Warning! Although there will be no images with this post, it’s topic is going to be some of the truly grisly bits of nature–so you may not wish to read further. I will try to keep warning along the way.
As gardeners, we get immune to certain things, right? That’s what I thought. Bugs? No problem. I have even mostly overcome my fear of spiders (except for those huge, hopping grass spiders. They’re fine outside. I still freak out if one gets in the house!)
I have never been afraid of snakes. I am even okay with most critters, including rats. (Squeamish alert–stop reading if rats freak you out!) Trust me, I have had a rat run over my foot and I didn’t even flinch. This is why I figured I was pretty good with “critters.”
My backyard pond gives me another chance to interact–and not “in a good way” with the wildlife. Despite my best attempts, things fall in and drown and I need to remove their carcasses. I will spare you the litany of animals I have removed (no household pets, just wild creatures, if that makes it better–I am not sure I am consoled by that).
And then of course, our resident hawks often leave evidence of their hunting prowess around, as do our great horned owls. So I can confidently say that I have handled–and for the squeamish, you may want to not read here–more dead things–than most folks.
And for the squeamish, again, stop right now, because this is even a bit much for me. This is how I know I am just not cut out for life on a farm.
A little over a week ago, a car hit a squirrel. I know this because I see it on our daily walks–3 times daily, in fact–with my dog. Thankfully, she misses everything but live squirrels, chipmunks and birds. She has missed bears running across the road in front of us (thank goodness) and coyotes doing the same. Thank goodness the coyotes were apparently not interested in us either.
Because the squirrel was out of the stream of traffic, it stayed relatively “preserved” for a few days. Flies found it and a few days later, it was covered in “fly larva.” I will leave it to your imagination as to what those are. There were so many that they completely moved off the little carcass and moved down the street. Then they disappeared.
Presumably because of their activity, the body has now compressed, for lack of a better word. Almost nothing is left of the head but an open jaw. The fur pelt is still there, but it appears almost empty. This is a fascinating (if somewhat stomach clenching) view of nature at work.
So that’s how I know that I am just truly a city slicker at heart. Faced with this tiny example of “wild kingdom” on my street, it’s all I can do to keep my lunch.