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Wild animals in your yard and around your home.

posted by jp-30 on - last edited - Viewed by 3.1K users

I have this thread on my other 'home' forum, and figure it could work well here too.

Living on the edge of a large section of native forest reserve means I get some pretty cool bugs & birds visiting the yard. So I'd like to present a "Look what I found in my yard today" thread where hopefully you might learn a little about New Zealand fauna as you check out what I have photographed.

Everyone else is encouraged to contribute with photos of wild animals from their own yards, of course, but I do ask that you provide actual photos you have taken (don't have to be good quality), not just links to other's photos of the same animal found on the internet. But you can provide links to wikipedia or whatever so people can find out more about the animals you're presenting (and see better photos!).

Try and size your photos down to 'forum-width friendly' too, if you can.

Without further ado, here's my first creature;

Cave Weta

cw3.jpgcw2.jpgcw1.jpg

Wetas are a primitive cricket. There are several distinct species (yes, that's what Peter Jackson named his FX company after - an in-joke can be seen in the King Kong trailer when a swarm of giant Weta attack Jack Black's character). The Cave Weta has huge spindly legs and long antenna and can jump a couple of metres at a time. This one would be about 20-25cm long if its legs were fully stretched out including antennae). They are harmless, though because of their size and ability to jump so high, they do frighten people.

One of the cats brought this guy in, but I rescued it before any damage was done. And even though they're more common in caves, they live in all sorts of dark secluded areas.

And as this is the opening post, here's a couple more...

Here is a lovely Tree Weta in our courtyard which, while similar looking to the Cave Weta above is actually from a different order altogether. The kids found it in their playhouse last week. They're a primitive cricket, and in the shot on the planter box he's trying to scare us away by raising his hind legs and splaying his jaws & waving his antenna around wildly. Mighty impressive. The head-to-body length which you can see better in the picture in he tree is about 7cm. A pretty good specimen all round.

treeweta1.jpgtreeweta2.jpg

This hedgehog had fallen down a drain in our path. So I put on a glove & pulled him out. He was a decent size too. Goodness knows how long he was stuck down there, but considering the rain we'd had, I'd say probably less than 2 days.

hedgehog1.jpghedgehog2.jpg

Hedgehogs were introduced to NZ by european settlers. They're a bit of a pest, raiding the nests of our numerous ground-dwelling birds etc, but you don't see them too often. And they are kinda cute.


OK, now show me yours!

97 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I'm relieved you did post pictures of spiders, considering I'm arachnophobic. If anyone wants to post some, please warn before you do :)

    I haven't checked for small animals at all (by the way, your second cricket-thingie, in the first picture, looks like it's pulling its tongue or something lol. What is it, actually?).

    There was a stray cats who followed us home and adopted us, his name is Lumpy because he was, well, Lumpy (he had two hernias). He might have gone to us for help or something. He was definitely a stray and not a lost or abandoned pet. That was in October.
    Here are recent pictures:


    Lumpy posing (seriously, he only looks all proud like that for the camera):

    1zlf18g.jpg

    Lumpy being normal:

    vihf90.jpg

    We live by a river. In late October, or maybe early November, we saw on the other side of the river what seemed to be a dark brown cat. Then we saw a second one a bit further, but I noticed it was carrying a branch in its mouth. Something didn't compute, and that's when we realised they were beavers.
    Although the river was partially frozen, they were building a dam on it. We looked at them for a bit then left. I don't have any pictures though.

  • I have some fantastic spider pics to post, but I will hide them in spoiler tags.

    I can understand some people being scared of spiders, but can't really get my head around being afraid of pictures of spiders. Oh well.

    I'm not too sure about the finer points of Weta mouth parts, but yes, that flap does look like a tongue in the first Tree Weta picture.

  • @jp-30 said: I have some fantastic spider pics to post, but I will hide them in spoiler tags.

    I can understand some people being scared of spiders, but can't really get my head around being afraid of pictures of spiders. Oh well.

    Well, I used to have a panic attack when I read/heard the word in any language (as long as I knew what it meant) so I'm doing much better already!
    I don't think you can post pictures in spoilers though. They appear anyways, I think. Maybe linking to them would work?

    It's not like the fear is rational (actually, I think it can only be called a phobia if it's irrational), I'm not scared of them biting me or anything, just of their appearance I guess, so it really doesn't change much if they're in front of me or in a picture. The only difference is how to deal with it (hide the picture vs call my husband xD)

  • You're right, pictures don't get hidden by spoiler tags.

    Hmm, not sure what I'll do yet, it'll ruin the flow of the thread to only give links. And if we have to avoid posting spiders for arachnophobes, then we'll have to avoid posting snakes, birds, rodents, frogs... and anything else people might be afraid of.

    I'll give good warning & spoiler space though when I do post spider photos, I promise.

  • Yeah, and there are people who have a phobia of cats and I already posted pictures, and so on. You can't really post pictures of anything if you have to be careful about everyone else. So don't worry about it, as long as you keep saying before a picture what it's a picture of I'll just make sure not to scroll down if it's a spider.

    I used to love phasms. Someone I knew had lots of them as pets, they're awesome. I didn't really stop loving them as much as I stopped seeing any. I still think they're pretty awesome.

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    Shauntron Telltale Staff

    My backyard has like four oak trees, which makes it a squirrel park! I took a video of those critters, maybe I will post it...

  • You should! We don't have any native land mammals in New Zealand*, so animals like raccoons and squirrels really fascinate me.


    * We do have a lot of introduced animals that have become pests like possums, hedgehogs, rats, mice, rabbits, weasels, ferrets, stoats, deer, goats, pigs etc.

  • Oh man, I saw an awesome animated gif recently. It had a GIANT SPIDER and it was being swarmed by enough smaller spiders to have their tiny little bodies completely cover every bit of the large spider's body. I don't know if they were baby spiders swarming and eating their mother(as I think at least some spiders are wont to do), but it looked amazing.

    ...

    Oh, and yeah, we only get the common squirrel around here, and those things are about as camera shy as they are boring.

    @Avistew said: Something didn't computer, and that's when we realised they were beavers.


    I'm not sure if that's just a typo or if you got the phrase wrong, and I'm not sure if I'm being a jerk by pointing this out, but that should be "didn't compute". A "computer" is a thing that "computes"(reckons/calculates/deduces by means of calculation/etc), rather than the act of deducing/adding something up/realizing something by means of deduction/etc.

  • Squirrels are boring to you, but not to people who live in countries without squirrels.

    Also, Dashing, do typos really need all that explanation?


    This native owl (also found in Australia and the South Pacific islands) called a Morepork in NZ due to its distinctive 2-note call was sitting on the power lines outside our house last week.

    morepork1.jpg

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    Nice thread, jp-30.

    @Shauntron said: My backyard has like four oak trees, which makes it a squirrel park! I took a video of those critters, maybe I will post it...

    @Shauntron said: we only get the common squirrel around here, and those things are about as camera shy as they are boring.

    I love squirrels! The way they move is so fluid and graceful, they're lovely to watch. I don't find them boring at all, maybe because I'd never seen one until a few years ago. I'll take some pics of the grey squirrels in the park/graveyard behind my building to post later.

    For now, here are some fat little robins. They're so bright and round, I always enjoy seeing them. Both of these photos were taken in winter last year.

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    Males and females have the same colouring. These are European robins, which are different to American robins.

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