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JDoors

I Am Totally Freaked Out By What I Found

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So I'm mowin' the lawn again. I get to the back corner of the lot, a shaded area where there's a small brush pile and the grass grows quickly.

I, of course, am always scanning for foreign objects on the ground. Don't want to hit anything with the mower.

I see ... something. I get closer. I don't know what that thing is.

It looks like ... <shudder> an ENORMOUS ... creature of some kind. It's dead.

I didn't, couldn't, get close enough to be absolutely positive it was what it appeared to be. You know what a "pillbug" is? (They go by different names.) At first glance that's what this ... thing ... looked like ... but it was the size of a RAT! <another shudder>

<another shudder>

I look closer (but I'm sure as heck not GETTING any closer). Yup, it's ... some kind of bug. But dammit, it's the size of a rat! What is it?

It's much longer proportionately than a pillbug, almost the proportion of a <another damn shudder> centipede (but the size of a rat!). It has what looks like quills sticking out from under it's "shell." There's legs all over the place and those pointy quill-like thingys sticking out from under the shell, and it's definitely not an "animal," or at least not one that I've ever seen anywhere in my life.

<shudder, again>

To move it, I'd have to ... touch it with something. Yuck. Then I'd have to PUT it someplace. Can't do it. My sickening solution is to close my eyes and ... run it over with the mower. Crunch! It's now mulch. (It was a dry crunch and left very little remains, mostly some kind of soft black stuff.)

<Oh Christ, another shudder>

That was yesterday and I'm still, as indicated, shuddering from whatever it was. I hate two things above all else: Rats and bugs. This was a rat-bug! Can it GET worse? <shudder> :unsure:

(I'm in the Mid-West, we don't HAVE big bugs, that's one of the reasons I love it here: The Winters prevent bugs from getting big. Kills 'em off. And we don't have Armadillos or Porcupines or Lobsters or anything that even remotely resembled this thing. Ugh.)

(There's just NO WAY I could have "saved" it, it affected me at such a base level I would be incapable of handling it in any way whatsoever. I did think, much later, about taking a picture, but my "solution" made that impossible.)

Edited by JDoors

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You should have shot it instead of mulching it, then investigate. Maybe you can put him back together from the mulch?

Edited by Bubba Bob

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Could it have been a giant centi/millipede? Some species can get up to a foot or so long and maybe and inch or two wide. Could have been a pet that got loose.

Edited by jcl

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my god...you killed it? that was the pet from the basement that macmarauder was looking for. better have jeff delete this post before mac sees it. on second thought that may have been mr. spock's little pet gherzt.

actually what you are describing makes me think of a baby armadillo...

Edited by bearskin

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See map inside.

Armadillo expansion into the United States appears to be limited primarily by temperature and rainfall. Armadillos have very little body fat, and are not good at conserving heat. Long periods of extremely cold weather are dangerous, especially to younger animals. Armadillos cannot establish stable colonies if the average January temperature is below -2°C (28°F). They also require a constant source of water. Estimates indicate that armadillos can survive in areas that receive at least 38 cm (15 inches) of precipitation annually. Comparing this information with annual weather and rainfall data for the United States, Taulman and Robbins generated a potential range map for the nine-banded armadillo. They estimate that the nine-banded armadillo could establish stable populations from Nebraska to New York, and northeast to Cape Cod. Although physiological barriers prevent the armadillo from moving farther west on its own, human introductions (accidental or otherwise) could establish populations in parts of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Animals released on the west coast could range from California to Washington and into parts of Canada. Regions of eastern Washington and Oregon, and part of northwest Idaho could also support armadillo populations. The published range of the armadillo in 1997 suggested that only about half of the potential armadillo habitat is currently colonized by the nine-banded armadillo. The map below illustrates the current range of the nine-banded armadillo (as of 1995), as well as the estimated potential future range.

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Could it have been a giant centi/millipede? Some species can get up to a foot or so long and maybe and inch or two wide. Could have been a pet that got loose.

