Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Great Crayfish Rescue!

Hi Folks!

Welcome back! Thanks for stopping by!

I want to tell you about an interesting experience I had yesterday. We've been having some spring-like temperatures on and off for a couple of weeks, and yesterday was a fine example: the sun was shining, the sky was a brilliant blue, and I was in desperate need of some exercise. I set off for a walk around the neighborhood late in the afternoon.

I usually walk around this area filled with nothing but ranch houses; visually, it's pretty boring. Everyone's inside waiting for warmer weather, so I don't even get the pleasure of a wave or a "hello!" On walks like that, I generally just let my mind wander, paying little or no attention to what's around me. Luckily, though, when the leaf in the street started walking toward me, I had the presence of mind to stop and get a better look.

You may have noticed from pictures on my website that I wear glasses. The prescription is up-to-date, too, so I can't blame my poor vision on old lenses. Personally, I think that wires get crossed in my brain and don't translate things properly, for the "leaf" that I initially saw walking toward me turned out to be a very large crayfish! I haven't seen one of those since I was a kid!

You can imagine my surprise. How on earth did a water-critter end up on the pavement a good mile away from the nearest creek?! I wondered if the over-flowing drains had anything to do with it. Like, maybe the poor thing got swept away by a strong current and ended up being spit out of a drainage grate in the street. It was the only explanation I could come up with.

He looked an awful lot like a spider with all those legs. And I hate spiders. But there was no question of leaving him in the street to be run over. Moving him into someone's yard didn't seem to fit the bill, either. He belonged in a creek, and there just so happens to be one running through the property behind my back yard. Gingerly, I picked the critter up and set him in the palm of my gloved hand. He remained there, immobile, for so long, that I thought I'd killed him. Turned out he was just taking stock of his new situation.

I wasn't terribly keen to cut my walk short so I kept going, crayfish in tow. I must've looked ridiculous, walking down the street staring at my open hand! When I rounded the last corner, changing direction just enough for the sun to shine down on the newly-christened "Bubby," the crayfish seemed to wake up. Now he wanted to walk, too, and I had to keep putting one hand in front of the other as he walked across them in an earnest attempt at escape.

I made a quick stop at my house to grab the camera: I wanted some proof that this rescue really happened because I was fairly certain that even the people who know me wouldn't believe me. I put Bubby in a bowl that he couldn't crawl out of, took a few snaps, then made my way to the creek.

Owing to all the snow we've gotten lately, which is now melting considerably faster than the ground can absorb it, the creek was moving fast and high. I entertained more than a few passing thoughts about the possibility of my falling in and being swept away, and concluded that I really didn't want to go swimming just yet. So I endeavored to be extra careful.

When I told this story to Mandy out at the Healing Barn, she teasingly asked me whether I'd weighed the crayfish's new homesite options, or just tossed him down any old place. It must be said that Mandy relishes every opportunity she can find to zing me, and I handed her this one on a silver platter! I mean, of COURSE I chose his new homesite carefully! Hell, I spent a good ten minutes in a lather of indecision over the area on one side of the bridge, which consisted mainly of broken chunks of pavement, and the other side of the bridge, which was mostly twigs and the usual sort of detritus you find creekside.

Twigs and detritus are, of course, preferable to chunks of pavement. But there was a hitch: the twiggy area could only be got to by first passing through a couple of trees with branches full of thorns longer than my fingers! Once I made it past that obstacle, then there was the loose earth to worry about: I wasn't sure whether I was actually standing on solid ground or just a bunch of sticks that were floating at water's edge.

I know what you're thinking. "Jeez, Kelly, all this fuss over a stupid crayfish! Why bother?" My answer is, "Why not bother?" Where do you draw the line and stop helping? It's o.k. to help dogs and ducks, but the crayfish of the world are on their own?! I swear to you that I don't go looking for these things, but there he was, a critter in need, so I stepped up to the plate and helped. He most surely would've died otherwise, and I didn't want that on my conscience.

So I trod very carefully on the sticks and twigs. I chose a spot where he could rest and take stock first, and then hop in the water when he was ready. I picked him up out of the bowl and gently set him down. Then I crouched there, waiting, to make sure he knew what to do. After considerable assessment on his part, Bubby slowly made his way across the sticks until he found a place he felt comfortable with. Watching for a few more minutes while nothing happened, I concluded that he was indeed where he wanted to be and I carefully made my way back through the obstacle course.

That's where the story ends, folks. I'm hoping that Bubby lives happily ever afer, but I'll never know for sure. Some rescues are like that: you do your best, then you set them free and hope for a good outcome. If nothing else, this story certainly proves that the Critter Lady will rescue just about anything!

In other news, Pretty Boy got his last Baytril pill today. His eye infection seems to have cleared up. Dr Susan - who stitched up his torn eyelid last November - said very firmly that in her estimation, birds need two good feet, two good wings, and two good eyes. We already know that Pretty Boy's half a wing short, there, but I take the "two good eyes" part very seriously, so I'll have Dr. Chrys check him out next week, just to be on the safe side.

Well, that's all for now, folks! Thanks so much for stopping in! Until next time, please be kind to all the critters.

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