Daytime Surprise

It must’ve been the clouds that convinced this primarily nocturnal Atlantic Ghost Crab (Ocypode Quadrata) to open its burrow and venture out. Even though they are pretty good at matching their surroundings, these crabs are a favorite food of gulls, hence their preference for the nighttime hours.

As you can tell from the numerous trails around the hole, the species name ocypode (from Ancient Greek meaning “fast feet”) is rather fitting. These speedy critters dine on anything from sea turtle eggs and hatchlings to other crabs to mole crabs (similar to ones I discussed while living on the Oregon coast).

It was fun to catch a quick glimpse!

When Life Gives You Berries

I was driving home when I saw a handwritten, cardboard sign by the road, “Free Raspberries.” As a big berry lover I was not one to pass up this deal (especially when the sign uses my favorite four-letter word).

It didn’t bother me one bit that the berries were not, in fact, as advertised (black instead of red). After some washing and pureeing (with a bit of sugar) I ended up with four large jars of blackberry syrup. It’ll be perfect over ice cream or pancakes, as the base for bbq sauce, or even as a fruity mixer for drinks.

Berry-licious!

Helpful Hopper

I disturbed this Southern Toad’s (Anaxyrus terrestris) daily routine with one of my recent digging projects. I was pleased to discover this nocturnal hopper in my yard since they are known to devour roaches and other nighttime creepy crawlies.

As a true toad it is toothless, covered in warts, and sports two parotoid glands. An effective defense mechanism, the toad can secrete a toxin from these glands that deters predation.

Thankfully for dog owners, the Southern Toad’s poison is not nearly as powerful as that of the non-native Cane Toad (now found throughout Florida) or the Sonoran Desert Toad out west. Years ago, I had to rinse out the mouth of a dog that made the terrible mistake of trying to chew on one, Shelby never did that again!

Welcome to my ‘hood, little one. May you live long and prosper!