Lightning Bugs, and other Critters

Over the last few weeks I have seen lightning bugs around the yard in the evenings. This, for me, is a real treat because I have not seen them at all since I was a kid growing up in Orlando.
It’s been raining almost every day recently; I know the rest of the country – out west, mostly, is experiencing drought conditions of scary proportions. But this is Florida, and it’s summer, so it’s gonna rain. The critters need it, I guess.
And there are lots and lots of critters here in Florida (no, I do not refer to tourists). We’ve got everything from my lightning bugs to mayflies, to deer and horse and yellow flies (they all bite), to mosquitoes (this IS Florida), wasps, hornets and bees, gekkos, lizards, toads and frogs, spiders galore (some marvelous, enormous web spinners), crickets of all sorts, snakes (you name and it lives quite happily in Florida), bobcats, cougars, deer and bears, hogs and critters I have yet to see.
The property where I’m staying is inside the Silver River State Park near Ocala, Florida. It is right alongside the Ocala National Forest, which is quite a large piece of property in its own right. Right at the start of deer season while the hunters start to pack their gear into their trucks , many of the deer will slip quietly into the Silver River State park, where they know they are safe from the hunters.
It gets so crowded in here the deer will stand in the middle of the roads and trails inside the park and watch the visitors gawk at them. They have no fear, here, and no need for fear.
Only a month or so ago, The State of Florida decided to remove the “Endangered Species” label from the Black Bear (the Florida gator has also lost that protection). Both the bear and gator population have grown so large they have pushed into the suburbs in search of food (and many foolish people feed them). I have on several occasions seen adult bears walking across suburban lawns in broad daylight. Needless to say, this poses a danger to children, adults and pets. Alligators, too, are reported when they are seen in canals and back yards all over the State. It is not at all unusual to see gators moving from one pond to another in search of food.
If you do, stay well away, and call Animal Control. You, too, are food.
I suppose that when hunting licenses for bears are issued we will see lots and lots of black bears show up, standing in the roads and trails inside the Park, gawking at the visitors.

That should be interesting.


About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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One Response to Lightning Bugs, and other Critters

  1. Diane S. Loftis says:

    I could handle the small critters. For instance, the lightning bugs! I know myself well enough to say- you would probably find me chasing after them with a mason jar or such in my hand! As far as the snakes, gators, and bears… oh my!

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