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Archive for September, 2010

Orphan baby raccoons taken to Lindsay Wildlife Museum for care

Baby raccoons, photo by Sharon Metcalf, Moraga, CA
raccoons, sharon metcalf, cyberspace

These baby raccoons were discovered after we had our spa removed. They
are covered in insulation because the mom was raising them inside the spa
installation.  Unfortunate for the mom, she escaped in another town
because, unknown to us she was hiding inside the spa (while it was being moved). The babies are healthy and being cared for at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s Wildlife Hospital in Walnut Creek, Calif.
Sharon Metcalf, Moraga, CA

Taking the raccoon babies to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum was a good move. They are one of the top wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers in the country. When the raccoon babies are old enough, they will be rehabilitated back into the wild where they belong. Thanks for caring! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
Under: Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Raccoons | 1 Comment »

Some spiders eat their old webs and spin them in a new spot

Orb weaver garden spider and web by Kathy Zach, Walnut Creek, CA
web, kathy zach, wc

I happened to notice this large, tan, sort of furry spider hanging out in the center of his beautiful orb web yesterday.  So I snapped his photo which I am sending for you to see.  What is amazing is that when I woke up this morning to see him, there was nothing there.  Not one strand of web left behind.  Do spiders eat their webs when they move to a new place? I am glad I took this photo so I know I am not having a senior moment.
Kathy Zach, Walnut Creek, California

Some orb weaver garden spiders eat their webs. Spider web silk is made from protein. By eating the old webs, spiders can recycle the silk/protein and use it to make new webs. So in a sense, they can pick up (eat) their old webs and move (re-spin) them. Clever creatures, aren’t they? /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
Under: Spider web, Spiders | 2 Comments »

Cooper’s hawk having a mourning dove for breakfast

Cooper’s hawk and dove feathers. Photo by Robin van der Bijl, Clayton, CA
coop, robin van der bijl, clayton

Hi Gary:
I opened the bedroom shade one morning and saw feathers swirling all over the place. As they began to settle, I saw the cause.
Robin van der Bijl, Clayton, California

Hi Robin:
Ah, yes, a Cooper’s hawk “inviting” a mourning dove out to breakfast. That’s a pretty wild backyard you have. /Gary

Posted on Monday, September 13th, 2010
Under: Cooper's hawk, Mourning dove | 1 Comment »

Yosemite bobcat with a fat (slow) squirrel in its mouth

Yosemite bobcat with fat squirrel. Photo by Mary Anne Johnson, Oakley, CA
bobcat, mary anne johnson, oakley

I took this photo in Yosemite on the trail going to Yosemite Falls on Sunday, August 15.  It was about  8:30 a.m. We were the only ones on the trail when we spotted the bobcat running alongside the trail.  Then he ran right in front of us and into the rocks on the other side.  It was very exciting.  I had two visitors with me from France and they were enthralled.   The day before my son saw a sign telling people not to feed the squirrels because they become fat and the bobcats can catch them easily. Sure enough, this is (or was) one fat squirrel.
Mary Anne Johnson, Oakley, California

Mary Anne:
Look at the legs on that cat! Long, lanky, and fast enough to catch even a skinny squirrel! Thanks for sharing your photo with us. /Gary

Posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010
Under: Bobcats, Squirrels | 1 Comment »

Local wildlife: More beautiful photos by Dave Harper of Oakley

Buckeye butterfly, photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
buckeye, dave harper, oakley

More photographs from our photographer friend Dave Harper of Oakley, Calif. Dave is one of the many talented local photographers who regularly send me great photos of local wildlife. Enjoy!

If you have interesting wildlife photos you’d like to share, please e-mail copies to Include photographer’s name, city where you live and any other interesting info. I’m sure others would like to see them. Thanks. /Gary
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Under: Butterflies, Jays, Wasps, Wildlife | 1 Comment »

Tarantulas: pictures of young and an adult tarantulas

Baby tarantula photo by Connie Muir, Castro Valley, CA
baby tarantula, connie muir, c vly

I took this pic in Castro Valley — unfortunately in my laundry room.  Many people who have seen the above picture argue that this is not a tarantula.  I have been told it is a wolf spider.  I know that the male tarantula comes out in the Fall looking for a mate.  I took this picture about two years ago around October.  Please settle this dispute once and for all.  I would like to think it is a Tarantula.
Connie Muir, Castro Valley, Calif.

Your thinking is correct. The above photo is a young tarantula. The picture below is an adult tarantula. These are beautiful, gentle (unless you are a tasty insect) spiders. /Gary

Adult tarantula photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA

Posted on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
Under: Spiders, Tarantulas | 2 Comments »

Spider web tent: Do spiders go camping?

Spider tent. Photo by Matty Kilpatrick, Walnut Creek, CA
spiders camping, matty kilpatrick, wc

Thought you might enjoy this picture … do spiders go camping?!
Matty K., Walnut Creek

Nice spider web tent! Too bad you didn’t get a picture of their little silk spider web sleeping bags (just kidding!). /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
Under: Spider web, Spiders | No Comments »

Red foxes, Bogey & Birdie, Monarch Bay Golf Course, San Leandro

Red foxes photo by Geralyne Gong, San Leandro, member of Tony Lema Women’s Golf Club,  San Leandro, CA.
lynette mladinich, san leandro

Perhaps you will consider the attached photo for your Pet of the Week.  No, they are not pets!  This is “Bogey” and “Birdie” who reside at the Monarch Bay Golf Course in San Leandro, CA.  Members of the Tony Lema 18 Hole Golf Club often see these cute little foxes on the course and one of our members got the perfect shot. Enjoy!
Lynette Mladinich,Tony Lema Women’s Golf Club

I think these beautiful young red foxes are better displayed here in my blog, in living color, rather than in black and white with my column. I remember another pair of young red foxes at a Walnut Creek golf course a few years ago that used to hang around the 9th hole and steal golf balls. Better keep an eye on your balls! FORE! /Gary

Posted on Friday, September 3rd, 2010
Under: Foxes, Red foxes | 1 Comment »

Preparing for disasters: Include your animals in your plan

Dog trapped on roof by flooding. (Noah’s Wish photo)
dog rescue1

September is National Preparedness Month. The American Veterinary Medical Association just sent me the following information to help remind us that when we prepare for disasters, we should also include our animals in our plans. Whether it’s earthquakes, hurricanes, grass fires, or whatever, we should have some sort of plan for dealing with it. Please read the following information. You may need to take advantage of it one of these days. /Gary

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a participant in the 7th Annual National Preparedness Month sponsored by the Federal Emergency Agency’s Ready Campaign, encourages you to take action now to prepare for emergencies.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
Under: Disaster plan for pets, Disasters | No Comments »

Protect Coyote: Promotes coexistence between people & coyotes

Coyote on Mount Diablo (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)

Project Coyote, in Larkspur, CA, is a very interesting and important nonprofit organization. My friend Camilla Fox is the founder and executive director and the mission of her organization is “to promote educated coexistence between people and coyotes and to advocate of behalf of America’s native Song Dog.” I’m definitely for that! It’s time we humans stopped persecuting these beautiful animals.

The latest issue of project Coyote’s “Coyote News” is now available. Check it out. It’s a pretty good read:

You can learn more about Project Coyote at They need your support. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Under: coyotes, Project Coyote | No Comments »