Thursday, May 25, 2006



This is an old photo from my Park Ranger days. I took it while sitting under a cabbage palm, waiting out a light rain, on Rattlesnake Island. I had been sent into the island to destroy a group of feral hogs that were shredding the place.The hogs are exotic species and were a threat to nesting seabirds and gopher tortoises.

As I sat beneath the palm fronds, my attention was drawn to movement to my left. A huge wolf spider ( I read somewhere, that we have the largest species of wolf spider here in FL) came tumbling across the sand with a buzzy blur of red and indigo attached to it. A wasp was frantically grappling and stinging the spider.The spider seemed to succumb pretty quickly to the wasp's paralyzing venom, and soon was still.

The wasp would flit up and then back to it's prey, crawling all over it, turning it, and then dragging it. Dragging it seemed to be a problem as the spider was enormous, but the wasp, in it's biorobotic way, kept at it.

After a while, it dragged it into the surrounding brush to some hidden burrow where the spider no doubt served as a meal for a wasp larva.

The rain, which had been falling all through this drama slackened. I brushed the sand from my knees and elbows, then headed into the woods to resume my chore.

(note to phototechnogeeks: Taken on K64 with Minolta SRT-201, normal lens with screw on macro adapters. This photo is a great one to demonstrate depth of field to newbie 'tographers) Posted by Picasa


thingfish23 said...

Fine job on the photos (and command of DOF) Fc.

And a fine eye for the arthropods ye have.

The posts I have up today should serve as a fitting digestif after this fine main course of bug-dom.

pablo said...

Feral hogs are becoming a problem in parts of rural Kansas. Oddly, landowners have been prohibited from "solving the problem" on their own. I'm not sure why this is the case. I heard something about how localized shooting will cause these herds to disperse even more. Anyway. Feral cats are the bane of bird hunters around Roundrock. They solve that problem with the 3S solution: shoot, shovel, shut up.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Very interesting picture and nice that you always have your camera with you. I like to sit and watch things also and yesterday I sat quietly while a little grey squirrel, near me, dug up nuts it had buried and was eating them...I didn't make a move because I didn't want to scare it away.

I also watched a snake capture a toad once and watched how he swallowed it very slowly until just two little toad feet were sticking out...then I had to save the toad...I couldn't help myself...the snake nor the toad were hurt in the end and, the toad after I gave it a bath in the creek, hopped away...and the snake went to find another meal.

roger said...

great action bug picture. did someone get to eat the feral pigs?

the snakes asked me to thank you for yesterday's good deed. i have nudged many snakes off roads, and moved a couple of rattlers out of gardens into the surrounding forest.

robin andrea said...

What a great old photograph. How exactly did you dispatch of the feral hogs?

Abandoned in Pasadena and I had a very similar snake and frog experience. When I bought ten acres in southern Oregon in 1973, it had a little piece of creek frontage. One day, I went to the creek and noticed a snake with part of a frog sticking out of its mouth. I got up slowly and somehow took that frog right out of the snake's mouth. I wouldn't do that again.

Hick said...

I think I'm hanging around with the wrong group. I was fascinated with your picture and story, but the comments here have me flummoxed. I cannot believe that anyone would take a toad out of a snake's mouth. Let alone two people...I have no words for that.

I still hate snakes.

Mrs. S said...

Strangely, I think this picture bothered me more than the snakes or the pig butt... bleh.

I still haven't enforced the "FC after breakfast" rule, but I'm thinking of it more and more every day. :P

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

That is an excellent photo FC, not just on the technical merits, but because nothing comes close (IMHO)to beating a well taken nature photo depicting creature behaviors. Good job!

Leslie said...

Great photo! I wanted to make it my wallpaper but it would either disappear behind my applications, get stretched all to heck, or make me crazy tiled. Alas.

Rattlesnake Island, Feral Hogs, Wolf Spiders, and Stinging Wasps. Sounds peaceful.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

So after you get holt of the feral hogs, what do you do with them? Ham? Bacon?

Floridacracker said...

Thanks, coming from the master, that's a goody.

I don't think a feral hog could ever compare to a feral cat in sheer destructive effect. The cat's are problematic legally, but in FL hogs on your property are your property and may be hunted year 'round.

Nice toad rescue. I imagine the snake was flummoxed.

sympatico on the snakes. the hogs became buzzard food.

I guess as long as you pick your snake carefully, frog/toad extraction is safe to do. Impressive.

yes, you do..."flummoxed".

Mrs. S,
I'll find something fluffy to break this bitey stingy trend.

Thanks! I agree, I like em in action too.

Pretty cool names huh?

guvmint property... pork not a park perk :)

Thunder Dave said...


Classic photo of the classic battle!
Sorry to hear about Katie's unfortunate incident, but glad to hear that she's OK and graduated!

Just to let you know, I've posted a couple of cyber postcards, if you get a chance check them out!

Ava said...

Great photo and great recount of the action that was taking place.

Enjoyed it very much!


Floridacracker said...

Great post about beer drinking...I mean touring Germany.

Thanks, sometimes you're in the right spot at the right time.

Wayne said...

Poor old wolf spider, but I know how you feel about that, FC.

Sorry to be late on this - it's a great photo and story! I can just about visualize the wasp's excitement from your writing! It's amazing how persistant and hard-working they are to drag that big old thing back to their lair.

And, btw, as someone who fights depth of field all the time, that *IS* a fantastic example.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks, I thought you might like this one considering your recent dauber posts.