I heard an amusing recounting of a true tale on the radio today by a man who grew up in Texas. When he was around 7 years old, he and his buddy decided they wanted to find "dangerous animals". They had some close encounters with a scorpion, a poisonous snake and some tarantulas which proved to be a little too hard on the nerves so they soon opted for more benign animals like turtles.
It got me thinking about the creatures that shared my childhood. Growing up in the country, there was no shortage of them. I had a soft spot for moths and toads as well as butterflies, daddylonglegs and crane flies. Beetles were interesting but I didn't like June bugs with their sticky feet. Inchworms were funny, and wooly bear caterpillars looked so friendly with their brown and black stripes. I didn't like buzzy things that could sting (I had a bad run in with a yellow jacket nest when I wasn't very old), or biting things that took chunks out of you (deerflies and horseflies) but I developed a pretty high tolerance for mosquitoes and black flies. You had to in the Laurentians or you would never go out in June or on a summer evening. We had insect repellent spray and nifty sticks of 6-12 repellent, that were the texture of deodorant, that we used around our ears and forehead, so we had some protection, but still the bugs could be pretty bad.
Down at the local swimming pond, there were lots of frogs to watch or catch, tadpoles to marvel at as they gradually transformed, sleepy turtles to inspect and little minnow fish to nibble our toes. You never knew what new and interesting bug or reptile you might see.
Add to all this, the usual animals - horses, cows, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, birds - that people kept, and the wild animals and birds. There was lots of LIFE to surprise us.
Pictures of green frog at www.mayjennygarden.wordpress.com