Flora and fauna

I just went to weigh myself, and a tiny gecko shot out from under the scales and crawled part way up the wall. I’ve managed to catch him and reunite him with his lizard friends on the back porch. I’d love to know how he made it upstairs. The squirrels have been leaving us alone since we came back from England. I wondered if they were sulking, but then I saw that the trees were all suddenly bearing black walnuts and live oak acorns.

May is here…

…and that means it’s roach season again. Our first wood roach of the year just visited. They live outside in the trees, which are quite delightfully wet right now due to the ongoing thunderstorm. There’s also lots of nice damp mulch out there, I bet they enjoy that too. Yes, I admit it, I squealed. While I’m getting used to the little buggers by now, the first one of the season is always an unpleasant surprise.

Symbol of peace? Tell it to the squirrels

We now have 3 female squirrels visiting us who are either pregnant or nursing. Today one was feeding when a second turned up with two young squirrels in tow. The latecomer was chased off, and the youngsters proceeded to spend most of the rest of the afternoon playing in the treetops. I seem to have started an interspecies conflict, however. One of the doves has worked out that there’s often sunflower seed to be had on the rear deck.

Tooth and claw (and beak)

On Friday, I was gazing out into the back yard when I saw a hawk swoop towards the house, turn to the side at the last moment, and try to grab a squirrel from the fence. I’m glad to report that he failed, but the squirrel was clearly very disturbed by his near death encounter. He leapt onto the trunk of the nearest tree, and called out—a type of sound I hadn’t heard from a squirrel before.

Who was that masked critter?

I’ve encountered another of those real life true stories so bizarre that in a year’s time I’m probably going to think I dreamed it. Herman Göring’s Nazi raccoons are invading Europe. I think that’s even better than the Fanta story.

Not about layout engines

I found the missing gecko. He had crawled into the wastebasket. Tonight was trash night, and I emptied it into a black sack, then put the sack in the trash—at which point the gecko shot out into the bin. I managed to catch him in a jar, and took a good look at him. Definitely a mediterranean gecko. I took him out to the back yard, and released him under the deck to rejoin his family.

Door to door car insurance salesman

There is a gecko somewhere in my office. Not sure how he got into the house, but he was spotted in the downstairs bathroom. We attempted to catch him—for his own safety, and purely out of concern for his wellbeing—but he hid behind a box of PC parts and a stationery cabinet. So mental note to self for tomorrow morning: tread carefully.


In case the cockroach wasn’t enough: We went to the Post Office. About a block away from our house, we encountered a car that had stopped to let a snake cross a driveway. The snake was about a meter long, brown, with diamond patterning. He didn’t seem to have a rattle. He probably eats squirrels… Update: probably an Eastern Hognose Snake.


We now have at least 4 different squirrels visiting us on a regular basis. I know this because I’ve seen all 4 in the garden at once. We put up a squirrel bungee with a corn cob on the end, and often one aboreal rodent will chow at the feed box while another gets some exercise. They occasionally chase each other, but they don’t seem to be too territorial yet; maybe later in the year?

Texas wildlife

There’s a jumping spider in the room. He is quite the most speedy, agile and cunning spider I have ever encountered. Just now he leapt up and grabbed a power cord to use as an easy route behind the Linux box. He can jump over 20cm, and can spot an upturned beaker at a similar distance and recognize it as hostile. Since he’s only about 1.5cm across, I’m not too bothered by him.