Readers’ wildlife photos

Time to send in your wildlife photos. I’ve a decent backlog, but can always use more. Today we’ll have urban wildlife: a series sent in by reader Darrell Ernst. His notes are indented.

Our cat, Coco Chanel, likes to go outside though she doesn’t go very far. Usually not out of sight of the door let alone out of our yard. She also prefers to have one of her people hang out with her while she is outside. A few days ago Coco was sitting outside our front door with my daughter when she suddenly perked up and slithered away to check something out. It was a snake! A black racer, Coluber constrictor priapus. These snakes are fast, aggressive and have a habit of raising the front third or so of their body off the ground as they race along, much like a black mamba. Luckily they are not dangerous, at least not to something the size of a cat.


Luckily Brianna had her camera close at hand. A chase ensued, but ended when the snake suddenly reared up which stopped Coco in her tracks. That last picture is the look she gives her people when she is looking for some assurance that her life is not in danger. Coco likes to pretend she is a great hunter, but she isn’t. She doesn’t know what to do once she closes with something, which is more than fine with us. She has never hurt anything larger than an insect.


Disclaimer: Coco is not an outdoor cat; she is not let out to roam as she will. She is let out under supervision for short periods and usually doesn’t wander more than 20′ from the door.

Closer to home, I’m feeding a bunch of squirrels (is there a biological name for such a group?) daily. This one poked his head through an open window to get a nut:


  1. Posted May 28, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Very good! And I love the cat name Coco Chanel.

  2. DrBeydon
    Posted May 28, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    A dray/drey or a scurry of squirrels, apparently.

    • Lurker111
      Posted May 29, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      And I refer to peanuts as “squirrel larvae.”


  3. Raymond Little
    Posted May 28, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Googled collective nouns (gaggle of geese, murder of crows, etc.). Colony, dray or scurry of squirrels are listed. I’d go with the last one.

  4. Merilee
    Posted May 28, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Great kitty+snake shots!

  5. Posted May 28, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    When he was in college, he and a roommate fed a squirrel through their dorm room window. It occurred to them to lure the squirrel into the room. By gradually placing food further and further into the room over several days, they managed that.

    Then they shut the window.

    Total chaos ensued. The squirrel dashed with amazing speed along every desk and other surface, knocking everything to the floor in search of escape. Virtually everything breakable was broken by the time the young men opened the window and the squirrel found it to escape.

    (Just a warning for my favorite squirrel charmer.)

  6. Posted May 28, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Should have reread closer what I wrote. The “he” in the paragraph above was my father.

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted May 28, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Certainly, the tertiary name is apt, if for the folklore of this species alone. Both the natural history and the folklore of Coluber constrictor priapus are fascinating. Though it’s harmless, because of its aggressive behavior and the way it mimics poisonous snakes, in Southern folk culture it is regarded as poisonous and specifically sexually aggressive, even toward humans. ‘Naturally’ these and other traits led to folklore which replicated and amplified these beliefs, and in the American South, all this got mixed up with race and racial stereotypes: hypersexualized blacks and hypersexualized snakes, terrified white women.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 28, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Oh, dear, more conceptual phalluses. Its the Daze of the Dickheads.

      • Colin McLachlan
        Posted May 29, 2017 at 3:45 am | Permalink

        Daze of the Dickheads.

        Is that a new collective noun – a daze of dickheads?

  8. Mark R.
    Posted May 28, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I love the last photo of Coco “pointing”…at least that’s what it’s called when a d*g does it.

  9. kevin7alexander
    Posted May 29, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    It’s an asylum of squirrels.

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