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Thread: Backyard Wildlife

  1. #61
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    OMG speaking of wildlife, I was reading this thread when my girls started screaming on the patio. I ran outside to see what was up and there was a Water Moccassin coiled up in the corner of my patio. The pics are kind of dark and hard to see and my patio needs a sweepin...
    I don't know if they are having issues but they are in my album and it won't let me insert the link this time. Not a big deal, you can barely see them anyway.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    OMG speaking of wildlife, I was reading this thread when my girls started screaming on the patio. I ran outside to see what was up and there was a Water Moccassin coiled up in the corner of my patio. The pics are kind of dark and hard to see and my patio needs a sweepin...
    I don't know if they are having issues but they are in my album and it won't let me insert the link this time. Not a big deal, you can barely see them anyway.
    Personally, I'd be more worried about the giant rabid dog that's about to eat the house in your avatar!
    Last edited by ABR.; 2009-Dec-02 at 12:07 AM. Reason: missed some information
    So many bugs, so little time.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    OMG speaking of wildlife, I was reading this thread when my girls started screaming on the patio. I ran outside to see what was up and there was a Water Moccassin coiled up in the corner of my patio. The pics are kind of dark and hard to see and my patio needs a sweepin...
    I don't know if they are having issues but they are in my album and it won't let me insert the link this time. Not a big deal, you can barely see them anyway.
    Okay, I sneeked a peek at your snake pictures. It's very difficult to make out details as you said. Does it have a vivid color pattern? Were you able to shoo it away, or are you just leaving it alone? In either case, be safe.
    So many bugs, so little time.

  4. #64
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    No it was predominantly dark. It looked exactly like this, down to the pattern and shape. It also moved in such a weird way that I actually thought it might be a Sidewinder, to my surprise, in looking for a resemblance I learned that sidewinders are actually Rattlers so I just started looking for common Florida species.
    What freaks me out was I had just been out there, smoking a cigarette with the lights out (if I turn the lights on it pretty much invites every mosquito in the entire town over for a feast) and when my daughter told me where it was curled up before it ran into that corner, I'll be damned if I wasn't practically sitting on top of it. I used a broom to guide it off the patio and we haven't seen it since but that is my first encounter with a venomous snake.

  5. #65
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    Your first venomous snake! Oh, the memories. Actually, I can't remember my first, but one of the more memorable happened on one of my Dad's botany/plant taxonomy field trips. I think I was 8-9 at the time. We went to a spot I was very familiar with and he let me go with some of the students out on a nighttime salamander hunt. I took them to some good spots up this creek and when we returned, we realized that each of us had just stepped over a very large cottonmouth on the stream bank. The students went back out to look for more salamanders. I, however, wasn't allowed to go on the second trip.

    Most of my encounters with poisonous snakes have been like that -- step over them without realizing it, have them swim between my legs while I was wading, etc. So when I took a friend out bug hunting once, I explained all this to her when she said she was worried about poisonous snakes. Oh, I said, I've never been bitten in all the years, etc., etc. Naturally, she got bitten that day. Sigh.

    Glad to hear that your situation turned out better that it did for my friend (yes, she razzed me a bit once we realized she was okay).
    Last edited by ABR.; 2009-Dec-02 at 04:01 AM. Reason: fixed goof
    So many bugs, so little time.

  6. #66
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    What is the situation when you are bit by one of those? Is it a rush against time or is it the secondary infections from bacteria that is more of a concern? Most of the Sites call them potentially deadly so I imagine they are not quite as bad as Rattlers (which, as I am told are also pretty common to this area but I have never seen one). That is so typical though, "No, don't worry, you'll be fine!" famous last words.

    I made quite a spectacle of myself this morning. It was my normal pre-dawn cup of coffee on the patio and just as I was approaching my table, my neighbors sprinklers went off. The hissing sound made me jump clear out of my skin, especially when I glanced down and had mistaken a garden glove, laying on the ground, for a coiled up viper waiting to kill me.

  7. #67
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    I'll say that I've never had some creepy critter in mind, only to be completely freaked by something totally harmless.

