They’re Not Kidding
April 26, 2018
It is dusk here in the high desert. The color of the sky is a muted combination of pale blues and lavenders above a seemingly grey horizon. No rain clouds, though. Just mellow relaxing hues with the occasional swath of pale tangerine with a touch of clouds. The younger three dogs are outside chasing the lizards that have suddenly appeared. Yesterday, they announced the presence of a snake under the propane tank. I’ve been a little worried about their interest in the tank. I assumed they were after mice, until Freckles’ voice went shrill and stayed that way until I went to investigate. I’m not all that familiar with Arizona reptiles, but, because the head was small, I assumed it wasn’t poisonous. Nonetheless, I dragged the dogs back inside.
Later in the day, I had another look under the tank. No snake. I let the dogs out and went to visit a neighbor.
There is something you should know about snakes, and other things that live in Arizona. They don’t die.
Well. Not right away, anyway. Even with their heads off, they writhe, scurry, slither, and wiggle.
Maybe you’ve seen something like this on an old spaghetti western. When the bad guy takes the final bullet, he staggers, blunders into onlookers, clutching at his bleeding torso, crying out to his only true love – wherever she is. No quick death for him. It can take hours.
Well. The wildlife apparently do the same thing.
On my way back to our house, I saw Freckles playing with a writhing something-or-another that looked like a small snake. Was there a nest under the propane? Had Freckles pulled out a baby?
No. Freckles was simply playing with the back four inches of whatever had been living out there. Playing with it because it kept wriggling in the most enthusiastic manner. Lord only knows where the head was, but the tail was having a gay old time trying to get away from my dog.
Several years ago, when I had my first encounter with an Arizona centipede (Do Not Touch!), I lopped its head off, expecting it to roll over and play dead. No, the darn thing zigged and zagged across the kitchen floor. I obviously watched Fantasia too many times as a kid, because all I kept thinking of was whether or not the pieces would regenerate, and I’d suddenly find myself surrounded by a multitude, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the brooms. I demolished the thing into its DNA strands with a heavy book, just in case.
There is another creature out here that Hannah simply loves: Child of the Earth, aka Jerusalem Cricket.
Ugliest things God ever made. Hannah can spot one from two rooms away. She trots over. Does the Stare, and then, unless I intervene (yuk), she picks the thing up, and trots around the house with it in her mouth.
Now, I love my Hannah-Dog, but this is not my idea of a good time. She won’t drop it. I won’t grab it. And the thing writhes and wriggles, and, if you believe what I was told, it sounds like a baby crying. I don’t know about that crying business. I’m usually focused on trying to get Hannah to at least take the thing outside. She dropped one in the living room one time. I stepped on it, but it didn’t smoosh. It just kind of – well. Buy some of those jelly candies, and step on them. They don’t smoosh either. Yick.
Hannah’s also the best Wolf Spider Pointer on the planet.
We haven’t seen any wolf spiders yet this year. I’d rather not, to be honest. They are quite beautiful. While they are not quite the size of a dinner plate, the one between the washer and the dryer would have fit nicely on the salad plate. I confess, I still feel guilty for smashing it to smithereens.
Spring has come to our part of the planet, and with it comes a whole Animalia I hardly know.
Should be interesting … now where did I put that book?