First off, I am not afraid. I AM NOT AFRAID. Life in the Hammock is a daily adventure. To have adventures, you must be brave. For a bunny, I am brave, very BRAVE. I have met a lot of creatures and found some excellent hiding places. Even a brave bunny needs to know when to hide. There are times when it would be just plain stupid not to.
Elephant Ear Plant
These Elephant Ears are nature’s umbrella. They keep me nice and dry in a downpour. I learned the hard way that I shouldn’t eat the leaves as they are poisonous. I nibbled on one once and it gave me a really bad tummyache.
They also make a super hideout when the hawks and eagles and owls are nearby.
Ospreys don’t usually bother me as there is plenty of their preferred meal–fish–in the sea. Still, they are pretty big, so I keep my eyes open.
I usually wait until these guys have stopped talking to each other before I venture out in the morning.
This one, in particular, seems to watch me through the leaves, but I am not afraid. I just keep still.
I eat a lot of grass. I don’t need to drink as much water as my domestic cousins that live in hutches.
Even though I don’t get that thirsty, after a fresh rainfall, this bromeliad makes it easy to get a long cool drink. I have to be careful of the spikes on the end of the leaves and I mustn’t eat it. It’s really tough, so I’m not actually interested.
Mosquitos love this water, too. Their bites to a bunny can make us blind, so this plant isn’t my first choice for refreshment.
A few months ago, there was a strong wind that they called a hurricane. I was asleep in my burrow when it passed through the Hammock. I didn’t hear a thing so I didn’t even have to be brave.
Oh my, did it look different when I came out. Actually, it was kind of cool with lots of places to hide where big trees were uprooted.
Just for a change, I didn’t have to worry about those crazy kids in their cars that sometimes vroomed by on the sand roads. Those cars are to blame for the disappearance of some of my friends.
Speaking of roads, this gopher tortoise ranges much farther than I do. I stay on my side of the A1A but not the tortoise. The good thing from his perspective is that drivers in Florida actually stop to let them cross. So if you wonder why all the cars are waiting, that’s the reason. He’s an important guy as more than 350 animal species use his burrows, besides me!
Don’t worry about those controlled burns that they like to do in Flagler County. Before people settled here, there were frequent fires every few years that got rid of those pesky pine trees that choked out the grasses and vegetation that the gopher tortoise relied on for food. Not to mention that those pines blocked the sunlight from reaching the ground and so made it difficult for them to control their body temperature and to find the right spots to nest.
I said that I was brave, but these reptiles give me the heeby-jeebies, and I am not kidding. They look so much like copperhead snakes that I won’t go near them. They aren’t. They are corn snakes. If I got close enough to see their underbellies I would know. I was told that the bellies resemble corn. I’m not getting close enough to verify.
These guys are all my neighbors. Mostly we get along.
I sort of hate to admit it, but Mr. Crow is pretty smart. He brings over stale bread crusts and soaks them in the bird bath to soften them up before he eats them.
Blue Dasher Dragonfly
I just found out that there are 16 species of Dragonflies and Damselflies in Florida. I have trouble telling them apart. The Damselfly is supposed to be smaller and rests with its wings folded back against its body. I’m probably jealous. They are very pretty and they can fly! I was always told to be careful what you wish for. They spend a large part of their life as pukey looking larvae and only a few months as an elegant dragonfly or damselfly.
These are my most egalitarian neighbors. The male and the female both feed their babies. The male sings to defend the nesting territory. Sometimes he even attacks his own reflection in windows and mirrors! He isn’t my smartest neighbor but I love his intensity.
Can you see the reason this fellow is called nine-banded? Those breaks in his armor let him flex his stiff hide. He eats bugs so I am not afraid of him. People get mad when he digs up their yards. If they would only water in the morning so the soil had a chance to harden before this big-as-a-cat mammal goes foraging at night, humans could just enjoy watching these little tanks.
I am going to be perfectly honest. Cats scare me to death. Some of my best bunny buddies have ended up on doorsteps. Keep your kitties inside. They find me great sport and seem to think that I look like a present for their owners. I am not afraid of them, I am terrified!
Nature is beautiful. Nature is real. Cats are scary. I thought I was brave. I thought I was not afraid. We all have fears and we should all know when to hide. Never be afraid to take the little risks that let you enjoy the wonders of Nature.