Last Updated: 11/12/13
These are some very short, fun true stories that I have written concerning interesting things that have happened at my pond. Each story is followed by links to other of my web pages that contain information about the animals in the stories.
The Frog and the Dragonfly
The Frogs and the Butterflies
The Head-Less Snake
The Magic Turtle
The Fawn and the Net
For more stories, see the back issues of my pond newsletters. I have put many stories in there now.
When my 1800 gallon pond was in its first year and young green frogs were emerging from their tadpole state, I came across a bizarre struggle for life and death in my pond. A green frog more than two inches in length was struggling to escape with its life. Its foot was in the grips of a dragonfly nymph's pincers. How the dragonfly thought it would eat such a huge meal was beyond me. The frog must have weighed ten times that of its tormentor. I grabbed them both to try to pry them apart. I cannot remember how I achieved it but I got them separated and both were fine. I always thought the nymph probably got the frog later that day.
For information on frogs: Frog Page
For information on dragonflies: Insect Page
It became a sort of game and a ritual. If I had a moment or I made a moment, I would go to the
big windows and look out over the 1800 gallon pond. Out over the half dozen water lily flowers
glistening in the sun and at the dozens of fluttering monarchs and tiger swallowtails, I would
gaze. But something sinister was lurking. A butterfly lands on a lily flower to suck its sweet
nectar. Then, in an instant, the pond is a swirling mass of splashing water and bodies slamming
into each other, and the butterfly. In the next instant, a half dozen green bodies wrestle for their
prize, the mutilated body of a once gorgeous butterfly. They slam into each other with their
mouths open. One lucky green frog wolfs down his victim. Then, everything calms down. The
hunt begins again.
This story was repeated almost every warm summer day 1997-1999. By 1999, bullfrogs showed up and took over. They kicked the green frogs out to my smaller ponds where no lilies bloom. Since bullfrogs don't tolerate many other bullfrogs, there's not too much fighting over butterflies anymore. There's also not many water lily blooms anymore (despite repotting and fertilizing). Now, things are much more dull for the frogs and I but much safer for the butterflies!
For information on frogs: Frog Page
The North American Butterfly Association
The cute little garter snake had visited my pond at least twice. Once, he was seen undulating across the surface. I thought I'd seen some exotic water snake but upon looking him up in my reptile identification book, he was just a garter snake. He returned another day to sun himself on the rocks. Then, came the fateful day when I found him for the final time. I had just fed the fish and was walking around the pond as I do every day to check for problems. Then, I saw the snake. He wasn't moving which was odd. I retrieved a long stick and picked him up out of the water. What greeted me was a head-less snake. Poor guy! I think the raccoon ate his head off. Raccoons do that, and a raccoon comes by most nights to eat leftovers and create general havoc. Luckily, the raccoon can't get to my adult fish due to the cliffs and general depth. He sometimes knocks over plant pots in the shallows though and probably eats some small fish I wouldn't notice missing. While months before I had feared for the young fishes' lives with the snake in the water, now I wished I could do anything to bring him back to life.
For information on snakes and raccoons: Pond Mammals, Birds, and Snakes Page
One summer day in 2000, my brother yelled to me, "Hey, Robyn, come here! There's a turtle in your pond!" I asked, "Is it a box turtle." The response was no. Visions of a painted turtle flashed through my mind. Yes, a turtle finally found my pond! In three years, not a single turtle had showed up to my 1800 gallon or other ponds. There were only a few ponds within a mile of our home, and I'd never seen turtles there. I hoped it wasn't a snapper (the only aquatic turtle I'd ever seen within 5 miles of our home). I rushed over to the pond edge, "Where, where?!" He pointed to the overflow shallows among the parrot feather and forget-me-not. My eyes fixed on the turtle. It was a familiar sight, our resident adult female Eastern box turtle. She had laid eggs in the mulch around the pond in 1999 (I don't think they every hatched). We had known her all our lives since box turtle can live more than 100 years. She looked up at me with her brown doe eyes, "What did you expect?" I told my brother he was stupid. He just said box turtles don't swim. Well, they don't. She had plopped into the shallows for a drink and couldn't scale the wall back out. Luckily, the pond has plenty of shallow spots and areas on which she could haul out. I took her out and moved her to the edge of the trees. She was a bit cold and waterlogged but soon left on her way. But, for one moment, I thought I might see my first painted turtle in the wild, in MY pond!
For information on turtles: Turtle Page
It was a day like any other: Get up at 6 am so I can leave by 8 am for work, shower, feed the dog, cats, myself, lizard, indoor fish, lizard, turkey, rabbits, and what was that?! I was outside when I heard a very loud splash. This was the biggest whoosh I'd ever heard! It was late October, and I was almost ready to feed the pond fish. The leaf net had been on the pond only a week or so. I ran over to the side of the house. The net was collapsed into the pond and bedraggled. Standing on the rocks was a buck fawn who'd just lost his spots. He looked at me as if to say, "What, I didn't do anything!" I went over to find a few hand size holes in the net as the baby trotted off to his mother to ask why deer can't walk across leaf nets. It took me 10 minutes to re-anchor the net and pull it taught as baby had pulled many of the plastic holding pins out of the mulch. I was late for work again. When you have as many animals as I do, something unforseen always occurs! At least that day, it wasn't cat vomit or an unfortunate death. Instead, I had the dumb look the fawn gave me imprinted in my mind forever!
For information on deer: Deer Page
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