Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rotting Log = Critter Hotel

About 5 years ago we had to cut down an old Maple tree in our back yard. This tree was very old, upwards of 50 years. It was approximately 80 feet tall and 19 feet in circumference. I was devastated when it had to be removed. Afterwards we were left with a large stump that was almost completely hollow. It had about 8 inches of good wood all the way around and the rest was rotten. We created a huge flower bed around the stump and left it as a reminder of a tree that I loved so much. Over the past 5 years many creatures have used this stump as a home base. Mice scurry in and out of it. I've even found black rat snake coiled up inside the stump. Probably after the mice. Many insects and other arthropods like the 2 jumping spiders pictured (each a different species) and a tiny millipede, hide under the bark over winter. I even discovered a nest of termites complete with eggs today. I also found a tiny cocoon (pictured), it was barely 3/8 of an inch long. I have no clue what insect created it, but it sure was small. The stump is quickly decomposing and I am sure it won't be long and it will be a mere memory much like the giant maple that gave us shade for many years.

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