    I'll also say that's a complete lie.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    What is the situation when you are bit by one of those? Is it a rush against time or is it the secondary infections from bacteria that is more of a concern? Most of the Sites call them potentially deadly so I imagine they are not quite as bad as Rattlers (which, as I am told are also pretty common to this area but I have never seen one). That is so typical though, "No, don't worry, you'll be fine!" famous last words.
    When my friend was bitten by the cottonmouth, we didn't realize what had happened at first. We were walking through some brush and she thought she was tangled up in barbed wire. She picked up her foot and there was the snake dangling from it. It was a small snake and she was wearing rubber wading boots so we didn't think anything of it at the time especially since we couldn't find any puncture wounds on her. The next day she had some flu-like symptoms that went away pretty quickly so we counted it as an official bite, but it was probably just nerves.

    For me, if I get bitten by a poisonous snake, I'm going to go to the emergency room. I react to all sorts of things like poison ivy/oak, bee and wasp stings and even caterpillar hairs (surprisingly toxic on some species). I figure a poisonous snake bite is probably going to affect me so I won't waste time. You're right about the rattlesnake bites generally being more serious (people who wait for treatment can lose limbs or life). But an infected bite can be just as dangerous if left untreated.

    So I guess my best advice is first of all, if you get bitten get a solid ID on the snake. Take pictures, good pictures. I know in some cases it's easier to bring the snake along and this usually happens in pieces, although I am on record as not recommending the killing of snakes unless absolutely necessary. That's why if you really know how to identify snakes, especially distinguishing between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes in your area, before you ever get bitten, all the better. The treatment is going to be up to the medical professionals. I've never gotten medical treatment for a bite from a non-poisonous snake, but if a big water snake tagged me, I probably would just to be on the safe side.

    Finally, because I can't resist, if you are out walking and get bitten on the leg or foot, closetgeek, whether you should seek medical help or not will probably depend on which leg gets bitten!
    So many bugs, so little time.

  9. #69
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    Maybe this is a bit of a derail, but I found this article from Scientific American on the benefits of nature, to be very interesting.

    The benefits of spending time in nature have been well-documented. Psychological research has shown that natural experiences help to reduce stress, improve mood, and promote an overall increase in physical and psychological well-being. There is even evidence that hospital patients with a view of nature recover faster than do hospital patients without such a view. This line of research provides clear evidence that people are drawn to nature with good reason. It has restorative properties.

    But a recent article by researchers at the University of Rochester shows that experiences with nature can affect more than our mood. In a series of studies, Netta Weinstein, Andrew Przybylski, and Richard Ryan, University of Rochester, show that exposure to nature can affect our priorities and alter what we think is important in life. In short, we become less self-focused and more other-focused. Our value priorities shift from personal gain, to a broader focus on community and connection with others.
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  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    I'll say that I've never had some creepy critter in mind, only to be completely freaked by something totally harmless.

    I'll also say that's a complete lie.
    I'm sorry, I hate to derail my own thread but your post brings to mind, what I think to be, the single funniest moment in my ten years of marriage (odd that he doesn't agree), and I feel compelled to share it. To get the full appreciation of the moment, you have to get the visual though. My ex-husband can have a rather intimidating presence; 6'1", 210lbs, tattoos up and down both his arms, and a buzzed head. The typical routine was, I would wake him with a cup of coffee, come around to my side of the bed, pick the pillows up off the floor and put them back on the bed so I can lean against them while I drank my coffee. That morning, as I picked up the pillow and swung it around to the bed, something rather big was dangling from the bottom of the pillow, only, by the time I realized what it was, it was already sailing through the air heading directly into his bare chest. He knew what it was, the moment it hit him and let out the girliest scream I had ever heard come from any human; male or female, jumped out of the bed, spilled his hot coffee, which caused his to follow up with the second most feminine sound humanly possible. I probably would have been freaking out at the idea of a Wolf Spider, roughly the size of a 5yr olds fist, now lost in the bed if I wasn't laughing so hard. Needless to say, an argument over how funny it actually was, immediately followed but it was too late, I was already lost in a full on laughing fit and the angrier he got over my hysteria, the harder I laughed.
    I may or may not have shared this before, but I'll take that chance.

    Finally, because I can't resist, if you are out walking and get bitten on the leg or foot, closetgeek, whether you should seek medical help or not will probably depend on which leg gets bitten!
    ABR, that's exactly why I don't necessarily agree with keeping your best foot forward

  11. #71
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    I think spiders still bring out the inner monkey in all of us! At least, I try to tell myself that when I'm the one jumping for the nearest tree.

