softshell turtle!

This fine specimen of Apalone ferox was stranded crossing the main road in our neighborhood. We pulled over, I yanked on some latex gloves and we attempted to rescue him.

I’ve rescued a few box turtles in the neighborhood but this dude was in a different family. When I tried to pick him up (with my hands grabbing the shell towards the back – I know enough to avoid the bitey parts in front), it was soft and flexible and he SKITTERED away. I think at one point he practically ran over Mike’s foot. The damn thing scuttled under my car and out. Happily, I’ve had a bag for Goodwill rattling about in my car for a while … which included an iron skillet. Using that – which absorbed a few bites in the process – we chivvied him back up over the curb into the pond.

Next up: an exemplar of the rare species Panthera tigris raveneous:

Have I posted that one before? I’m not sure. After a while all his adorably fuzzy sleepy pix begin to look the same!

Which leads us to something that is not at all adorable or fuzzy:

I was away at a doctor’s appointment the morning that this little dude showed up. I can’t say I’m very sorry about that, although I feel bad for Mike. He doesn’t like snakes.

I do generally like snakes – I think they’re cool and pretty and useful – but NOT INSIDE MY HOUSE!!!!!!

We cannot for the life of us figure out how the HELL it got into our bathroom. It was on the floor in front of Mike’s sink, where he’d stood not ten minutes before shaving. I’m completely baffled.

Oh, and our dummy cat was completely worthless and didn’t notice AT ALL that there was a reptilian intruder. Nice going there, Mr. Rajah.

Have a happy, and snakeless, Friday!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Here There Be (Little-bitty) Dragons!!!

Posted by Lissa on October 2, 2012

Look look it’s a dragon!!!!

Don’t worry, the researchers said they let it go right after they took the pictures. And fed it a few mini-maidens. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Um. That doesn’t look like a partridge.

Posted by Lissa on September 18, 2012

Taken a mile from my house:

(zoom in to see the furry visitor)

Naturally, everyone stopped to gawk. And apparently offer their small offspring as bear feed:


I was the only one to keep my distance, and I’m fairly sure I was the only one armed (and although 9mm probably doesn’t do much in this case, it’s better than nothing).

What caliber for bear?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Naughty kitty!

Posted by Lissa on June 5, 2012

I woke up at six A.M. to the sounds of metal hitting the floor. Hazily, I wondered what it was that Mike had dropped while making breakfast.

And then dropped again. And then whacked. Or kicked. Either way, a steady bang! bang! was coming from the kitchen.

You see where this is going, right?

I stumbled out to find that Rajah — the dummy cat, the cat with the IQ of a lima bean, the clumsiest cat I’ve ever seen in all my living days — Rajah has:

1) opened the pantry (he sticks his paw underneath the door and pulls at it until it opens)
2) fished out an empty beef stock can from the very bottom of the bin
3) is now licking (and pushing) it around the kitchen. Loudly.

I squirted him with water, dumped the can back in the bin, slammed the pantry door closed and went off to begin my morning ablutions.

Any day now he’ll figure out how to work a can opener and then we’re DOOMED, my friends! DOOMED!!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Seal Unit K-9s

Posted by Lissa on February 24, 2012

Taken from my father’s email

Seal Unit K-9s

When U.S. President Barack Obama went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, earlier for a highly publicized, but very private meeting with the commando team that killed Osama bin Laden, only one of the 81 members of the super-secret SEAL DevGru unit was identified by name: Cairo, the war dog. Cairo, like most canine members of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs, is a Belgian Malinois. The Malinois breed is similar to German shepherds but smaller and more compact, with an adult male weighing in the 30-kilo range.


German shepherds are still used as war dogs by the American military but the lighter, stubbier Malinois is considered better for the tandem parachute jumping and rappelling operations often undertaken by SEAL teams. Labrador retrievers are also favoured by various military organizations around the world.


Like their human counterparts, the dog SEALs are highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated special ops experts, able to perform extraordinary military missions by Sea, Air and Land (thus the acronym). The dogs carry out a wide range of specialized duties for the military teams to which they are attached: With a sense of smell 40 times greater than a human’s, the dogs are trained to detect and identify both explosive material and hostile or hiding humans. The dogs are twice as fast as a fit human, so anyone trying to escape is not likely to outrun Cairo or his buddies.


The dogs, equipped with video cameras, also enter certain danger zones first, allowing their handlers to see what’s ahead before humans follow. As I mentioned before, SEAL dogs are even trained parachutists, jumping either in tandem with their handlers or solo, if the jump is into water. Last year canine parachute instructor Mike Forsythe and his dog Cara set the world record for highest man-dog parachute deployment, jumping from more than 30,100 feet up — the altitude transoceanic passenger jets fly at. Both Forsythe and Cara were wearing oxygen masks and skin protectors for
the jump. Here’s a photo from that jump, taken by Andy Anderson for K9 Storm Inc. (more about those folks shortly).


As well, the dogs are faithful, fearless and ferocious — incredibly frightening and efficient attackers. When the SEAL DevGru team (usually known by its old designation, Team 6) hit bin Laden’s Pakistan compound on May 2, Cairo’s feet would have been four of the first on the ground. And like the human SEALs, Cairo was wearing super-strong, flexible body Armour and outfitted with high-tech equipment that included “doggles” — specially designed and fitted dog googles with night-vision and infrared capability that would even allow Cairo to see human heat forms through concrete walls. Now where on earth would anyone get that kind of incredibly niche hi-tech doggie gear? From Winnipeg, of all places. Jim and Glori Slater’s Manitoba hi-tech mom-and-pop business, K9 Storm Inc., has a deserved worldwide reputation for designing and manufacturing probably the best body Armour available for police and military dogs. Working dogs in 15 countries around the world are currently protected by their K9 Storm body Armour.