I've seen those things, they're creepy as hell. Did it look anything like this? http://www.uark.edu/depts/entomolo/museum/sheros.html

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Ugh, Ew, Ratbugs?? Yuck! being a midwesterner without bugs, too, just reading all this freaked me out, then I *had* to click on Carnevil's link.... :blink:

You need a boy like Aron and your snowshovel for those things! I'm sure folks here will get to the bottom of this, they sure were helpful when I had a wayward woodchuck in my yard (who is happily frolicking in a meadow nowadays)

Being in a shady area of the yard, I wonder if it could be some kind of fungus/moss or maybe fungus/moss growing on a fallen chunk of treebark (that's what I'm hoping for you!)

I just decided that I'm making Hubby cut the grass today :thumbsup:

Liz

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Far as I know Armadillos have 'hair' poking out the bottom of their 'shell,' not quills (looked to be about an eighth of an inch in diameter at the base coming to a point on the end, and two inches long, light brown/ivory in color). The 'plates' were small in width, more like a <shudder, dammit> centipede (though I've never seen a centipede as large as a rat in person). An Armadillo, as the name "nine-banded armadillo" implies, has wider plates (and the plates have a bit of hair on them, don't they? This 'thing' had none on the shell). Plus, in spite of the possiblity that Armadillos could survive this far North, they just ain't here ... yet.

I've seen photos of the large centipedes and I believe (it's too 'late' in the day to look up) they're from Madagascar and/or other tropical areas. Not likely to survive a Mid-West winter. Plus this thing wasn't THAT long. Actually, I'd say it was the size of a small Armadillo. But then, I've seen Armadillos, even held one in my hand once, this wasn't one (didn't have four legs for example, just these insect-like legs, or what looked like legs, poking out among the 'quills').

I've seen someone run over a small animal before (a snake) and it made quite a lumpy, bloody mess. This thing was dry, like a desiccated insect.

The only way I'm going to get the heebie-jeebies out of my mind is to pretend it was something the neighbor's dog rooted out of the trash and threw over the fence into my yard. Unlikely scenario, but I have to sleep sometime, somehow.

BTW, I fertilized the lawn today and there's no sign of THE THING. Thank goodness for mulching mowers. <shudder>

Edited by JDoors

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Giant redheaded centipedes are not frequently observed or collected, but those that make themselves known attract a great deal of attention because of their size and fierce appearance. Specimens average about 6 ½” in length, and they may reach nearly 8” in some instances. They have been called “giant desert centipedes,” but this appears to be a misnomer because the centipedes are often collected in rocky woodland in Arkansas. The species is also known to occur at least in Arkansas, southern Missouri, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico. Within Arkansas, we have reliable reports of this species from Benton, Carroll, Washington, Crawford, Sebastian, Perry, Pulaski, Garland, Hot Spring, Pike, and Howard Counties. The easternmost record for the species comes from Little Rock, Pulaski County. In the 1920s, William Baerg, head of the Entomology Department at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), regarded the giant redheaded centipede as rather common near Little Rock and in Northwest Arkansas. His limited experience with the species indicated that it occurred “in certain more or less restricted localities, where it can be found, at least during the warmer seasons, under stones and logs.”

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I'ma figurin' it was a mushroom sorta type fungus. Not sure where you live, but I had Morrels sprout in my shady garden for the first time in 20+ years... Here in Michigan it's been a different sort of spring.

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I couldn't bring myself to follow the link to compare -whatever is there- to what I found. I'm still too creeped out to intentionally look at MORE bugs. BTW, it IS warmer so bugs are more active. I saw one out of the corner of my eye inside the house and ... well, let's just say I didn't handle it like the man I thought I was. :D

Twern't no turtle or morrel. Turtles don't curl up when they die and morrels don't to my knowledge have quills or hair or evenly spaced 'plates' of armor.

Hey, two days later and I've stopped shivering uncontrollably when I think about THE THING IN THE YARD. :)

"Coming soon to a theater near you: THE THING IN THE YARD <dum-dum-DUM>"

"Honey, I'm gonna mow the lawn ... <brrrrrrrrrr> Oh my ... God! What is that? It's ... It's moving ... Gaahhh! Get it off me! It's crawling up my leg!!"

"Dear, are you done ... SCREEEEEEECH!"

"Rated 'R' for gore and rat-bug violence coming to theaters ... and backyards <dum-dum-DUM> ... this summer ... "

Edited by JDoors

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Insects shells are hard and cannot grow when the insect does.

So periodically during their life, they puff up and shed the hard shell and then their outer skin hardens.

