Never Smile at A Crocodile (and Other Cautionary Tales)

bunny alert blog

I thought it might be appropriate, as a follow-up to my post about our plant friends seeking world domination, to show you some of those from the animal kingdom that share our three and a half acres here at the Doublewide Ranch.

rat snake blog

(Rat snake in our driveway. I almost stepped on him because I was looking up at the sky.)

It’s amazing to me to observe how animals go about their daily business, adjusting without undue distress to our interruptions, intrusions, and insults. But then, who can say what they’re thinking, what goes on behind those whiskers, beneath those big furry ears, or even under that scaly armor? Who can forget the Hitchcock movie, The Birds?  *Shudder*  True story: My friend Kevin and I were eating lunch in a city park in Winston-Salem once when we suddenly realized we were surrounded by squirrels, who had gathered slowly and quietly, one at the time, until there were at least twenty circling us and closing in fast. We laughed nervously, quickly gathered our things, and practically ran out of there. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was more than a little spooked that day. And recently, at my favorite spot nearby on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Craggy Gardens, rangers closed the picnic grounds after a bear literally snatched a plate of chicken from right under a lady’s nose.

mockingbird in persimmon tree blog

(Mockingbird claiming our persimmon tree)

You may be laughing now, but one day you’ll remember my words. Or maybe one night—when you hear the mournful howls of coyotes in the darkness. Or when the Unseen rustle the underbrush as you pass. Or when you glimpse movement at the corner of your eye, only to see nothing there when you turn.

There was a really catchy Disney song (it was from Peter Pan, I think) from my children’s younger days that still goes through my head on occasion:

Never smile at a crocodile.
No, you can’t get friendly with a crocodile.
Don’t be taken in by his welcome grin–
He’s imagining how well you’d fit within his skin!
Never smile at a crocodile
Never tip your hat and stop to talk awhile
Never run, walk away, say good-night, not good-day
Clear the aisle but never smile at Mister Crocodile!

Good advice, I’d say. Respect our animal friends, but keep a proper distance (especially from crocodiles. And pit vipers. And Komodo dragons, maybe). Let them go about their animal business without interference. Without intrusions.

Let’s just hope and pray that their “animal business” doesn’t involve WORLD DOMINATION.

But, as always…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 🙂

Japanese and bald faced hornets eating sap blog

Giant Hornet and Baldfaced Hornet eat sap (at least, I think that’s what it is)

groundhog praying blog

This groundhog lives under Tom’s workshop. He has gotten fat from our apples and pears.  I guess that’s why they call them “hogs.”

bunny in the meadow blog

Sure, he looks innocent, but IS he?

rabbit on all fours blog

The first time I’d seen a rabbit up on all four legs.  Curious. And kind of funny. Perhaps he’s working on becoming bipedal?  Part of his devious plan for world domination?

squirrel eats big nut blog

Mmmm…this is a really tasty nut. And I’ve got it all to myself!  yum, yum…

squirrel with big nut blog

Hey, lady, get that camera outta my face!  Can’t a squirrel eat a nut in peace around here?

alert squirrel blog

Hey, lady!  Didn’t I tell you to get that camera out of my face? You wanna piece of me? And say, lady, didn’t I hear that you’re a little scared of squirrels?  Heh, heh, yeah…it was something about a certain squirrel incident in Winston-Salem….

15 Responses to “Never Smile at A Crocodile (and Other Cautionary Tales)”

  1. Pat Says:

    You crack me up.

  2. Jeff Says:

    Pat said it well – you’re hilarious!! The picture of the wasp is fabulous – how in the world do you capture such tiny critters so sharply? And the snake! How did you recover from your shock to snap a photo so quickly? I don’t know NC snakes, but are you sure that isn’t a black racer? “Our apples and pears”? Seems as though Mr. Groundhog is out to set you both straight! Animals taking over the world, indeed. I’m still smiling – what an amusing post!

  3. Betsy from Tennessee Says:

    Cute, Beth… You have such a gift for writing. I love your pictures of all of the ‘critters’ —and especially the captions. We had an old groundhog near our yard once—and he was eating our plants and flowers. We finally distracted him –and plugged up the entrances to his ‘home’… He left–and luckily, we haven’t had any trouble again.

    Cute post… Thanks!

  4. june Says:

    Thanks for the smiles…

  5. clairz Says:

    Wonderful post, Beth. You’ve got me smiling.

    I was out for a bike ride in my neighborhood, riding through back alleys, when I came across two large dogs on the loose. One stood in the path ahead of me, and when I got off my bike to decide what to do, I realized that the other one had quietly moved up behind me. I definitely had the feeling of being hunted, and of being prey. Very scary.

    I started dragging my bike along, trying to keep it between me and the closest dog, and yelling at them until I got back to the paved road. Never went down that alley again!

  6. Judy Says:

    Beth, Your imagination never ceases to amaze me! I just love all the stuff you come up with here. I don’t like squirrels because they remind me of rats with furry tails. We have a fish and wildlife preserve here and the geese will chase you for a piece of bread. Once, years ago, I was lying on a creekbank sunbathing by myself and opened my eyes and there were buzzards circling over me. I ran to the car and left. They must have thought I was dead! Have a great weekend.

  7. CountryDew Says:

    Those are some excellent close up shots.

  8. Martha Says:

    Oh, this was too funny! I especially loved the parts about the rabbits and the squirrels. I usually accuse the squirrels of being the thugs in the garden, but lately I’ve been wondering if it’s the rabbits that I should be focusing on. Sure they look sweet and innocent, but are they really?

  9. Clara Melvin Says:

    You must have the tamest critters in the world. They look like they could sit up and talk to you. Great pictures, Beth, as usual. Your post made me smile and I needed that!

  10. Jayne Says:

    Oh Beth… you crack me up!!! I’ll bet they all gather there at night and talk amongst themselves about the lady with the camera, don’t you think? Tee hee hee!

  11. colleen Says:

    I’m feeling all creepy in an Outer Limits way. Your story about the squirrels reminded me of the wild rabbit that used to come right up to us and sometimes it would lay under the car like a dog. It came so close with no fear that it unnerved me. It was around for about a week acting like that. I thought it must be mentally challenged for a rabbit. And then SADLY the dog got ahold of it.

  12. Benjamin Says:

    Cracks me up how the squirrel has his fighting claws extended–you think he carries around brass knuckles? And yes–that groundhog really is far too fat for his own good…

  13. Di Says:

    We have lots of wildlife too and they can be creepy sometimes… sneak up on you. Snakes totally creep me out and I run screaming for the house!!


  14. Debi Kelly Van Cleave Says:

    “You want a piece of me?” Beth, you’re too funny. And you know so much about the critters. Like the types of hornets those are. Kurt and I just always call that big one a “rare king bee.” We got the peeps up north in the city thinking there really is such a thing, lol. And how do you get such close-up pictures?! My goodness!

  15. ~ Sil in Corea Says:

    Back in the days of black-and-white TV, my kids didn’t know what color Cookie Monster was. There was a stone wall behind our house with a groundhog living under it. They used to go out and put cookies on the wall, then come in and sit looking out the back door, as if they were watching TV, waiting for “the cookie monster” to come up and eat. 😉

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