Thursday, September 10, 2015

Does This Guinea Think he is a Turkey?

A guinea traveling with wild turkey.

The other morning as hubby and I were having breakfast, we notice a rafter of turkey passing through the front yard, but there was something unusual about this group of turkey. As we looked closer, we noticed there was a guinea in the group. 

I couldn’t resist, I had to get a picture of this unusual sight! We had to wonder why this guinea was traveling with a group of wild turkey. Perhaps, the turkey wandered through his “neck of the woods” and he thought traveling with them would be an adventure. 

Whatever the reason is, the guinea has remained with the turkey for several days now. We continue to see them pass through our yard either of a morning or in the evening. I wonder if the guinea knows he is a guinea and not a turkey. I wonder what the turkey think about him. 

The turkey don’t seem to mind the guinea in their group. As a matter of fact, he is usually right up in front with the leader of “the pack”. I wonder how long he will stay with the turkey and will he find a turkey mate? Hmmm, what would you call any offspring, a turguinea? 

I am anxious to see how long he, or she stays with the turkey!

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Question Mark Butterfly

The Question Mark Butterfly

I took this picture of this beautiful little butterfly while on a walk with our youngest granddaughter, Jazzy a little while back. She and I love to go walking and I always have my camera with me. These little butterflies were drinking from puddles of water from the recent rains we have had. There were probably 20 or more of these beauties flitting around us. One of them even landed on top of Jazzy head. She immediately said, “Take a picture, Nanni!” 

Jazzy with Butterfly on her head.

This little beauty is called a “question mark” butterfly as on the brownish underside of its wings is a small white mark that looks similar to a question mark. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture of underside as they wouldn’t be still long enough with their wings folded up.

The question mark butterfly is common on our area of southern Oklahoma and they can be found in most areas of the eastern and central US. They like to perch on leaves or tree trunks and can often be found on the ground drinking from small water puddles, as these were.

They have a wing span of 2 ¼ - 3 inches and their forewings are “hooked” and are a reddish orange color with black spots. The upper side of the hindwings are mostly black with a short tail in summer. In winter the tail is more orange with a violet tip. They are very similar to the “comma” butterfly, which has a small white comma shape on the underside of its wings.

The adult female lays her eggs on the underside of leaves, but usually not on the host plants. The caterpillars must find the host plants themselves. Some of the question mark butterfly host plants are false nettle, nettle and hackberry as well as hostas.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

The Horny Toad – A Blood Shooting Horned Lizard

Photo Source: Public Domain Pictures  Texas Horned Lizard
 This unusual looking creature is commonly known as the “Horny Toad”, but is real name is horned lizard. He gets the name Horny Toad from the “horns” on the back of his head and his round squatty body and his short blunt nose, resembling a toad. The “horns” or spines on its back and sides, are not actually horns but modified scales. However, the horns on its head are actually horns being made up of a bony material and not scales.

Photo courtesy of 
Michael Elliott at

The horny toad has a couple of unusual and amazing features, not only does this lizard actually have real horns, but when threatened, he can “puff up” to appear much larger than he is, to hopefully scare off any predators with his ominous appearance. If that doesn’t work, most horned lizards can actually shoot a stream of blood out of the corner of their eyes! They can squirt this blood up to 3 to 5 feet in distance and their aim is exceptional! The aim for their predator’s eyes, trying to temporarily blind them, they will also aim for the mouth as the blood will leave a terrible taste in their mouth and hopefully the predator will decide to leave them alone.

The horny toad lives in desert climates if the US. There are approximately 15 different species of horned lizards in the US. The largest of these is the Texas horned lizard which is 3 to 6 inches long. They are normally found in arid regions such as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and parts of Mexico. In 1993, the Texas horned lizard was designated as the state reptile of Texas and it is actually illegal to capture, transport or keep a Texas horned lizard in the state of Texas and they have been declared a “threatened species”.

Photo courtesy of 
Michael Elliott at
The population of the Texas horned lizard has declined drastically over the last several decades. I can remember playing with them when I was a kid, but I rarely see one anymore. One reason for this decline is in the decline in the number of carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are a major staple food for horned lizards and the number of carpenter ants are on the decline as well. They will also eat other types of ants, bees, beetles, termites and other small insects.

The “Horney Toad” or horned lizard is definitely an unusual creature and are harmless to humans, however, if you see one, don’t try to take it home for a pet. Let it live on and multiply, I would have to see these wonderful reptiles disappear!