Remember the old TV show called “Sometimes Kids say the Darndest Things?” Welcome to my version of that show called “Sometimes Critters do the Darndest Things.” My brother Joe recently told me a story that fits right in with my story line this week.
He owns 200 acres in southeastern Ohio that is nothing but forest, and could easily be off-the-grid if he wanted it to be. He has a nice cabin way off the road, and as all good cabins should, it has a covered porch running its entire length. The driveway is ten feet or so below the porch, and at the bottom of a steep drive lays a creek which is another several feet below the main driveway. At the bottom along the creek is a deer feeder built atop railroad ties to keep it safe from the resident wild pigs. As the crow flies, the deer feeder is probably seventy-five yards from the porch and is the gathering place for all manner of wildlife morning, noon and night. Most visitors are welcome at the feeder with the exception of raccoons, which are bullies and will pig-out on the easy meal if allowed.
One evening recently Joe stepped out onto the porch after dark to investigate a skirmish at the feeder below, to find a raccoon slurping up the easy meal of corn spit out by the feeder. He shot the coon and heard it splash backwards into the creek and went to bed. The next morning while enjoying his coffee on the porch, he noticed something rolling and splashing in the creek below. He walked down to the creek and there were two big snapping turtles, each attached with a death grip to opposite ends of the raccoon carcass. They would fight and roll until one got the upper hand and was above the water. When the other turtle finally needed air, the fight was on again until that turtle was above water, and so-on and so-forth; seems like a fitting way for the raccoon to go!
Some friends of ours make crafts in a workshop attached to one of their big machinery sheds via a big door which they often keep open to provide a breeze while they work. For some time this summer a large toad had taken up residence in one corner of the workshop and was welcome as it basically ate bugs and stayed out-of-the-way. One day recently as they worked there, our friends wife kept hearing strange noises coming from that corner of the shop. Upon investigation they found a medium sized snake with the resident toad buried “legs first” in its mouth up to the waist where its legs began. The problem was that one leg was buried in its mouth but the other leg was outside, making it impossible for the snake to ever swallow the toad any further. The noises they heard came from the tug-of-war that was under way between the two. The toad would attempt to crawl away from the snake with its one operable leg, then the snake would try in vain to suck the toad deeper into its mouth. Back and forth they went until my friend killed the snake and removed the hapless toad, which then limped away, dragging its “swallowed” leg.
Yes, sometimes critters do the darndest things, and if we are blessed enough to be at the right place at the right time we can see quite a show. At least critters have an excuse; they do those things to survive, where we humans usually do them out of stupidity! Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org