After reading the article on ticks in the May Conservationist I thought I would share my solution for dealing with the pesky critters before they bite. Grab a piece of tape, any kind will do, and touch the sticky side of the tape to the tick. Fold the tape over on itself, covering the tick, and throw it away.
Helen Budinger, Harrisonville
Your excellent article on ticks did not go into enough detail about ehrlichiosis, which is fatal unless detected in time.
During one of our regular vacations near Warsaw, my husband got a tick on him. Two weeks later he began to run a temperature of 100. Four days later it went up to 102. An infectious diseases specialist in Kansas City diagnosed it as ehrlichiosis and gave him Doxycyline. I have never seen a man so sick.
If you feel sick after a tick bite, ask your doctor, “Is this ehrlichiosis?”
Juanita Gibson, San Juan, Texas
The snake pictured in the "All About Albinism" article in the June issue is an albino prairie king snake, not a copperhead.
Your article on crawdads talks about using a wire-mesh trap to catch them. Do you have instructions on how to make this trap?
Lawrence Glover, Walnut Shade
Editor’s note: Crayfish traps are simple to make. An effective trap allows large crayfish easy entry but frustrates their attempts to leave. Most traps are made of 3/4-inch coated wire or plastic mesh with entry slots or funnels narrowing to no more than 1.5 inches high leading into the trap at one or both ends. The traps can be rectangular or cylinder shaped. Include a door in the trap to make it easier to add bait or remove crayfish. Minnow traps would work, but their fine mesh would unnecessarily capture small crayfish.
The picture of the crappie stringer you showed in the Reflection Section belonged on the cover. If the largest five could have been weighed together, it probably would be a world record stringer— it was awesome!
Bob Bornholtz, Lake Ozark
I saw that picture of the lady with those huge crappie. Maybe Hazel Creek?
Johnnie Crain, via Internet
Editor’s note: Lots of readers wondered where those crappie came from. I also fished for more information but came up empty. The woman in the picture prefers her fishing spot to remain secret.
I absolutely love your magazine. I especially like all the helpful information on how to attract wildlife during the different seasons. Here in my part of Missouri, it seems people only get excited about hunting (mostly deer) or fishing. I rarely hear anyone talking about the beauty we possess in our great state.
I love to take my kids on walks to enjoy and learn about the wildlife, plants and—my three-year-old daughter’s favorite—wildflowers. My son, who is six-months-old, seems interested in the movements of the birds and squirrels.
I suggest everyone appreciate the outdoors, even if its only from your backyard or window. Nature is accessible to everyone in some way and—like your beautiful magazine—it’s free.
Valerie Alexander, Greenville
In “Myths from the Deep,” I read that catfish “barbels are as limp as cooked spaghetti and couldn’t possibly hurt you.” When I tried to remove the hook from a small catfish I caught, the fish stiffened its whiskers and thrashed its head violently. A whisker impaled my hand about an inch deep, creating a painful stinging.
Russ Alford, Thayer
Editor’s note: Catfish sting with spines contained in their pectoral and dorsal fins, not with their barbels. Catfish stiffen their spines as a defensive mechanism. Thrashing during handling could cause the spines to penetrate skin and cause pain. The smaller the catfish, the more difficult it is to avoid its spines.
Ask the Ombudsman
Q: I have been hearing that copperheads & black snakes are cross breeding. I didn’t think different species could cross breed. How could this rumor get started?
A: This rumor is a pretty easy one to dispel since black rat snakes lay eggs and copperheads bear live young. Also, you’re correct in that these are different species incapable of cross breeding. The Conservation Department’s herpetologist said the laws of heredity prevent cross breeding from happening. Because, the chromosome number for each species is different, it would be as impossible as a hawk mating with a chicken or a cat mating with a dog.
He said the rumor likely got started when someone saw a black rat snake with some patterns on its body, and wrongly assumed that it had resulted from a copperhead breeding with black rat snake.
Black rat snakes only turn black when they mature. Young black rat snakes have patterns, mainly gray with black blotches.
Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at <Ken.firstname.lastname@example.org>.