By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Starfish cacti are also more morbidly called the carrion flower. These stinky, but spectacular, plants make interesting additions to the home. This article has more information on growing starfish flower cactus.
Before we get to the issue of pulling starfish out of the water, I also think it is important to point out that people are still collecting starfish, drying them out and using them for decoration purposes. This is of course unacceptable and by now, we all understand why.
Moreover, taking starfish out of the water can seriously affect their health. First of all, because those animals breathe under water and can only do so in that environment. Getting a starfish out of the water means that it will not be able to breathe as long as it is out of the water. The risk of asphyxiation is therefore undeniable.
Not only that but being exposed directly to the open air causes significant damage to its skin, even if you do it quickly. Finally, touching a starfish could expose it to compounds that might not be harmful to you but are harmful to its species. Sunscreens for example can be very toxic to starfish.
The take-home message is very simple: avoid all interactions and physical contact with starfish as much as possible. It is indeed an intriguing animal but it will never be as beautiful as it is in its natural environment. The picture below was taken at Starfish Island in Honda Bay, not far from Puerto Princesa, in the Philippines.
By the way, from my point of view, this is one of the best beaches in the Philippines!
A mole can be a tricky creature to evict because it lives underground. Repellants, poisons, and fumigants are all options, but should be avoided if you have pets or children that may get exposed. You also may have heard of home remedies like putting moth balls in the tunnels or spraying castor oil over the area, but none of these are effective. The only sure way to get rid of a mole is to use a mole-specific trap that will kill the animal. You can find above- and below-ground traps to do the job (Easy Mole Trap Step-To-Set Metal Mole Trap, $24, The Home Depot). Follow the package directions for correct placement, and move the tunnel traps daily while you're still noticing activity to increase your chances of eliminating the mole.
Spring and fall, when the ground is not frozen, are the best times of the year for getting rid of moles because that's when they're most active. Usually, you'll only have one or maybe two moles to trap to solve the problem because they don't live in groups.