Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Gopher Mowpher? No Sir!

Mrs. FC was mowing around the house and garden area last week, when she stopped suddenly and called me over.

I was cutting brush along a fence line with my new, uber sweet kukri machete when I heard the mower stop and her call to "Come Quick!"

My first thought was, "Oh, she must have another carnivorous katydid up her pants ... what are the odds of two in a week?"

(WHAT? ... I didn't tell you about the carnivorous katydid?  One morning her truck would not start, so we had the hood up and jumper cables connecting it to my JEEP. While we leaned on the truck and peered at the engine the way people do in that situation, she began to hop around clutching the leg of her nursing scrubs, while shouting, "Take my pants off! Take my pants off!"
It was pretty funny (and unexpected) so I guess I must have been standing there in shocked amazement, because she took matters in to her own hands and flipped her waistband down long just enough for a big brown carnivorous katydid to hop out.

This was one of those times when it's especially good that we live way out in the country without neighbors. 
 Her truck never started by the way, and she headed off to work in my JEEP with a pretty unusual start to her day.)

On this day, it was not another katydid attack, but rather a young gopher tortoise who happened to be directly in the path of the mower when she spotted it.

That was close.
Good job, Mrs. FC.

This guy has no concept of how lucky he is.
First he lives here, where we love his company and even manage parts of the property just for his benefit.
Second, we don't mow very often so the chances of a bad blade encounter are small to start with. In fact, due to the horrible drought which broke last week (after I wrote about it), we have mowed exactly two times this year.
Third, Mrs. FC happened to be paying close attention as she mowed.
This little guy might be last year's tiny yellow gopher I posted about at the time.

He's too big and past that hatchling yellow stage to be the motorcycle rescued gopher from a month or so ago.

Because it was nearby, I placed him in the runway to G-5's (Gopher #5) burrow, expecting him to scramble into the safety of the cool darkness.
He did not.
So I nudged him gently.

Unfortunately, due to the extreme slope of G-5's burrow entrance, when I nudged him he tumbled out of sight into the dark tunnel.


What if he was in there on his back?
Sometimes they can right themselves, but sometimes they can not and it is a slow death if they can not get back upright.

I peered into the darkness, but could not see him.

I dashed back into the house, grabbed the bazillion candlepower boat spotlight and returned.
At the top of the burrow, I put myself in a prone position so I was leaning upside down over the burrow entrance.
When the very powerful spotlight fired up, there was the little gopher, right side up crawling towards me.

I think I may name this one LUCKY if he decides to stick around PFHQ.


threecollie said...


robin andrea said...

A carnivorous katydid! Yikes.

Beautiful little gopher tortoise, and lucky to have found his home at PFHQ. I hope sticks around.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

That young GT looks so tiny in the big runway of the tortoise hole. I hope he finds a cavern of his own where he will be comfortable. I about fell out of my chair laughing about the Carnivorous katydid. I am sure I would have nearly the same reaction if one got into my clothing even though I am not afraid of them. Just the feel of those type of bugs clinging to my skin. UGH...

Sayre said...

My husband found a smallish GT hanging out by our garbage cans this morning. No idea where he came from or where he was going. We didn't really have anywhere to put him, so trusted that he knew where he was going and left him alone.

Thunder Dave said...

He is indeed lucky to be on your spread.

Caroline said...

We don't have carnivorous katydids here that I know of, but daughter #3 has periodic arachnoleptic fits that sound exactly like Mrs. FC's katydid incident. Apologies to Mrs. FC, but the narrative made me laugh right out loud. :o)

Anonymous said...

Please tell Mrs. Fc to STOP MOWING! Thunder might get some crazy idea that I could/would this! Just a reminder...I'm a Princess and we don't mow!

Island Rider said...

3 cheers for Mrs. FC.

Julie Zickefoose said...

AWWW!! Teeny tiny itty bitty gopher and not mowed at that.
Three cheers for Mrs. FC on the sharp eyes and the slapstick, too.

Anonymous said...

Hah, well I'm trying to figure out why it took you so long, not to take her pants off. she was asking? I think most men would jump @ this opportunity!!!
I've shucked clothes people or not when varmits get close to me, usually spiders. I dang near tore down a bathroom door trying to get away from a spider that fell in a tub with me.

Dani said...

Great save by the missus!

Floridacracker said...

Gophers are slow cool.

Even the hoppers bite down here!

True, they are a bit creepy when on ya.

That is often the very best tactic. Just let them carry on.
Had we not been mowing, I would have done the same with this one.

As am I.

I too do a heck of a spider dance when I bump into webs.

Dave wants a mower for Christmas.

Cathy S,
She did good.

I wish I had it on video. It was rich.

I know. I think it was just the context. LOL!
I was not expecting that request while standing in the morning heat while trying to jumpstart a truck.
I need to be more flexible.

It would have been a bummer of a day had she not.

Sally said...

The gopher is also lucky that you were thoughtful to make sure he had a safe landing. :-)

Miz S said...

Ha ha! That's a great story! And the story-within-a-story was great, too. Yay Mr. and Mrs. FC!!

Anonymous said...

I've been away too long - but it's good to see you're still making florida safe for the natives. Glad the tortoise story had a happy ending.