A skink! Bats! A snake! Tree frog! Last week was chockful of wildlife I’ve never seen “just outside my door” before.
I live in a suburban development, designed to be manicured and precise, structured by HOA rules. It was built in the ‘80s and even for a town home, I have a nice little yard, there’s open space, and the builder included a variety of trees. But 25 years later, the homes and associated plantings are getting older; some of us (including myself) have more “natural areas” in our yard (aka unkempt gardens); and some homes are in disarray or empty. We now have much more vegetation and natural spots in our little community. And it’s bringing more wildlife!
I had never even seen a skink at any time until a few years ago. One day this week, I was sitting by at my front window and something caught my eye. It was crawling on the narrow concrete slab that serves as a porch. I watched it for awhile; went out to get a pic; but like other wildlife that dash off as soon as you reach for your camera, it skiddled away. I think it was this species:
Photo of Adult Common Five-lined Skink courtesy of Matt Sell / Maryland Department of Natural Resources website
Arriving home at dusk one evening, my next-door neighbor came out to warn me there were bats flying around. I said “Oh good!!” He said, “No oh good” and then he told me how bats get into your hair and one was aiming for him and he had to duck and swat the bat away. I explained to him all that is not true and that the bat was going for a mosquito and why bats are good to have around. He looked completely non-convinced and nowhere as excited as I was to have bats flying around our neighborhood. (I need to work on my “Bats are good!” elevator speech.) This is how my neighbor looked when describing the bats:
I did not see any bats that night. But next morning, sitting on my back deck before sunrise, I was lucky to get three sightings.
While washing dishes in my kitchen, I heard a child outdoors shout “There’s a snake!” The mom asked where, and the child shouted it was along the edge of a fence (my fence of course). I didn’t get out there fast enough to see it myself. But there have been several postings on my community’s Facebook page of a wild snake making its rounds. No idea yet of what species it is; folks are either disgusted that a snake is in our neighborhood yet others, like me, are excited. I’m guessing it’s a common black ratsnake, like this:
Photo of Adult Eastern Ratsnake courtesy of John White / Maryland Department of Natural Resources website
A Tree Frog!
Oh, how I love frogs! I’ve heard some calls every so often at my house. And one year, I raised a few tadpoles. But that’s the extent of frogs at my house. But the other morning, I started to take out the recycling, and this little guy was on the lid of the recycling bin.
I watched him for awhile, and checked on him throughout the morning, and then he hopped away.
A great week for “rare” wildlife just outside my door!