I was watching Toby's new Bob the Builder DVD the other day and one of the episodes was titled "Bob saves the porcupines". I had to laugh! It has been translated from English into 'American' so Bob suddenly has a pretty dodgy accent! :) And of course the episode was originally hedgehogs but I realised they don't have hedgehogs here so kids would not have a clue what the brown spiky things crossing the road in front of Roly were!
At the house here, in addition to worrying about mice (one built a nest in Jeremy's car whilst we were on home leave and he only realised when he could smell burning under the bonnet!) we have chipmunks and moles to contend with. The front yard is littered with mole holes and the chipmunks cause chaos, tunnelling under the concrete driveway, digging in my plant pots and chewing anything they can get their teeth into in the garage.
I thought they were really cute and was excited to see them when we first arrived but now that I have soil all over the decking and my plants are suffering, I am not such a fan and understand why the neighbour puts out traps for them.
We also struggle with ants - big fat ones that find their way into the house. We found dozens of them in the food pantry and had to get a pest control company out twice to deal with them. The houses are made with a timber frame so apart from the fact it's horrible having ants crawling all over the counter, goodness knows what damage they could do to the house!
Ticks are a big problem. Our yard is lined with trees and there is a big park at the back. Both kids have been bitten by ticks. They turn your stomach when you have to get a tight hold of them with tweezers and pull them off! They are strong little 'bugs'! The advice is to keep them in a plastic bag to show the doctor if the child becomes sick (with lyme disease). Nice!
The biggest disappointment for me after we moved here was the mosquitoes. I had a vision of warm summer evenings sat out on the deck, drinking wine and reading a good book. But last year the mosquitoes put pay to that plan. Right around 5pm they would start coming out and biting. By bed time I could have been bitten a dozen times and man do I react badly to them... I come out in huge red bites - just one bite can cause my whole forearm to swell up and I itch for days. So this year we decided to get a company to come and spray the front and back yard to get rid of the mosquitoes and ticks. I wasn't sure if it was working (as I had forgotten how bad they were last year) until we went over the road and I got bitten 6 times on my bottom in only 5 minutes!! Dollars well spent with the mosquito squad I think!!
Toby was delighted yesterday morning, to see a 'bunny rabbit' happily munching away on the grass that lines the path up to our front door. I was not too happy in the evening to discover my first only pepper so far, that had just started to grow in the pot, had been eaten! Chipmunk? Rabbit? Who knows but I am seeing our furry friends in a whole new light!
When driving round Michigan, you have to be on the look out for deer. They can do serious damage to your car and the advice is to hit them head on, because if you try to swerve you will probably end up driving into a tree. I have only had to avoid one so far but I have also had a racoon run out in front of me and plenty of smaller things like chipmunks. Running up and down the local roads, I see plenty of road kill... squirrels, racoons and rabbits. Not exactly pleasant in this heat!!
The other unusual (for us) animal we see or more often hear, are coyotes! They are like big dogs and are apparently more scared of us than we are of them but I do not intend putting that theory to the test! We can hear them howling in the park at the back of the house at night.
I nearly jumped out of my skin when I found this huge bug dead in the back yard... A Cicada apparently! Yuk!
And I couldn't quite believe it when I saw a post on our neighbourhood website telling us to leave the traps alone in the ponds round the neighbourhood as critter control were trying to (humanely) capture beavers who were destroying trees round the ponds!
Sometimes it feels like a different world over here!