If you’re walking around in the bush, you’re bound to come into contact with the sticky webs that these spiders weave. The webs can be quite large and they can span distances of 20 feet or more. Wikipedia says that their bite is mildly toxic to humans, but in all my hundreds of encounters with them, getting their webs stuck all over me, I’ve never been bitten by one.
The golden orb is the only spider known to make its webs strong enough to be used for various kinds of bags and fishnets and, as you can see in this photo, an exquisite cape.
I had heard about Dana, the “person who takes care of the donkeys”, when we first came to St. John last January. As a wildlife rehabilitator in New England, I knew our paths would cross. My boyfriend and I came back in December for the winter and I soon met a lone male donkey with fresh scrapes above his eyes on the road to our villa in Coral Bay. I immediately called Dana. She called me right back and said that it was fine that he was by himself and that she would meet me to give me sulfa pills for his scrapes. She thanked me for looking after him and we quickly formed a friendship. I visited her farm and was amazed that she cared for numerous rescued animals by herself including eight donkeys, eight horses, a three-legged sheep, a goat, dozens of chickens and ducks, two dogs and three cats. All of their shelter, food, medications and rental of the farm are paid for out of her own pocket. She gives horse and donkey rides to help offset some of the costs as well as support herself.
She called me on Sunday evening, Feb. 1, saying she was going to check on a donkey that she had received a call about who appeared to be missing a hoof and was bleeding. She called me back shortly later saying it was pretty bad and she needed to get the bleeding to stop. I told her we would come and help. Upon arriving, we saw that the donkey had made its way on to someone’s driveway. The poor pregnant donkey was hobbling on three legs with her back left leg bleeding as the hoof was indeed missing. She possibly got it caught in a grate. Dana knew the donkey and the several babies she had already had. Luckily, the donkey let us put a halter on her and Dana immediately administered a tranquilizer. Dana had been texting with a local vet and getting advice. We tied her between two trees and two of us tried to hold her still as Dana started cleaning her wound and bandaged it as best as she could. It was already dark and we were using flashlights. The tranquilizer took effect and she laid down. We had to loosen her lead so her head was not being pulled and we made a makeshift pillow for her. Soon she started shaking all over. She appeared to be going into shock. We covered her with a couple of sheets. Once she seemed stable, Dana re-bandaged her to make sure it wasn’t too tight. Shortly before midnight, Dana was concerned that when the tranquilizer wore off, the donkey would get up and potentially get tangled in her lead. She went home and grabbed her own bedding, came back and laid it down on the ground. Dana spent the night with the donkey. I was blown away. Her dedication was beyond words. The next morning, she arranged for someone with a pickup truck to bring the donkey to her farm. It took five of us to get her into the truck and out of the truck. She was a trooper! Dana decided to name her Suzy Q and she is recovering in her own stall at the farm. Dana will keep her until her hoof grows back and she has the baby. She will then be looking for a home for her.
Dana told me that Suzie had a baby about 3 years ago who was found with her leg broken. Dana thought she probably lying down on the side of the road when a car ran over her leg. Baby Girl, as Dana named her, healed up after the vet, Laura, put pins secured by epoxy tubing. Dana sent her to St. Croix to a home that wanted donkeys to protect their sheep and goats.
Another one of Dana’s rescued donkeys is Stormy, who was hit by a car and is now a permanent resident if the corral.
Dana has been rescuing animals on St. John since 1992. For 23 years, she has been a one-woman show, giving 110% with a 55% budget. She is truly an animal spirit and is the only person who devotes as much attention to the wild donkeys on the island. Her rescued animals are always in need of hay, Home Depot gift cards, medical supplies, etc. If you would like to make a donation, sponsor Suzy Q or any other rescued animal, please visit her website for more information. Suzy Q and all the needy wild animals of St. John thank you!
Police want parents to keep better tabs on their youngsters, and if children younger than 16 are out and unaccompanied by an adult after 10 p.m. they should expect to be detained by police…. read more
By JOHN McCARTHY (Daily News Staff)
Published: February 9, 2015
Variably cloudy with scattered showers. Highs around 84. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40 percent.
