A Day of Crazy Florida Wildlife

Spider crab

I was up early and looked out my bedroom window into the backyard. There was a black mound, which I suspected was a turtle. I love turtles! Only recently have I seen a turtle, so this was number two, and he wasn’t the same one that was moseying down the road a few days ago.

Animal Surprise #1

Wild Florida box turtle in the backyard
Box turtle with damaged shell

This Box Turtle showed up in the backyard. The photo is not the greatest because I had to take it from my bedroom window, otherwise he would duck his head inside. Guess he is camera shy. I thought he had a bird poop on his shell, but it turns out it is a hack mark. He had other marks along the far side of his shell. With all the ridiculous population growth in this state, wildlife has it tough these days. Who knows what this little guy has had to put up with!

I’m unfamiliar with types of turtles, except for the Gopher tortoise which is a threatened species now, thanks to destroyed habitat. I had to look up the name of this turtle. According to Wikipedia the Box Turtle lives in Florida and southern Georgia. I love his shell markings. It looks like images of the sun a child would make.

He / she was headed to a shallow container of water I leave on the ground for my cats, birds, and other creatures who need it. We interrupted him when I let my cats out for the day…. so sorry little guy. I now know this turtle enjoys sitting in water, but not swimming. I moved the water closer to the woods in case he comes back.

Animal #2 – Unwanted Intruder

As I was putting my clean dishes away, which were drying overnight on the kitchen counter, I moved one of the two plates stacked upright against the wall and discovered a frog was happily sleeping there.

Frog on plate in the kitchen
Really?

Now I didn’t want the frog hopping off the plate and jumping all over the kitchen. As it was, I would have to re-wash all the dishes because I just didn’t know where he’d been before he found this sweet napping spot.

I lifted the plate slowly and took it out the back door where I set it down for him to hop off as he pleased. Good froggy.

Living in Florida means getting used to having creatures inside the house. Over the many years I’ve lived in this state we’ve had snakes, frogs, (huge) spiders and even scorpions (small, not like those southwestern scorpions) in the house. People who move to “paradise” believe they should not have to contend with such undesirable (yet typical for this climate) wildlife, so they poison the heck out of their yards. This kills every type of bug out there so the bug-eating animals either have nothing to eat, or get poisoned themselves.

I could go on and on, but lets just say that greed is killing this state and the wildlife along with it.

Speaking of killing, we have Ring cameras (affiliate link, I may earn money from this link, but at no cost to you) set up around the outside of our house (because it is Florida – no, it’s not paradise folks, there is lots of crime here) and we caught a possum climbing up the stucco wall to snatch a frog off our outdoor light! That is where these frogs sleep, when they aren’t in my kitchen. Come to think of it, that frog may have had his best night’s sleep on my plate knowing the possum couldn’t reach him.

After two animal encounters within my first hour of waking, I figured it was a day for wildlife. Let’s go boating! Maybe we’ll see a whale.

Animal #3, The Creepy One

After I photographed (badly) the turtle, and dealt with the frog, my son and I took the boat out to our usual spots along the Indian River. Yup, time to see what surprises the waterway holds.

Sure enough, it was there, while walking along in the shallows searching for cool shells (I found some of those too), that I saw this strange-looking thing scooting along in the sand.

Spider crab in shallow water Indian River backwater
What do you see? Crab or spider?

The water was very clear and I thought it was a big crab coming at me. (I’m guessing the size was around 10 inches across!). Crabs usually scurry quickly away when I approach, but this one kept coming as if I wasn’t even there. As it got closer I knew it was not a normal crab. In fact, it creeped me out. It did look like a giant spider encrusted with … stuff. I have no idea what was all over the top of it, or what that red spot was.

I had been researching Florida crabs in order to write a page about the variety and I remembered the book had mentioned a “Spider Crab”. This had to be one. I found Spider Crabs at Wikipedia with ten legs, this one has eight. I also can’t see any claws.

I read that Spider Crabs can’t see very well, and he didn’t seem to mind me at all. He was a bit scary because I am totally unfamiliar with this animal. I had no idea if they are poisonous, if they sting, bite, pinch, or what. I kept my distance and got some photos as he walked along the sand. I have to say he is one of the ugliest things I’ve seen in the wild.

Read more about the spider crab at my page here.

5 thoughts on “A Day of Crazy Florida Wildlife

  1. Pingback: Amazingly Detailed Spire of the Channeled Whelk – Seashells by Millhill

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