Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What makes the ticks tick

People have a lot of bad things to say about ticks. Actually, people probably only have one bad thing to say about ticks. They just say it a lot.

Supposedly it's only the females that suck blood. They hang out in the grass until some warm blooded animal happens by. Then they go for a ride, find a spot to nestle down (usually behind some animal's ear or something), and gorge themselves on blood. The get so full they can't hold on anymore, and they fall off and lay eggs somewhere.
It sounds like a pretty boring existence.

And as much as I dislike ticks in general, if you ever just look at one tick, it's kind of fascinating.
It's hard to notice a tick unless it's crawling on you. And despite their name, wood ticks like to hang out in the grass. Also, if you follow all rules and stay on the trail where you're supposed to be, then they'll pretty much be avoided all together.
I have a job that gets me off the main trail. And sometimes, if I slow down and look around instead of trudge through to get from one spot to the next, I get a chance to see something really interesting.
I noticed somehow out of the corner of my eye a tick in the grass. As I got closer this tick, only a few millimeters in size (well, the size of a tick), I saw that it started to reach out with its arms... or a couple of its legs... you know what I mean.

And after the initial reaction of, "Those jerks! Hanging around trying to catch a ride and a meal. I hate ticks!" ... after that initial reaction, I realized hmmmm... that's actually pretty interesting.

Of course I didn't have a camera with me that first time, so these photos are staged. But you have to admit, it's kind of cool... in a weird and creepy way.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Put those kitties away!

So I was sitting at the table searching the internet for a good way to cook brussel sprouts and I heard this noise. Well, I wasn't sure what would make a noise like that, but I knew it couldn't be good. So I went outside and found a cat in my yard. I hissed at it and it ran away, and then I saw something small and brownish-grayish go under the porch. I got crouched down to see what it was....

Turns out that cat had been trying to kill this poor, little, baby bunny! Right outside my door!
Don't get me wrong, I regularly curse city rabbits and their garden eating shenanigans, but what's worse than rabbits eating my lettuce? Outdoor kitties, that's what!
I don't dislike cats or cat lovers; I just don't get it. They're not my thing. But if someone is going to go ahead and have a cat, then they should go ahead and keep it inside. Sure, people have cats to eat the mice in the barn, but this is Minneapolis. I haven't seen any barns in my neighborhood. And there's the fact that outdoor cats kill millions of birds every year. But on top of that, I certainly don't want cats running around in my yard torturing baby animals!

I mean, look at this face...
Would you really want him to suffer?

I ended up giving him a look over. One of his legs was bleeding and there was a chunk of his flesh missing from his belly. I took him to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville.