I live in Chesapeake, Virginia. Technically, I live in a swamp. The Great Dismal Swamp to be exact. Life is abundant here. On most summer days I am either cursing the flies or the mosquitos (the mosquitos are happy to kill you). How I came to live here is one of the great mysteries of my life. It just kinda’ happened …eleven years ago.
I regularly tell my wife I want to move but today, while going through some old pictures I got a little does of reality. There is some really cool stuff living around here. We have a great chain kingsnake population, copperheads are abundant (and beautiful) and Chesapeake is the northermost range of the canebrake rattlesnake. We don’t have green or brown anoles here but if I drive 20-30 minutes south you can find them without too much problem. That has always been odd to me. It doesn’t seem to be too different down there but something sure is keeping them away.
Anyway, here are a few pics taken of animals in my back yard (and it’s not a terribly big yard). And these are just the pics I took when I happened to have a camera with me. I’ve seen a lot more cool stuff over the years on my front deck and in my back yard.
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The dreaded Black Widow Spider. I’m not a spider guy but these things are beautiful. I leave them alone and they leave me alone. That’s our arrangement. This one made its way into my garage. I safely relocated her to a wood pile on the side of my house. I have seen several of these around (and under) my house over the years. Chesapeake has tons of spiders. They are absolutely everywhere. The good news is that you don’t see many other types of bugs. The spiders crush em’.[singlepic id=89 w=150 float=left]
I see a few snakes every year. This is a garter snake that was by my AC unit out back. I have also seen black rat snakes and a copperhead around the house. I have never seen a kingsnake or a rattlesnake anywhere in my neighborhood. I would love to find a canebrake rattlesnake. They are crazy protected in Virginia, though. I’m not in to hot stuff anyway.[singlepic id=90 w=150 float=left]
This is a Southern Toad (to the best of my taxonomic skills, at least). He lives under my house and has been doing so for more than a year. I’m always careful when I’m around his normal part of the yard. My wife and I are quite fond of him and my Weimaraner is always good to leave it alone.[singlepic id=91 w=150 float=left]
We have a lot of Green Tree Frogs that live under the siding around our house. This one is a little baby that was on my back porch. My wife is crazy about these guys. To her they are all named ‘George’ and by my count we have more Georges than England.
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There is a pond just behind my house and it has a lot of turtles. Each year we find quite a few turtles in the yard. We have seen Eastern Box Turtles as well as a lot of Yellow Bellied Sliders like you see in the picture. What’s so cool is that they come into our yard and lay their eggs. The picture of the mud hole is actually the result of a female turtle digging to lay her eggs. We get several of these each year. It’s too cool. I haven’t been able to witness any hatchings yet but I keep hoping…[singlepic id=94 w=150 float=left]
As for the flies I complain about. At the right time of year they are pretty abundant, too. Too abundant for me. Here is a fly trap (two of em’) that I put out in my back yard last year. I took the picture about 36 hours after putting it out. Foul. Yeah, the bag on the left is pretty much full of flies.