Theresa Sierra, of Land O’ Lakes, said this painted bunting every year comes by her bird feeder at her home in Lake Thomas. The male bunting is vividly colored and the female is mostly green with a hint of yellow. People used to capture the males and keep them in bird cages to be sold, but that practice now is illegal.
Two-year-old kitty Ashley was ‘rescued’ by her brother Sagan, after Sagan spotted her in the backyard. Ashley not only is a purr-fect kitty, but she came with a smiley face on her side! Now, Sagan and Ashley spend a lot of time cooing and playing together. Ashley talks constantly and gives kisses. These kitties’ owners, Sheri and John Thrasher, of Wesley Chapel, spend a lot of time smiling at the two of them. Sheri said Ashley is the best thing that happened to them in 2020.
This white-tailed deer was in Sharon Thompson’s backyard in Country Walk in Wesley Chapel. She snapped the photo when the deer stopped to look at her. White-tailed deer are herbivores, feeding primarily on twigs and leaves, but their diet also includes acorns, fruits and mushrooms. Plants attractive to deer include cross vines, Hercules club, persimmons, sourwood, redbud, buttonbush, ash, tupelo, gum trees and beautyberry.
Lulu is a charcoal Shih-Poo, with a knack for making friends. If you meet Lulu and you rub her belly, she will remember you forever. She also is a bit of a tracker when she puts her head to the ground to seek out family and friends. It’s impossible to hide from Lulu! Besides traveling well, Lulu is a very loving and personable companion. She’s always ready to play and to make herself at home anywhere. Lulu resides with her mom and dad, Tim and Rita Koral, in Wesley Chapel.
Betsy Crisp, of Land O’ Lakes, said she usually sees pileated woodpeckers on the dead trees around Treasure Lake when she walks her dogs. But this time, her home security camera doubled as a wildlife camera and she spied a red-bellied woodpecker in the backyard. These woodpeckers usually can be found in woodlands, but often venture from the forest to appear at backyard feeders.
Snickerdoodle is a 9-month-old Holland lop bunny. He likes to go for walks in his stroller and visit with his bunny neighbors, Reeses and S’mores. Snickerdoodle likes to eat celery and bananas, and likes chewing on his wood toys and relaxing under the Christmas tree. Snickerdoodle resides with Amy Neumann and her daughter, Hannah, in Wesley Chapel.
Kurtis Sprung, of Zephyrhills, caught this alligator sunning itself along the Hillsborough River. To warm up, alligators bask in the sun, which is when they are frequently observed on the banks of water bodies. On hot summer days, they can sometimes be seen basking with their mouths open, which is a cooling mechanism equivalent to a dog panting.
Adopted from the animal shelter, August is adorable and possibly a pit-boxer mix. He loves to play fetch and chew on his toys. August’s favorite treats are ice cubes and carrots. In the evening, he likes to go for long walks and cuddle on the couch afterward. August loves most other dogs and lives with Sara Porter in Wesley Chapel.
Nicole Magazu, of Land O’ Lakes, enjoys taking pictures of birds and she was thrilled to capture this Northern Mockingbird with a berry in its beak. The Northern Mockingbird is one of the most iconic birds of the South, and it is probably the bird that people see the most. It is also the state bird of Florida. The mockingbird is very vocal and can imitate the songs of at least 50 or 60 other species of Southern birds — they even mimic car horns and car alarms.