Favorite non-pet critters in your yard

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, ALAugust 5, 2011

Where are you and "who" do you enjoy seeing in your yard?

I'm in central AL, a few miles north of FL border.

I love the squirrels playing even though they veto some of my gardening decisions.

The anoles are so cute and such a novelty to someone originally from OH. I crack up when they stick their head out of hiding to see what I'm doing.

Countless birds have visited my yard including a hummer investigating a big red dog food bowl, blue birds, and an extremely talented mocking bird.

I saw 2 skinks earlier this year but haven't been able to find any more to show other family members. They were really cool.

Butterflies!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Your mention of skinks and anoles makes me miss the deep south so much! Have you ever tried to emulate Ms. Eudora Welty's "green lizard earrings" by latching a little anole to your earlobe? They'll only stay on for a minute or two...and be sure to pick a smaller lizard. If too big, it could get gory. Ask me how I know.

I am most amused by the birds, especially the hummingbirds who swarm a feeder we've placed just a foot or two from our patio table. My GOODNESS, they are bossy!

We laugh every year when the mama birds, especially the robins and the cardinals, bring their rotten little babies to the bird bath together. You'd think they are trying to drown each other!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 12:01AM
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lisa11310(z5 MI)

I'm in National Forest Land in West Mi. I love all my birds and monitor 5 nestboxes. I have a little fish pond so I have all sorts of critters visiting from the smallest toads & frogs to Chipmunks Rabbits Turkeys Coons opossums Deer and a nesting pair of Eagles across the lake! Got just about every kind of woodland critter you can think of (except Bears). AAAAHHH I LOVE it out here!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 4:36PM
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mosswitch

There was a young possum in the maple tree right beside the front porch last night, giving itself a "cat" bath, washing its face with its little paws, licking itself down and cleaning its claws just like a cat does--and all without falling out of the tree (it was on the outermost branches, not sure how it stayed up there. It must have had its tail pretty well curled on a branch!) Cute to watch. It was only about 5 feet away from me and didn't seem to care at all.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:37PM
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lucypwd(z8PNW)

OK, I know this isn't as exciting as having a lizard hang off your ear, but my favorite creature this summer is a tiny tree frog that has made my yard its home. For years I have wondered why I don't have, or at least see, tree frogs, as my garden has very diverse plantings with access to water and no pesticide/fungicide use. This summer I found the tiniest tree frog - and I realized why I haven't noticed them prior to this - they are masters of disguise!! The tiny creature would disappear before my eyes. I also love the salamanders, and birds - especially the hummingbirds. And while I love the deer, this year they have absolutely destroyed my garden....

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 11:15AM
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maifleur01

They are masters of disguise but here the fungus or that ever that killed massive amounts of frogs and toads apparently has run it's course. Although I have not seen any I can hear the tree frogs singing. I am waiting for a couple of years before I take up a friends offer of toads to stock my yard just in case.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 7:19PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Interesting replies!

Just wanted to add that my honey made us a bat house. So when we get it well painted and hung, I look forward to attracting many hungry bats to our yard mosquito patch.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 5:02PM
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Pat

GO ALABAMA is all I can say at this time.
Pat

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 9:03PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I live west of Boston in a suburb with a rural feel, so there are lots of critters. My favorite are the birds, butterflies, bees, and most insects. Various birds nest in the yard and I raise butterflies, and really enjoy observing and participating in their cycle of life. My most favorites would be the Eastern bluebird and Monarch butterfly, and my yard is a certified Monarch waystation.

Squirrels are okay and cute to watch, and my feeders have squirrel/raccoon baffles and they work well. Not so crazy about the deer and rabbits, but they don't do too much damage, and I use some barriers or repellent around their choice plants. This year the deer were eating down the morning glories on the new trellis and set them back twice. Finally I spread 4-foot wire fencing on the ground along the back and side of the trellis. They don't like walking on it! No more damage after that and the vines made something of a comeback.

Really dislike chipmunks, yellow jackets, voles (have had tons of these three this year.) Also dislike mice and the occasional woodchuck.

Who me?? Eat your plants??

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 5:24PM
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richardzone7maryland(7b)

I think my favorite are the chipmunks. I enjoy watching them scurry around the yard.

Richard

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 5:51PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Just remembered this thread, so let me add that I saw an armadillo running across the front yard a couple months ago. Had no idea they could go so fast!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 12:06PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Purple, I saw this in the Hummingbird Forum and thought of you. Wait til you see....

Here is a link that might be useful: Look at this!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 3:42PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

How cool is that?! After seeing that, I'm more glad I keep shallow water dishes around the yard for those little guys. Thanks for sharing that!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 4:39PM
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jan_on zone 5b

I live in Ontario, so no anoles here, but friends in Florida had one living in their screened-in porch in an artificial fig tree. It scooted outdoors through a space under the screen door during the daytime, but came back at night to the fake tree. I don't think they ever used him for an earring!
Jan

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Brumby(4)

I'm also in Ontario and we have lots of deer (waving my arms frantically and jumping up and down usually scares them off) and the occasional moose. I knew a moose walked right through the garden because of the massive hoof prints, each about 6-8 feet apart. Wish I had seen it. Our most interesting critter is a ferret that we see only once in a while. My kids said they saw one the other day, with a mouse in it's mouth. Last time I saw one was when my cat caught and killed a baby - BAD kitty!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 12:46PM
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butterflymommy(Z9 N.E. FL)

