Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mmm, Mmm Good!

I have had a number of Green Lynx spiders in my garden this year.  They seem to drape themselves across a bloom, daring me to move them.  I don't.  Their long, hairy arms are enough to scare me away.

These are indiscriminate predators, preying on bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.  But they will also eat stinkbugs, wasps, and other insects we find harmful.  So I'll keep them.

They get their name by the way they pounce on their prey, like a cat.  They don't build webs, but do weave egg sacs, and guards the sac aggressively.  They live for about one year.  This Green Lynx spider is munching on a snack!

Here's another predator munching on a meal (before he becomes a meal himself)!  There are over 120,000 species of flies, so I'm not sure what kind of fly this is, but I believe it is some kind of Robber fly.  

What makes a fly different than other insects are the number of wings on their back.  Flies have two, other insects have four.  

Flies really don't really munch on their prey.  They inject a digestive juice into their poor victims and the juices dissolve the tissue, then the fly sucks up the liquid.  A fly smoothie!

The opossum is North America's only marsupial mammal.  This means the female has a pouch.  

The female is only pregnant for 13 days before giving birth.  The babies are only as big as a honeybee!  They will cling to the mother, and even after leaving the pouch, will ride on their mother's back.  When they fall off, they are instantly weaned and expected to forage for themselves.  If they're lucky, they may find a bowl of dog food!

Opossums have opposable thumbs.  Look closely at the picture and you can see them.

Raccoons in the wild live to around 5 years of age.  Their five toes on both the front and back feet are the reason they can get into almost anything!  

They will eat just about anything, too.  From frogs, fish, eggs, mice, insects, fruit or vegetables, they are not choosy.  I caught this one with his hand in the cookie jar, so to speak.  

Raccoons are smart and adaptable.  Be careful around raccoons - they can swim, climb and bite!   

It's a dog-eat-dog world out there!  Sometimes, though, it's a non-dog eat dog-food world!


  1. What a hilarious post with great photos. That spider is creepy, and even though he eats good bugs, he eats bad bugs too.

    I don't like possums or raccoons, both are nasty. Although raccoons are funny when they play together.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  2. O I agree with you about the spiders and stuff. But I am trying not to discriminate too much as I always feel so guilty! Love your photos, and would love to see an opossum, cute little thumbs:~)

  3. Great set of pictures... We have raccoons here... Actually, we have LOTS of critters (skunks, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, etc.)... We're in a 'protected area' --so the wildlife love being here...

  4. Holley, that Green Lynx spider is quite something, yikes! Great idea to write a post not only about the lovely plants, but who else lives in your garden or at least stops by for a visit. Great photos of the animals and insects!

  5. Flower Lady - I am tired of those smart raccoons coming and raiding the dog food! And though they're not in this post, i'm tired of the armadillos making holes everywhere. Spiders I just avoid. And I kind of feel sorry for the opossums.

    Foxglove Lane - Opossums come around here quite regularly. They have found the dog food, too, and I think they must think we're feeding them!

    Betsy - Thankfully, we don't have a family of skunks coming up here - yet! How wonderful for you to have so much wildlife.

    Christina - The Green Lynx spider looks quite scary, though I think he's pretty harmless. What I found most interesting was the way the fly eats by liquifying his meals. Yuck!

  6. I really liked the spider but that possum is great. I've never seen one before so this was a treat.

  7. That spider looks pretty scary - I don't think I'd want to see it pounce like a lynx! I don't think I've ever seen an opossum that close up. The guilty looking raccoon is great. Awesome pics!

  8. Marguerite - Oh, we have opossums around here all the time! They are quite silly - when they're scared, they 'freeze' and show their teeth. Impossible to scare away, because they won't move!

    Indie - I think the raccoon knew he wasn't supposed to be eating the dog food! He acted like I couldn't see his hand in the bowl! LOL

  9. Great pictures and interesting facts about your little visitors! I don't blame you for not messing with the Lynx spider...I have never met one and hope to keep it that way!

  10. I don't know why, but 'possoms creep me out! The remind me of rats. But your facts and photos are great!

  11. Great photo of the lynx spider. It's eerily beautiful. I love how the green foliage brings your eye back to the spider.

  12. Interesting looking creatures Holley, especially the Lynx spider, looks vicious! There seems to be an even more mad scramble to eat now that winter is fast approaching :)

  13. My garden is filled with spiders, but none as interesting as your Green Lynx. We have a mean opossum here and a raccoon once because we have neighbors feeding stray cats. Your pictures are just like what happens here. I have to say, going out at night and running into these fellows is a scary thing. That opossum does not run away, just bares its teeth and growls.

  14. That is one scary looking spider. but yuck...snakes have been abundant this year in my garden which is a good sign for the garden and wildlife but also a bad thing for the wildlife. We do have to take the perceived bad with the good....

  15. I LOVE that spider! I want some :-) The Garden Terrierist had a possum trapped on the back fence a while back. Despite her frenzied barking, the possum remained unmoved and unmoving. It gave new meaning to the term "playing possum".

  16. My Garden Diaries - That spider has the worst looking legs! I think that's what' so scary about it!

    PlantPostings - Thy do have a ratty looking face. I rather think they are sweet, meek animals, but I don't like them eating the dog food!

    GirlSprout - He certainly takes up the entire bloom. I wonder why the insects don't see him.

    Mark and Gaz - I suppose you're right - they're fattening up for a long winter's break!

    GWGT - That is one of the most frustrating things about an opossum. You want it to run away, but it just stays there, still. No running, no matter how much you yell or scream at it!

    Donna - Oh, I'm not big on snakes! We had one this year, but we make sure they know they're not welcome around the house!

    Cindy - I have lots of those spiders! I have to look close before I go to smell a rose - I almost put my nose into one! I really wonder how good 'playing possum' does for their survival!

  17. Cute post! I had never seen a lynx spider then my co-poster posted one as did another garden blogger and now you! I bet I'll be seeing one soon now. The possum and raccoons-adorable just not in my garden please.

  18. tina - I hadn't noticed any this spring, but lately I've been seeing a lot of them. If you look at them closely, you'll notice they don't look like they have a head! I couldn't get my camera to focus that well, but it has six eyes in a circle at the end. A very interesting spider indeed!

  19. Fascinating post. I love the photo of the spider on the rose.

  20. I love photographing the green lynx spiders - they are sooo cool. I really like the hairy detail on their legs...I'm a little weird!

    My goodness you've got a lot of critters around your place!

  21. Mac - It's a pretty spider, except for those hairy legs! :)

    Cat - The hair on their legs is quite spooky. Yes, we have a lot of critters. Perhaps if we didn't feed the dog outside...

  22. Holley, long, hairy arms on a spider (or anyone) are definitely a "keep away" sign! That raccoon looks about as sweet and innocent as your dog did... When I was little my family took a vacation in a place with lots of raccoons--I couldn't understand why my Dad wouldn't let me hug them, because they were so cute and cuddly, just like my stuffed animals. (Later I understood!!)

  23. Stacy - I'm glad your dad didn't let you hug the raccoons!!! They do look cute. It's too bad they're so destructive.


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