a peek inside the fishbowl

20 Jul, 2009

Camping 2009 vignette #2 – The Critters

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Photography|travel talk

One of the things I like to think we did right as parents was to raise a couple of girls who aren’t afraid of picking up toads, frogs, bugs, and other creatures of the woods.

I have Mark to thank for that. He’s not afraid. I’ll touch any of the aforementioned but I’m certainly not comfortable enough to reach out and nab them like he does.

There is a lot of wildlife at Achray, of which we only saw a fraction. (It’s hard to go wildlife watching with jingly children.) The creatures we we DID see while we were at Achray included:

Tadpoles and frogs:

huge tadpole


Toads (this one was found in the stump of a hollow log):


Snakes (this is a baby water snake):

baby water snake

Deer (Sadly, no pics of these)

Various Rodentia (they pose for peanuts!):



red squirrel

red squirrel

red squirrel

red squirrel looking for nuts

Birds (Gulls, Mergansers, Loons, Robins, wee Sandpiper things, Ravens and Blue Jays):

Blue Jay

More insects than you can shake a stick at:


Someone who nibbled the guest book for a certain hiking trail:

Who nibbled the guest book?

And the icing on the cake (if you can call something this slimy “icing”)…. the Biggest Leech We’ve Ever Seen:

giant leech

It was interesting to observe the universal feeling of repulsion everyone experienced upon seeing this thing. *shiver*

All of these animal encounters occurred without incident except for the garter snake. Sarah found a full-grown adult snake and grabbed it by the tail. And it bit her. Now she knows not to do that.

But I am proud of Sarah. After she was bit by the snake and realized there were giant leeches in the lake I totally expected her to shy away from snakes and open water, but she was as enthusiastic as ever. She went swimming and snake hunting as if nothing happened. And she’s pretty excited to be able to tell her “snake bite” story to her friends. That’s my girl!


7 Responses to "Camping 2009 vignette #2 – The Critters"

1 | J.

July 20th, 2009 at 7:10 am


*shiver* leeches….

2 | Chantal

July 20th, 2009 at 9:23 am



ok so you haven’t totally talked me out of camping. Not totally. I am such a wimp!

3 | Scatteredmom

July 20th, 2009 at 9:57 am


Oooo…..we were in Oregon at a farm/rock shop thing and Jake was wandering around, then we heard him yelling, “RATTLESNAKE!” and almost had a heart attack.

It was a bull snake. But it was big, and nippy, and looked just like a rattler minus the rattle. WHEW.

4 | Amy @ Muddy Boots

July 20th, 2009 at 1:07 pm


The third squirrel picture is awesome! But the leech? Ew.

5 | Sharon

July 22nd, 2009 at 8:05 am


OMG YUCK Leeches…..Didn’t need to see that while eating breakfast. You need an advisry warning.

6 | Louise

August 8th, 2009 at 8:22 pm


OMG leeches and snakes! I’m heading to Achray in 2 weeks for the first tiime! Guess now I know what I have to look out for!

7 | Chartered Accountants In Toronto

May 31st, 2013 at 9:44 pm


Great information. Lucky me I found your website by accident (stumbleupon).

I’ve saved as a favorite for later!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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