Jim Slater was a canine handler on the Winnipeg Police Force when he crafted a Kevlar protective jacket for his own dog, Olaf, in the mid-1990s. Soon Slater was making body Armour for other cop dogs, then the Canadian military and soon the world. The standard K9 Storm vest also has a load-bearing harness system that makes it ideal for tandem rappelling and parachuting.


And then there are the special hi-tech add-ons that made the K9 Storm especially appealing to the U.S. Navy SEALs, who bought four of K9 Storm Inc.’s top-end Intruder “canine tactical assault suits” last year for $86,000. You can be sure Cairo was wearing one of those four suits when he
jumped into bin Laden’s lair. Here’s an explanation of all the K9 Storm Intruder special features:


Just as the Navy SEALS and other elite special forces are the sharp point of the American military machine, so too are their dogs at the top of a canine military heirarchy. In all, the U.S. military currently has about 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed around the world, with roughly 600 now in Afghanistan and Iraq. Several of the photos I have included here are from Foreign Policy, as you
will see. Other photos are from K9 Storm Inc.



As for the ethics of sending dogs to war, that’s pretty much a moot point, don’t you think? If it’s ethical to send humans into combat, then why not dogs? The U.S. now treats its war dogs as full members of the military.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

I want a panda puppy!!!!

Posted by Lissa on December 20, 2011


Normally I wouldn’t really be into dyeing animals, but look!  LOOK!!!!!


That is all 🙂

(Hat tip to Mike!)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

PETA pathetics.

Posted by Lissa on May 4, 2011

Via Best of the Web a few days ago, the PETA numb nuts strike again:

Domestic dogs, cats, hamsters or budgerigars should be rebranded as “companion animals” while owners should be known as “human carers,” they insist.
Even terms such as wildlife are dismissed as insulting to the animals concerned–who should instead be known as “free-living,” the academics including an Oxford professor suggest. . . .
“Despite its prevalence, ‘pets’ is surely a derogatory term both of the animals concerned and their human carers,” the editorial claims


I have said it before and I’ll say it again — PETS ARE NOT PEOPLE. We do not regularly castrate people. We do not buy and sell people for money. We do not put shock collars on people. We do not have People Farms (though of course I don’t approve of puppy mills).

As for “wildlife” versus “free living” … I kind of get the impression that someone smoked WAY too much pot. Or dropped too much acid and had an “experience” with a cricket or robin. Just sayin’.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »


Posted by Lissa on December 10, 2010

Don’t these silly creatures know that I’m higher on the food chain? That I eat poultry at least once a week? That I’m bigger and stronger than they are? That I have opposable thumbs and training with weapons?


I took this pic during my cooldown a few days ago.  I used my iPhone with no zoom — that should give you an idea how close they were.  These enormous walking pigeons wander around our neighborhood and have absolutely no fear, or respect, for large man-like or man-made objects.  It’s not unusual to come across a line of stopped cars, waiting impatiently for them to finish their leisurely crossing of the road.  Meanwhile, I’m angrily mumbling “Just hit them, already!  Nudge them with your bumper! You’re bigger than they are!” to myself, five cars back.

I console myself that, come the Zombie Apocalypse, we could bag ourselves a few meals by driving around and hanging out the windows with a baseball bat.

What’s that you say?

Shaddup, you.  I can buy you in the grocery store.

*sigh*  Respect is so hard to come by nowadays.

(We saw the ostriches during the Animal Kingdom safari, also iPhone with no zoom.  I was careful not to hang out the window, lest they make a grab for the camera – they were that close!  Damn giant turkeys need a lesson with birdshot . . .)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 13 Comments »


Posted by Lissa on September 28, 2010

Since Mike’s folks live in Florida, I’ve visited there — oh, at least five or six times during the last decade.  And, to date, I had NEVER SEEN A FLORIDA GATOR.  I developed a very annoying habit of peering eagerly into every body of water we passed — be it pond, lake, river, or large puddle — while hopefully piping, “Gator??”

Well, dammit, I finally saw my gators!!!

They had a little alligator near the front just for me:

We were treated to an exhibition of alligator wrestling:

We got two packets of hot dogs to throw to the gators. And then proceeded to nail them DIRECTLY IN THE HEAD and they STILL wouldn’t get them. The big white birds standing on them as they floated around were MUCH quicker, more agile and more likely to eat the damn dogs than the gators were. I was heckling and yelling, “C’mon, gators! You’re at the top of the frickin’ food chain! Don’t let those birds steal your food, EAT THE BIRD!!!”

(We later closed the Circle of Life by eating Alligator Nuggets at the cafe. They tasted like overcooked chicken nuggets that had been misted with tuna water.)

Oh, and the birds were insanely fearless:

(As befits birds that live with alligators.)

We cheered and hollered “Jump!!” as instructed during the Gator Jumping show:

Naturally, we had to stop at the petting zoo, where we fed pellets to some VERY. DETERMINED. GOATS.

Two thumbs up for Gatorland, where Lissa finally got her full quota of gators!

P.S. Oh, almost forgot — as promised:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »