Tag Archives: animal

Pick On Someone Your Own Size!

Little Monkey

So Little Monkey got charged by a snarling, barking dog again.

Not as horrific as you might be thinking.

This particular monster was a very young Labrador puppy and barely came up to LM’s ankles!

It shot out of its house, ran right across the road and went straight for LM, snarling, yapping, barking and snapping.

LM was a bit surprised and was just about to react when I put her behind me and faced the little rat. I easily stopped it by bending down and grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and its harness.

A man working at the house (not the owner of the pup) came rushing over, picked up the puppy and took it back inside.

We were both laughing at the puppy’s antics.

It was hilarious!

But in a year or two, when it is fully grown and weighing 30 kg, it won’t be so funny!




Baboon Spider 1

You know you’re a Blogger when, on seeing a Baboon Spider on the kitchen wall, you stop your husband from putting it outside until you’ve grabbed your camera and taken a photo of it for your Blog!

Baboon Spider 2

I got my husband to hold a ruler near it so you can see the size. Note: This is a small one!

He couldn’t hold the ruler any closer or it would have run away. Also, out of deference to my more arachnid-challenged readers, I have made my photos small. Hopefully you do not spill your coffee this morning when you open my post!


Baboon Spiders are harmless to us – unless of course you have a heart attack on seeing one! As I said, this one is a small guy and yes he most likely is a guy, as the females tend to stay in their nests while the guys roam around looking for mates. They normally live outside in my vines (not the grape vines – the other ones) where the female can build a large egg sac of folded over leaves, wound round and sealed with silken thread, keeping her babies safe inside.

Still, they do give me a bit of a fright when I come across one when trimming the vines. They are just so big!

Even so, I have seen a wasp kill one and drag the heavy body up the side of the house to stuff it in a crack in between the bricks, where it will lay an egg on it. The wasp was pretty big too and had those dangly stingers which really hurt if they just touch you.

OK my post is over; you can open your eyes now!


Elephant Grass

Elephant in Elephant Grass

You would never think that you could possibly miss seeing an elephant, but it happened to my husband and me in the Addo Elephant National Park many years ago.

We drove through the reserve towards the water hole where the game ranger had told us elephant had recently been spotted. Not once along the way did we see any elephants!

Finally, towards the end of the trail, we heard a noise behind us and quickly looked round. We spotted the back end of a massive elephant as it crossed the road behind us, only to disappear into the jungle of tall vegetation again.

Who knew something as large as an elephant could hide so well?


post script: Of course, this particular photo is not the back end of an elephant disappearing into elephant grass, but rather a teeny toadstool that sprouted in my lawn after a little rain. Gotcha??


Baby Sparky Learns to Swim!

Squirrel 2

I had thought that all mammals could swim, except for the sloth, which I have since seen swimming in a nature documentary and the giraffe, which might not swim too well, but somehow manages not to drown. (I don’t think he’s very good at the backstroke though.)

Apparently large apes such as gorillas and orangutans cannot swim. Of course, neither can humans naturally, unless taught, and then we swim very well. Still, it is odd to see animals swimming that are not normally associated with water.

Did you know that squirrels can swim quite well?

My husband was out in the garden with Little Monkey when they came across two squirrels. One was an adult and one a kit; a baby. When the squirrels saw LM they scarpered; the adult up a tree and the baby straight into the pool!

The first I knew about it was my husband calling me saying there was a squirrel in the pool. Sadly no photos of the actual event as we were too busy saving Baby Sparky from drowning!

Baby Sparky

I ran to the back door where I could see the baby squirrel doing the “doggy” paddle in the pool. My husband was getting the pool net ready to rescue the baby and Little Monkey was trotting across the lawn, at that moment unaware of Sparky in the pool.

I called LM into the house and shut the door. This was the first course of action as far as I was concerned. By the time I’d done this, my husband had placed the pool net in the pool and the baby had jumped onto it and straight out into the bushes.

