Our Backyard Critters

Our Maryland house is located in a very populated suburb pretty much smack in the middle of the state between Baltimore, Washington (DC) and Annapolis. It’s not the sticks. We’re surrounded by houses and roads. Knowing this, you wouldn’t expect to see a lot of wildlife, right? Wrong. There are all kinds of cool critters here. Not big critters like bears, moose and mountain lions. You have to look a bit closer to see the kind of critters I am talking about.

Like this itty, bitty baby box turtle. A painted turtle even passed through one day. Of course, there are lots of toads. After all, toads are pretty common. There are also lots of different birds as well as some squirrels, too. Not as many squirrels as there used to be (we do have three dogs).

There are even smaller critters, too. Not all of them are what I’d call cute, but they’re definitely interesting. Like this colorful girl…

An orb weaver.

Hubby spotted her first. I checked on her periodically over the span of about two weeks. Of course, I can’t just show you that cool spider picture without telling you that it is a Black and Yellow Argiope spider.

It wasn’t until the other day when I checked that I realized she was gone. I thought maybe she might’ve just relocated, so I looked around the spot where the web had been. That’s when I saw this.

Egg Sac

It’s her egg sac. I only know because I looked it up on the Internet. It’s about an inch and a half long. Apparently, there are about a thousand baby spiders alive inside of that thing. They’ll stay in there until Spring. Unless some bird or other critter finds it.

On the not-so-interesting front are the gazillion stink bugs that have surrounded us this year.

Stink Bug

They’re all over this area. They’re in Pennsylvania, too. Until I saw this news video, I thought we had it pretty bad. Only a couple have made it inside so far. There are a whole bunch of them outside though.

We also have some cute critters. Some really cute ones if you ask me.

Like this guy I just happened to see on our patio table when I took a break from some yard work yesterday.

Well, hello little guy!

Can you tell what it is? I knew immediately, of course. At which point I gasped, because these things are rarely seen. Not because they are rare, but because they are so well-camouflaged.

Remember, if you click on an image, a larger size of the image will open for you to see.

Look at the size of the thing next to my camera lens.

Still not sure what it is? Okay, let me crawl under the table for a better shot.

Gray Tree Frog

It’s a teeny tiny tree frog.

In this picture someone else shot (of a different frog) you can see the sticky toe pads that allow the frog to climb.

Gray Tree Frog

It could have been the same frog I saw on my office window recently. But I think that was a different kind of tree frog (there are nine different kinds in Maryland).

Most people would be surprised to know a lot of the “bug” noises you hear at night are actually frogs. If you want to hear what this one sounds like, visit this Web page and then click on LISTEN.

Gray Tree Frog

He sat there for the longest time. Even when the dogs were shaking the heck out of the table as they tried frantically to get at my gardening gloves.

Are you curious as to why the dogs would have been so anxious to get at my gloves? You’ll have to check back tomorrow to find out. Unless you have a weak stomach. If that’s the case, you might want to stay away for the day.

3 Replies to “Our Backyard Critters”

  1. I’m really not as afraid of spiders as some people are, but the thought of 1000 of those spiders in that egg sac gave me a little bit of the willies.

  2. What a dedicated photographer you are! And now I see you’re a naturalist as well. So…..I hope you didn’t accidentally knock down that egg sac with ONE THOUSAND SPIDERS in it and step on it…..did you? I mean I kind of hope not..no really I hope you did or that you put it out where the birds can see it or maybe you buried it…or almost anything except let it be. I’m just sayin’.

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