On point

My rescue dog Lily is incredibly focused. On me mostly, but her new favorite things are chasing toads and lizards, and a certain rodent creature that moves too fast to see enough to tell what it is. It’s small like a mouse but doesn’t have a tail. Its fur is grey and if it has ears they are very tiny. She finds them above ground so they do not appear to be moles which are practically blind. These things seem to see just fine because they skim through high grasses to escape Lily’s sharp eyes and very keen sense of smell.

Her newest favorite thing is the ghost crab.
(not my photo)

These crabs are semi-hard shell and inedible. So far Lily has not tried to eat one. They are generally unseen during daylight hours using this time to industriously dig their burrows, some with many options for ingress/egress. If you are sunning yourself or reading quietly in a beach chair you will catch a tiny movement in the corner of your eye. If you turn to look at the spot you will see nothing. If you keep looking at a blank area of sand momentarily a pair of eyestalks will slowly emerge, then a bulky little off-white shell. Seconds later if the crab is doing what it normally does at this time a small spray of sand will suddenly be ejected from its claws which it collected from digging.

At dusk they begin to venture forth, picking through the sand for tiny tidbits of food. No idea what that might be. Insects? miniscule remains of sea life? who knows. But they are very fast. Lily first encountered one, cornered it, must have sensed they have claws (large pincers) and subsequently sprang straight up in the air when it raised one. She has amazing night vision because their movement is enough to keep her busy chasing as they skitter in every direction until they safely return to their hole.

So now whenever we are near the beach Lily keeps nose to ground, darting eyes each way in case one should bravely rear its eyestalk.

(photo courtesy of Outer Banks Visitor’s Center website: http://www.outerbanks.com/ghost-crabs.html)


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