Sparky was only in the pool for a few seconds and was swimming well when I saw him, but still, it must have been quite a shock. Swimming is not a natural activity for a squirrel and the water was icy cold!

Good to know he survived his ordeal, but he still has a lot to learn.

Baby Sparky 2

Later, when I spotted many squirrels in my garden I grabbed my camera to snatch a few shots. The adults immediately disappeared up a tree, whereas the youngster hung around, not too sure what to do!

Hopefully he quickly becomes a little more ‘garden’ savvy!


Split Second Reaction

LM 1

I was walking my old girl Little Monkey after the rains, through the local patch of forest by the soccer field.

I noticed a large number of Guinea Fowl milling about under one of the trees, so was watching them in case they did anything daft, when a black and white Border Collie suddenly appeared running straight for the birds. The dog saw us and was about to change direction and run up to us instead.

I had to stop this, so quickly put LM behind me and faced the collie, emanating in dog language, “Back Off!”

Fortunately my ‘dog’ is good and the Border Collie got the message and just waited.

By this time I had LM in a full down (with a loose lead, for all those people I meet on my walks who tell me that dogs react because they’re on the lead!)

Finally a young guy appeared, jogging. He ran straight past us, ignoring me and making no attempt to call his dog. I just stood there, between the two dogs. After a while the Border Collie ran after his owner.

Phew! Encounter averted.

We carried on with our walk, towards the Guinea Fowl that LM would ignore.

We had only gone a few steps when suddenly, again with no warning, there was a massive beige dog galloping towards us. It was just there out of the trees. This dog was bigger than my friend’s Greyhound. I’m not sure what it was; Greyhound cross Great Dane cross Hound of the Baskervilles?

It would have to run right by us to carry on down the path.

This is when I had a split second to react in.

I knew with absolute certainty that LM was going to charge this dog. The suddenness of its appearance and the fact that it was running towards us, was more than enough to flick that reactive switch in her little brain. It wasn’t its size, but these other factors. She would react the same way to a Chihuahua; and has done so in the past!

Here was my dilemma.

LM was going to charge the dog.

If I kept hold of the lead she was going to wrench my right arm and shoulder – again.

This was going to hurt – a lot!

I wasn’t going to go through that amount of excruciating pain again if I could help it.

I had that millisecond to assess the giant running dog.

I read it as not overly dominant and non-aggressive.

I placed LM’s lead over her back, in a vain attempt to save it from dragging through the newly wet ground and getting dirty.

She shot off, as I never doubted she would do, charging the giant dog and barking. AwffAwffAwff.

She stopped just short of it, without making contact, as I knew she would.

The giant dog stopped dead in its tracks.

Then LM circled round behind it, feeling a bit overwhelmed now she was so close to it.

The giant dog just stood there, no doubt wondering what was wrong with LM! Luckily I had read it right. It was well-balanced and non-aggressive.

The two dogs sort of interacted a bit, then the big dog ran off after his absent master, leaving LM dragging her lead through the dirt.

I called her and made her come all the way back to me (only a few metres) because she had run off after all.

LM Always looking for trouble

Then we carried on our walk, with me shaking my head again, over the behaviour of my ancient unbalanced dog, that is forever going to be reactive!

And though this has taken a long time for you to read and even longer for me to write, the whole incident was over in seconds; the decision on what to do, in a split second!


So just how quickly do we react? Apparently it takes our brains about 152 milliseconds to act on a thought.


post script: I have written many times in the past as to why LM is like this. Short answer, she was not socialised for the first eighteen months of her life, before I adopted her. That part of her brain did not fully develop and then never would. Taking her to dog socialising classes every week for the whole eleven years that I have had her, has definitely helped. Our own Dog Whisperer says Little Monkey is the most difficult dog he has ever come across; and he has helped hundreds of dogs over the decades. LM mixes with all sorts of dogs of all ages, breeds, sizes and social abilities, but she is never going to replace that “missing link” in her brain.

That’s OK though, because she is my Little Monkey and is very much a part of the family. After all, she accepts me just the way I am.