    As for your last comment, I suppose if I were given to using smilies, I might go for the non-chalant, whistling one right about now....
    So many bugs, so little time.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABR. View Post
    I think spiders still bring out the inner monkey in all of us! At least, I try to tell myself that when I'm the one jumping for the nearest tree.

    As for your last comment, I suppose if I were given to using smilies, I might go for the non-chalant, whistling one right about now....
    Hehe ok a few more from my garden.

    The underside of a live Badge Huntsman spider. These things grow to 4" across and like to invade people's homes and car ventilation systems, a trait that causes several car accidents every year.



    Here's a couple of Galahs enjoying a squawk in the morning.



    And a bee doing something to a purple flower.



    clop

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by clop View Post
    And a bee doing something to a purple flower.
    "If you know what I mean".

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  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by clop View Post
    Hehe ok a few more from my garden.
    Wow clop, I think you win the thread. You're far ahead so far, anyway. Great pictures.
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  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    No it was predominantly dark. It looked exactly like this, down to the pattern and shape. It also moved in such a weird way that I actually thought it might be a Sidewinder, to my surprise, in looking for a resemblance I learned that sidewinders are actually Rattlers so I just started looking for common Florida species.
    I grew up in Florida. There are only 4 species of poisenous snakes in Florida: Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Coral Snake, Copperhead, and Cottonmouth water moccasin.

    If it was truely venemous (1), with that coloring, and you being in Florida, it could only have been a cottonmouth. Given your visiting cranes, you're near water, and in Florida, that means cottonmouths.

    ...What freaks me out was I had just been out there, smoking a cigarette...


    ...with the lights out (if I turn the lights on it pretty much invites every mosquito in the entire town over for a feast) and when my daughter told me where it was curled up before it ran into that corner, I'll be damned if I wasn't practically sitting on top of it. I used a broom to guide it off the patio and we haven't seen it since but that is my first encounter with a venomous snake.
    (1) All venomous snakes in the US, with the exception of the coral snake, have "cat-eyes," that is, they're pupils are not round. This is to facilitate the detection of movement.

    In the case of coral snakes, they're scavengers, not hunters, so have developed no such need for prey movement detection. But their coloring is rather distinctive!

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABR. View Post
    So I guess my best advice is first of all, if you get bitten get a solid ID on the snake. Take pictures, good pictures...
    What?

    Kill it! Drag its dead carcass into the ER with you so you and the docs know for DANG sure you're not getting the wrong antivenin!

    If you don't have a credible ID on the snake, they will NOT give you antivenin, as the cure, if wrongly matched, can be worse than the bite!
    Last edited by mugaliens; 2009-Dec-06 at 01:43 AM.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    I grew up in Florida. There are only 4 species of poisenous snakes in Florida: Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Coral Snake, Copperhead, and Cottonmouth water moccasin.
    Though I am told that animal control is called here, on occassion to remove a Rattlesnake, I have yet to see one of those. I have been warned of Coral snakes and my only experience with one of those is one being curled up inside the electricity box outside my house. One person told me that there is something in the color pattern that distinguishes the poisonous Coral from the non-poisonous Coral. Then I was later told that it was an old wives tale and not entirely reliable, so I pretty much steer clear of any brigtly colored snakes. Until now, the only snakes I have commonly come across are Black Racers, which I was told a long time ago do not have teeth, then learned the hard way that they really do, and they are sharp. Other than that just your basic garden variety.

    (1) All venomous snakes in the US, with the exception of the coral snake, have "cat-eyes," that is, they're pupils are not round. This is to facilitate the detection of movement.

    In the case of coral snakes, they're scavengers, not hunters, so have developed no such need for prey movement detection. But their coloring is rather distinctive!
    I did a lot of reading on Cottonmouth breeds and so far, all the identifying features are such that you would have to get closer than I am comfortable going, to identify; the cats eyes, the divit in the nose, and the barely able to see in adults band around the body...pass. It's still neat to think about, I have a viper on my patio .

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    What?