I am in North Florida & ALL of the critters are my favorites! We are truly blessed with each encounter: every butterfly, bug, and bird is a true gift. I have an abundance, BUT my favorites of them all would have to be Chip (& now Mr. AND Mrs. Chip) previously known as the Kamikaze Cardinal, who, up until he found the now-Mrs. Chip, would spend each minute of every day repeatedly flying into my patio glass sliding doors, the rear view mirrors of neighbors cars, etc. (I thought females usually made males GO crazy, not STOP being crazy!) and my Ducky Babies (with Mama & Daddy Duck)-these now grown 6 little ducks come to the same place as Chip, and they quack to let me know it's feeding time! They have come to eat since the day they hatched, I have earned their trust, and they continue to visit daily, even if they aren't hungry! Lately, Daddy Duck has been visiting alone much more often. (I tell you he even quacks, 'Thank You' after I scatter the cracked corn for him!) My LEAST favorite critters would be the home-wrecking gator and ferocious fierce osprey who took my Ducky Babies from ten down to six :'( [After verbalizing my horror at having just witnessed the osprey fly away with one of the ducklings, my man said, 'Circle of Life-someone just ate' ugh, men!] The geese & goslings are snobby, but I love them just the same. Favorite of Favorites would have to be Daddy Duck, who literally looks like he was counting the babies after they ate & headed back to the lake!

Here is a link that might be useful: Family of Ducks on YouTube

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Loved that vid, butterflymom, thanks for sharing!

Looks like we're in no danger of running out of anoles here. Interesting how the female's color changed "during." Is it just me or is the male smiling?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

It's not surprising there's now tiny anoles all around the place. This little guy or gal is only about an inch long, tip of nose to tip of tail.

This guy was so startled to see me, he stopped chasing his lady friend for a second to gawk at me.

By now, the tiny one jumped to a different plant.

Really thought he was hiding in the growth tip of Dracaena marginata.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 6:17PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Waaaah, I miss those little things so much! The babies are the cutest, aren't they? I remember thinking how precious those little fingers and toes were, lol.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 6:55PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Yes they are!! The little one above I had rescued from getting lost in the house. Hopefully there's more bugs to eat outside!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:23AM
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nulty

I have a family of Hedgehogs living in the garden,..it started with just one,..then a second one appeared,..and they fought,..head butting,..then of course there were offspring but they don't appear until darkness comes,..all of them eat the dried cat food,..of course the cats are in awe.

Video===The Resident Hedgehog.

Video===Hedgehog and The Cats.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 9:53AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

OK, those are officially one of the cutest things I've seen. Cats are so funny in what they will tolerate, aren't they?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

No doubt! A friend of mine has a little white hedgehog as a housepet. They are cute!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 6:59AM
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nulty

Those Hedgehogs are quite placid creatures and poor eyesight,..they eat all the slugs in my garden then move to next door,..if i stand still they will come right up to my feet,..if they get scared they just roll up into a ball,..a spiky ball.

I would like those Deer coming close to the garden,..i did say close,..but away from the plants of course,..as for the Anoles,..love them they would be welcome.

Another Non Pet Critter was a huge Feral Cat,..a massive size and fierce with it as well,..it took three month of giving him dried cat food before he came near me,..i did manage to stroke him,..but i was always wary,..turn up your sound and hear him.

Video==Feral Cat.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 8:57AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

That's definitely an ornery cat, Glen!

Repotting this plant earlier and this little cutie jumped out! A Fowler's toad.

Other recent visitors, gulf fritillary on Lantana

And this cool woodpecker

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 2:12PM
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eclecticcottage(6b wny)

Oh...I have lots!

The Seagulls and Turns, they are fun to watch and I love to hear them.

The Sandpipers...they are so darn cute.

The Purple Martins, although I wish they ate more sandflies from above the yard instead of the lake, the noises they make when they get back to the house are great!

The Hummingbirds.

The robins nesting in my Japanese Quince, especially after seeing one of them chase off a field mouse.

The mockingbird or cat bird that learned the entire sequence of a car alarm-although it can get old, lol.

The Cedar Waxwings, especially watching them hover to grab a bug.

The gold finches...so tiny and cute!

Not so sure about the chipmunk...cute...but he or she better stick to seed heads and stay out of the Cottage! Same for the squirrels, and watching them hang upside down off of the feeder mitigates my dislike for them eating so much of the seed. The grackels are far bigger pigs, imo.

The toads.

The butterflies...although the monarachs seem a bit bossy. Most especially the clear wing hummingbird moths, those are so fun to watch and not nearly as nervous as the hummingbirds themselves!

The cardinals and chickadees...I love the little chick a dee dee dee song.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:13AM
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subtropix

My favorites are...

The deer (after several years of trial and error my garden of trees, shrubs, flowers and ground covers is essentially deer proof).

Feral cats (especially the regulars)

Birds ( cardinals, mockingbird, hummingbirds, owls, and eagles)

Butterflies

Cicadas and lightening bugs

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 4:59PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

This little guy was trying to be purple.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:25AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Finally got a good pic of a skink! Found him digging up some grass.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:11AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Lizards fighting! (Anoles.) This is a crude animation I made on a free website from pics DH took of 2 lizards who do NOT like each other.

, 2. I've never seen this before.

Before I went to get DH, one had the other in a headlock and was walking him across the porch. I leaned my face down, a few inches from them and that didn't phase them at all.

Look at the body language, the raised neck thing, the huge, blackened eyes.

This post was edited by purpleinopp on Sun, May 19, 13 at 11:20

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Found this tiny guy this morning!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 12:53PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Tiger swallowtail on Lantana.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Gulf fritillary on same.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 12:55PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Hummingbird.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 12:56PM
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