A HIGH SURF ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM AST MONDAY.
WAVES AND SURF: NORTHERLY SWELLS BETWEEN 5 TO 7 FEET WITH BREAKING WAVES OF 9 TO 12 FEET.
* TIMING: THROUGH 6 AM AST ON MONDAY.
* IMPACTS: LARGE BREAKING WAVES WILL CAUSE DANGEROUS CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT THE SURF ZONE AND STRONG RIP CURRENTS. WAVE ACTION SURGING UPON THE COASTLINE AND HIGHER THAN NORMAL WATER LEVELS MAY POSE A THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY.
A HIGH SURF ADVISORY MEANS THAT HIGH SURF WILL AFFECT BEACHES IN THE ADVISORY AREA…PRODUCING RIP CURRENTS AND LOCALIZED BEACH EROSION.
In Virgin Islands backtime days, whist was used for making rope. The vine was collected on the days of the dark moon. Three strands would be twisted until the end of the shortest was reaches then that strand would be knotted with the next one and so until the desired amount of rope was obtained. In some cases this called for a lot of whist like when used for setting fish pots when the rope needed to be 35 fathoms (210 feet) long.
The updated 2015 edition of the St. John Beach Guide is now available. 50% discount to blog visitors and Facebook friends. Use coupon NNETKS
I have always enjoyed the melodious song of our tiny native tree frogs. The symphony begins around sunset and continues until dawn. It is a love symphony, meant for male frogs to attract the attention of nearby females.
Our island now hosts another species, the Cuban tree frog. They have a reputation of being toxic, even to the touch. Cannibals, they eat the native frogs, but worst of all is their abominable screeching.
“I hate wild tamarind. They’re ugly, untidy and unruly. They spread rampantly and take over the place. They’re prejudiced and intolerant. They grow close together and won’t let any other plants live in their neighborhood.
They’re resilient and tenacious. Their sturdy taproot goes straight down into the earth and holds on tight. They can withstand drought, flood and even come back after a fire. There are no insects, predators or diseases that can cause them any significant harm.
They’re hard to get rid of. If you cut them down, they’ll grow right back. If you try and pull out the small one, you’d better have a lot of time and a lot of patience. If you try and dig out the big ones, you’d better have a good hoe-pick and a strong back.”
Nonetheless, their flower is kind of pretty!
The Ghost vs the Wild Tamarind
St. John and Virgin Islands News
Sahara Dust Impacts Territory By Source Staff — May 28, 2014
Dust from the Sahara Desert has caused an air pollution alert to be issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Alicia Barnes, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
The dust causes the skies around the Virgin Islands to be hazy, reducing visibility and resulting in poor air quality, Barnes said in a statement issued Tuesday night.
The cloud is raised from dust storms in Africa and a rise in the warm air. These sandy dust particles are transported by prevailing winds from the North African desert westward over the Atlantic Ocean across the Caribbean.
Carlos Anselmi, a meteorology intern at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, confirmed that there are traces of Sahara dust over the territory and that the satellite indicates it will show a stronger presence over the next week.
While the haze may not be an immediate threat, people with allergies or respiratory ailments should remain indoors when possible and consult their physicians or health care professional for further guidance, Barnes warned.
Sahara dust storms pass through the region several times a year, but mainly in the spring and summer months. While the dust can be a nuisance and even a health threat, it is also known to hamper the development of tropical storms…. read more
Iguana burrowing in rocky soil – Chocolate Hole, St. John, Virgin Islands
On April 15, I wrote a blog in which I presented a photo of an iguana burrow, which I found in the sand by the boat ramps in Great Cruz Bay. At the time, I didn’t actually see the iguana making the hole.
Yesterday, however, I did catch an iguana in the act of burrowing and captured some of the project on video. This time it was in back of my house in Chocolate Hole, a more difficult endeavor for the iguana due to the rocky nature of the land. At one point it actually looked like the iguana was thinking about moving the big rock that was in its way.