Did you know the Sago Palm is toxic to pets?

676138.jpg I just received a new edition of my ASPCA newsletter and one article in particular caught my eye. It was about the increased incidence of pets being poisoned by the Sago Palm. This plant can also be quite toxic to young children.

The Sago Palm is common in warm climates, but it’s become more popular in Northern homes as a houseplant. The plant is native to Southern Japan. It’s an attractive plant with dark green leaves and a hairy trunk.

Since 2003, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has seen an increase in cases of Sago palm and Cycad poisonings by more than 200 percent. APCC data also reveals that 50 percent to 75 percent of those cases resulted in fatalities.

sago-palm.jpg A chemical in the plant called cycasin is toxic and often causes permanent liver damage as well as neurological damage if enough of the poison is absorbed by the body. The seeds are the most poisonous part of the plant, although all parts of this plant are toxic, and the effects on humans are seizures, coma and death. Of course the seeds are an attractive reddish color so children and possible curious pets might be drawn to the plant.

Clinical signs of toxic poisoning are vomiting, melena (blood in stool), Jaundice, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising and later liver damage, liver failure and death.

If you have young children or pets in your home and you’d like to check to see if your house or garden plants are toxic you can take a look at this list of Toxic Plants. There’s also a list of non-toxic plants that you might also want to look at if you are planning on adding more plants to your collection.






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Dog fur in the garden to deter pests?

Ever since we created our garden six years ago we noticed that we occasionally have nocturnal visitors. These visitors come in the form of very large raccoons and a variety of house or stray cats!

We have a security light at the back porch and it’s regularly triggered at least once each evening and I often notice the light going on in the night as well if I’m up late. Most often when I peer outside the culprit turns out to be a cat.

Now, I tend to water my garden late in the evening. I developed that habit since I had an elderly neighbor who loved to watch everything I did both outside and even inside my home. She’d come outside whenever I was out, stare at me from her porch or watch me inside my home from windows in her home that faced my own. Creepy and stalker like!

She’s a nice old lady, but that watching behavior really got to me. Unfortunately she had a mild stroke in January and she’s now gone to live with her family. I suspect we’ll have new neighbors sometime in the summer.

So, as I was saying, since my neighbor was keen on watching me I was reluctant to go outside for long periods of time while being watch. Not only would she watch every move I’d make but she’d also try to talk to me from her porch. Of course I couldn’t hear her well so I’d have to stop what I was doing each time, walk up to her and find out what she’d said, reply and then go back to my gardening. This made getting anything done outside take sometimes four times longer than it should have!

Hence the late night watering! Oh, I also discovered that at the height of summer when it’s extremely hot and humid here that sometimes the only time it’s reasonable to go out and water is late at night when it’s a bit cooler.

I don’t mind the occasional cat coming through the yard as long as they don’t disturb anything, but late at night any animal making a sudden appearance can be scary. Especially if it turns out to be a HUGE raccoon or a raccoon family, which it has on many occasions.

Now that we have a dog I suspect nocturnal visits from these creatures will occur less frequently. Particularly if I bring the dog outside with me! However, I’d like to get a step ahead of my visiting creatures and do something to keep them away now.

So here’s my idea.

Our puppy just went through a big shed. She’s still shedding a bit, but a few weeks ago it seemed like her fur was coming out by the handful! One day as I was grooming her I thought about my garden visitors and thought I’d keep her fur and then, when the weather got better try distributing it through the garden in order to see if the doggy smell would deter the cats and raccoons.

About 80% of the snow has melted from our yard now. (thank you!) and crocus’ and other plants are beginning to make an appearance. I suspect I’ll be out in the garden this weekend doing a little cleaning. While I’m out there I think I’ll strategically place the dog fur in areas where I’ve seen cats and raccoons in my yard.

I guess we’re lucky that the cats and raccoons don’t really damage our yard. They use it more as a short cut to get to other areas. They come down the driveway, jump over the short gate and then head directly to the back of the garden and go over the fence into our neighbors driveway – or vise versa. Occasionally they’ll stop to search the ground and grass for worms and other delicacies, but luckily it’s not often.

So I know exactly which areas to target with my dogs fur.

Have you tried using dog fur or perhaps another animals fur in your garden to deter pests? Did it work?

I’ll keep you updated on my experiment. Wish me luck!

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Squirrelly over sunflower seeds

Wordless Wednesday

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Squirrels sure do some crazy things to get to those tasty seeds don’t they?

Do you have any funny tales or photos of animals doing something silly on your property?

Oh and if you are driving to Florida for Spring break check out this unbelievable deal – $1 One-Way Rentals to Florida with Dollar Rent A Car!

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