    Kill it! Drag its dead carcass into the ER with you so you and the docs know for DANG sure you're not getting the wrong antivenin!
    Every now and then you meet someone who acts on this advice and sustains three more bites while chasing and attempting to kill an angry snake. It can make the difference between a single dry bite and massive envenoming.
    With the current prevalence of decent cameras in mobile phones, advice is moving towards at least trying for a good picture before setting about the snake. Then you can e-mail the picture to the emergency room while you're travelling, and arrive to find the antivenin waiting.

    ETA: If you do kill and transport the snake, make sure it's actually dead. There's at least one example of a patient turning up in an emergency room with a "dead" snake in a bag. The doctor who opened the bag subsequently required antivenin, too.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Every now and then you meet someone who acts on this advice and sustains three more bites while chasing and attempting to kill an angry snake. It can make the difference between a single dry bite and massive envenoming.
    With the current prevalence of decent cameras in mobile phones, advice is moving towards at least trying for a good picture before setting about the snake. Then you can e-mail the picture to the emergency room while you're travelling, and arrive to find the antivenin waiting.

    Grant Hutchison
    In Australia it is illegal to kill any snake, except in self-defence.

    There have been numerous occasions where I've been sitting out on my patio in the sunshine and had a Brown snake slither past. They're amongst the top five most venomous snakes in the world but they'd rather retreat than get into a fight with you.

    Most Australian gardens harbour at least one (probably fatally venomous) snake. Feck (a very soft version of the f word in the same vein as flip, of Irish origin and condoned by the broadcasting authorities of Great Britain for acceptable prime-time televisual transmission), they found a Red-bellied Black snake in Grenfell Street recently, right in the centre of town.

    clop

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    A friend enjoys telling the tale of the owner of Lefty's Bar, in Belize.

    Lefty was bitten in the right hand by a fer-de-lance while he was travelling in the jungle, several days from civilization of any description. Knowing the fatality rate, and the high incidence of local necrosis from such bites, he chose to wrap a tourniquet around his forearm and then lop off his own hand with a machete.
    The punchline of Lefty's story is: "But I'm not that handy with me left hand, so I needed to take a couple of swings at it."

    Grant Hutchison

  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    Though I am told that animal control is called here, on occassion to remove a Rattlesnake, I have yet to see one of those.
    "Those?"

    I have been warned of Coral snakes and my only experience with one of those is one being curled up inside the electricity box outside my house.
    They're pretty benign, and only bite when handled in all but the most gentle of terms. Which is usually for most americans., so most Americans should not handle them.

    One person told me that there is something in the color pattern that distinguishes the poisonous Coral from the non-poisonous Coral.
    There is no "non-poisenous coral." If it's nose has a black tip, RUN!!!

    Seriously, just get back, as you have no experience handling snakes.

    Then I was later told that it was an old wives tale and not entirely reliable, so I pretty much steer clear of any brigtly colored snakes.
    Sure - pick them up and see how many tens of minutes you live after being bitten...

    Until now, the only snakes I have commonly come across are Black Racers, which I was told a long time ago do not have teeth, then learned the hard way that they really do, and they are sharp. Other than that just your basic garden variety.
    Garden snakes stink. Racers can bite, but if you've your tetanus shots up to speed, you're fine.

    CG's talking about the poisenous variety.

    I grew up over 11 years in Orange Park, Fl. I raised all manner of reptilian and amphibian life, including eastern diamondback, coral snake, copperhead, and water moccasin.

    While my mother never kept any anti-venin on hand, the neighbor kid who interested me in herpetology had a mother who was a nurse, and she kept the antivenin in her home.

    I was never bit. Her son was bit three times, and all three times he''d have died if his mom hadn't administered antivenin.

    If you don't know what you're doing, don't mess with poisenous snakes!!!

    I did a lot of reading on Cottonmouth breeds and so far, all the identifying features are such that you would have to get closer than I am comfortable going, to identify; the cats eyes, the divit in the nose, and the barely able to see in adults band around the body...pass. It's still neat to think about, I have a viper on my patio .
    Good! Enjoy them from afar.

  22. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    If you don't know what you're doing, don't mess with poisenous snakes!!!
    This is good advice and really extends to all snakes, poisonous/venomous or non.

    Take home message: be safe, know what to do and what not to do, and if something does go wrong, don't make matters worse than they already are.
    So many bugs, so little time.