Ever seen a white cockroach? This is one that has just shed its shell so it can grow. The shed shell remains an empty husk made of chitin.(Crabs and lobsters do this too, they are just marine insects. I think I read somewhere that a lobsters closest land relative is the cockroach).

But insects, land dwellers at least have a fairly small maximum size because of this. When they shed their shell there is nothing to support their internal organs and muscles until the new one forms. The larger the shell the longer it takes to harden. Thus beyond the size of a Goliath Beetle [url=http://www.ivyhall.district96.k12.il.us/4th/KKhp/1insects/goliathbeetle.html]http://www.ivyhall.district96.k12.il.us/4th/KKhp/1insects/goliathbeetle.html[/l]

(What about six inches long) becomes impractical . They would be crushed by gravity or eaten by anything which came along long before they could harden.

I too would have suggested it was an armadillo until you say you ground it up . No bones => Insect or plastic toy.

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Well, I know about large insects, I just didn't think there were any in the Chicagoland area. The largest I've seen was a Rhinocerous Beetle (and I don't EVER want to see one again).

Plastic would have left some residue (I would guess), so that leaves ... INSECT! <shiver>

Or a new species: The Rat-bug!

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I don't do to well with creatures and bugs either, which reminds me of an incident that just happened to me about 2 weeks ago.

I had just got done cutting my grass just before it got dark. Anyhow, after I cut the grass I took a shower, came outside to sit on my front deck and have a cold beer. Keep in mind it is now completely dark out at this point.

I am sitting in my chair with my robe on, beer in one hand and a cigerattee in the other. I just happened to turn my head to the right and saw what seemed to be a large animal or something in the dark. I asked my wife for the flash light without saying a word. I shined the light over at this creature, all I seen was what looked like two eyes staring at me. Well, I froze. Next thing I knew my wife asks me what I wanted the flashlight for, so I shined thew light for her to see what I saw.

She says, what the hell is that. I look at her and say, how the hell do I know ? She says aren't ya gonna go after it ?

Next thing ya know, my wife is standing next to me by the front door with my 357 hand gun. Thank God I have a trigger lock on it at all times. I said I can't fire this thing into the dark without knowing just what it is.

Anyhow, the next morning my wife comes running into the bedroom saying come quick and get you're gun, it's still on the back lawn.

I thought I was going to have a heart attach. I get my gun and head for the front door and I forgot my robe, so I am outside on my deck in my birthday suit holding a 357 as my neighbors are heading out for work. OMG. Turns out my big creature I had blew in from my next door neighbors yard.

A big Grey plastic bag.

Needless to say my wife laughed for hours on end over the big plastic creature.

But, you should of seen the look on my neighbors faces when they saw me pointing a loaded 357 at a plastic bag. OMG. is all I can say.

I will get even with my wife at some point for what she did to me. :thumbsup:

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LOL, ShadowThomas! Gotta say a plastic bag with eyes would have scared me, too :D

Liz

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LOL, ShadowThomas! Gotta say a plastic bag with eyes would have scared me, too

Hahahaha! Seeing my neighbor in the AM playing "naked gun" woulda skeered the hell outta me!

Good one ST!

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I can't believe how much this thread has affected me!!! First the awful ratty bug thingy gave me nightmares, now the plastic bag coming close to being shot has me laughing so hard my sides hurt!!! Never mind the image of a naked man ready to shoot a plastic garbage bag! :rolleyes: ST you are so lucky the neighbors didn't call the cops.... :rolleyes: ..... or the men with those uncomfortable looking looooong-sleeved white jackets!!! :rolleyes:

Who says real life isn't scary/funny in ways far beyond whatever script writers can ever dream up?!!!

Pat

God bless everyone

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... Turns out my big creature I had blew in from my next door neighbors yard. A big Grey plastic bag. ...

Quick! Run it over with a lawnmower! Hey, worked for me. :P

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:lol::lol::lol:

Now this is a good story line. Loved every word of it. And picturing ST in the buff, :blink: all armed and ready!!! :lol:

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I just wish I hadn't been so freaked out and desperate to get rid of that ... thing ... as soon as possible, and had the presence of mind to get the camera before destroying the evidence. No one's gonna believe it must be what I can only conclude that it was. <DAMN! I still get the involuntary shudders when I think about ... it.>

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