Nature in Spain

Nature here in the Almanzora Valley, Spain. 

It's amazing the wild life and nature you see when living in a rural location of Spain. Got any tips when it comes to the pests? I would love to hear from you in the comments. 

POISONOUS FROGS/TOADS

I was shocked to find out that there are SEVEN species of poisonous toads here in Andulucia Spain. Some of them can grow to 8 inches long, yes, you read that right! They are a real hazzard that us pet parents need to be aware of, just like the dreaded Processionary Caterpillas. If you notice convulsions or foaming from the mouth get your beloved pet to the vet immediately. They don't just have had to lick or eat them, just sharing water that the toad has been in will cause harm. I keep my dogs water on a bench anyway, but I will continue to do so to help lessen the risk of this happening.


PROCESSIONARY CATERPILLAS 

I bloody hate these things. And there's lots on the way to the village during certain times of the year. Processionary caterpillars can cause serious health problems for animals and us humans They grow by feeding on conifer needles (i.e. pine, cedar) In spring they come down from the trees to burrow underground and thus complete its transformation. That's when they are even more dangerous as our pets can come into contact with them. I hate hate hate hate these!!! Click to see a photo of what they look like in the trees


EGYPTIAN LOCUST / EGYPTIAN GRASSHOPPER 

I have had the misfortune of coming face to face with a locust when gardening and it scared the bejesus out of me as he skipped, hopped and flew past me. I swear he gave me the finger whilst shouting 'I"ll be back" Any tips? I have boiled up some garlic to spray on the leaves. Any other natural tips would be appreciated in the comments. Remember, I have pooch and organic veg plot to consider. 

I've witnessed locusts mating on the netting covering my veg, how dare they!! These guys were getting jiggy with it LOL Did you know they make no noise, or even move? Well, not until I prod them with a stick to move them on. They don't even stop then, they keep at it. I thought the male would be the largest of these two, but no. The male locust sits on the top when they *cough* 'do it' so Mr Locust can insert his sperm via his abdomen, which is transformed into eggs (not sure if that's what we see in the piccies?)

The female has 10 to 20 days to lay the eggs.... she bloody better not lay them in MY garden! 

RATAS

I hate these things with a passion. Rats, mice, ratas, tree rats. There are small ones and there are HUGE ones here surrounding our home, as we are surrounded in Campos and orchards. They eat anything I try to grow, they watch me from the trees and the worst thing is that they hide in the outside boiler and use it to store pine nuts. This is irritating because it stops the boiler working, which is usually when you are in a rush to go out LOL. 

Ever get that feeling that you are being watched?


PRAYING MANTIS  

Such a graceful and beautiful bug. I love their stunning prominent front legs which bend at an angle like they are praying. Did you know that they can turn their heads 180 degrees and with their large eyes look for their next meal, like moths, grasshoppers, flies and other insects. They can eat as much of those as they want! I love watching them whilst the sun bathe


BEES

Google says that on days 16 through 20 worker bees receive nectar and pollen from older workers and store it. After the 20th day, a worker leaves the hive and spends the remainder of its life as a forager.


LIZARDS AND GECKO 

I love having these little fellas in the garden. They keep some of the bugs at bay.... And they keep Hector amused. Thankfully they are quicker than him!

WILD BOAR

In May 2020 My day started with 5 large boars and 10-15 babies dashing out of an orchard and running across the path in front of me and Hector. It was an awesome sight. The sound from them was magnificient!

I visited the village shop during lockdown (April 2019) and saw a little boar/pig walking along the pavement in our village. It was a wonderful sight. Us humans had restricted movement, and the wildlife regained theirs.

In March 2020 I was taking Hector to do his business by the house during Lockdown (it was eerily quiet. We miss our walkies!!) I didn't expect to come across a dead wild boar. Initially the discovery freaked me out until I realised it was *cough* "asleep" I wonder what it died from. Maybe it was from lockdown boar-dom! LOL

BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS

Since planting flowering plants, herbs and vegetables in my spanish garden I am attracting more butterflies and moths. I have been lucky to capture a couple of images which you can find on this page.

WALL BROWN I have captured images of the Wall Brown (Lasiommata Megera) coming to feast on my Lavender. They are commonly found in forest edges, shrub areas, river valleys and mountains. So it's no wonder why we get so many here where we live. We have all of that! They fly from April to October.

SPANISH SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY I was astonished at the beauty of this butterfly.These Swallowtail are large, with very colourful markings, distinctive shape of the wing, the eye on the tail, and the long tail making it easy to identify. These can be seen for most of the year from February. They are simply stunning, click to take a look

WILD DEER

I heard noises and thought it was farmers collecting fruit from the orchard (It's that time of year), so I didn't think much about it. Then I saw it, the biggest deer on his hind legs eating from the tree!!! Despite being closer to them than I ever have (this is my 4th time in 6 months. Always different locations) I am disappointed that the video is of poor quality. Sorry guys.  It doesn't help that Hector was either pulling me... or trying to eat his lead!! I counted about 12 of them. A couple of big ones. A few "teenagers" and some babies. 

In Spain there are 3 types of deer. 
  • Red Deer
  • Fallow Deer
  • Roe Deer
I think this is a family of Fallow Deer due to the fact its part of a herd and appears to be led by the doe (happy to stand corrected). For 8 years I was fortunate to work with a client in the UK that own an adventure park and farm and I regularly got in with, or saw the animals and birds of prey up close and personal. But to see something in the wild is uber special. And to think I wasnt going to go for a walk this morning!!!!!
 

  

TORTOISE

Tortoises cannot swim in water, while turtles can. So I am therefore assuming this fella is a Spanish turtle. Does anyone know what species? (please commment below) In Spain for the last 20+ years tortoises have legal protection, but sadly their numbers continue to decline. I'm wondering if its the same for turtles? I feel very blessed to have seen one of these in the narrow irrigation channels (known in Spanish as “acequias”, from the Arabic “al-saqiya”) which are water conduits used to distribute water over large areas, just like the orchards surrounding my home



THE RAIN IN SPAIN


In September 2019 we experienced rainfall of 110 litres / m2 of water in just two hours during the worst storm in 140 years. The rushing water from the Rambla caused damage to local roads and bridges with it reportedly exceeding 4 meters high and climbed above 2 meters on the road… despite this, we were lucky, a mere inconvienice to most of us, and afterward have managed to get on with our lives as normal. Others have not been so lucky.

The storm continued to impact communities who suffered for months as a result of the terrible flooding. Thousands had to be rescued, 7 deaths and 2 reported missing. Thousands more evacuated from their family homes. Some families were not able to leave their homes for days. Airports that we ourselves have used had to be closed. Businesses and farmland destroyed.

However. What comes from times like these are the stories of those who go above and beyond to help those in need. The way everyone comes together to help. How the emergency services put their own lives on the line to help those suffering. I am in awe of all of these people. They make this world a better place.



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