  23. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    One person told me that there is something in the color pattern that distinguishes the poisonous Coral from the non-poisonous Coral. Then I was later told that it was an old wives tale and not entirely reliable, so I pretty much steer clear of any brigtly colored snakes.
    Probably you were told how to tell coral snakes from their non-venomous mimics (like kingsnakes). The mimics have similarly coloured stripes, but in a different order: "Red on yellow kills a fellow, but red on black is okay Jack."
    Don't try to use it outside North America.

    Grant Hutchison

  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Probably you were told how to tell coral snakes from their non-venomous mimics (like kingsnakes). The mimics have similarly coloured stripes, but in a different order: "Red on yellow kills a fellow, but red on black is okay Jack."
    Don't try to use it outside North America.

    Grant Hutchison
    Beat me to it.

    I will add that coral snakes are much smaller and more secretive than the other venomous North American snakes and it's more difficult for them to bite you. As I understand it, most coral snake bites come from handling them and even then, the danger may be if they can get you between the fingers where they have an easier time actually biting. Despite a lot of searching, I've never seen a coral snake in the wild, darnit all.
    So many bugs, so little time.

  25. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post
    I grew up in Florida. There are only 4 species of poisenous snakes in Florida: Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Coral Snake, Copperhead, and Cottonmouth water moccasin.
    I didn't spend as much time in Florida as you but I was sure I remembered more (like the Pygmy) so I just had to check: Guide to Florida's Venomous Snakes from the Florida Museum of Natural History. The only two I actually encountered, though, were the Copperhead and the Cottonmouth.
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    Well I found out why I don't see that retarded possum in my parent's yard anymore. About three weeks back she wandered into a backyard that was the exclusive domain of "Duke" and "Duchess" and their human owners. According to my friend, Ol' Weird Bob, who lives around the corner from my parents and shares a fence with the aforemention labradors. It wasn't a quiet demise and Bob came out for the commotion, thinking it was trespassers in trouble.

    Rather sad, she was always good for a laugh when she cruised through the yard, bumping into stuff. But had the annoying habit of pulling down the hummingbird feeders so she could drink the juice. Prehensile tail facilitating this prank. I dread to think what happened to her kits, who weren't in evidence. Last couple of times I saw her she had a whole pile of them on her back, (as that's how they transport them) but it's been several weeks and I don't know the length of dependence for baby possoms.

    That really looks weird and unworldly the first time you see that in the dark by the way. A mama possum with a bunch of baby possums on her back.

    You find yourself thinking, "Hmmm, either that's one of the Dark Young of Shub'nuggeroth* or I'm not seeing something correctly." It's the dark sihoulette with the contrasting pink hairless tails. Then she wandered under the porch light to steal the catfood.

    I have a ton of snake stories but I've run out of steam it seems. I'll get back to it when I've rested a bit.








    *(Micro Division, as the full sized ones are often mistaken for a small grove of trees in the dark. It's the multiple thick legs and rustling noise they make standing still. Though if you start to hear flute-like sounds it's probably on to you and you'll need more than guns and good luck to see the Sun again...)
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    It's good to see you back in action, BigDon!
    So many bugs, so little time.

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    Oh great. BigDon is back.

    Now he's going to put my stories to shame with his. I just had a wicked one about when the Dorrito fell behind the Couch. We lost many men that day...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Last couple of times I saw her she had a whole pile of them on her back, (as that's how they transport them) but it's been several weeks and I don't know the length of dependence for baby possoms.
    A quick google says they're on her back 1-2 months, after which they are ready to leave.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Probably you were told how to tell coral snakes from their non-venomous mimics (like kingsnakes). The mimics have similarly coloured stripes, but in a different order: "Red on yellow kills a fellow, but red on black is okay Jack."
    Don't try to use it outside North America.

    Grant Hutchison
    It's the scarlet kingsnake which is often mistaken for a coral snake.

    The "red on yellow" only applies to North American coral snakes. The way I learned is that coral snakes have a black-tipped nose, while scarlet kingsnakes have a scarlet nose.

    Like the banding, the "black nose" approach only works for coral snakes indigenous to North America, as other species, such as the Asian coral snake, have no black/yellow banding.

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