Wild Things Are Among Us

Bobcats, Snakes and Spiders

They were here before us and live here still. The cats, reptiles and arachnids mind their business and we mind ours. There are others too–the roadrunners, the quail, the elk and the deer–to mention just a few.

The spiders have been with us all along–the occasional tarantula climbing the stucco-covered walls and once approaching the front door. It didn’t gain entry–couldn’t squeeze beneath the weatherstripping like the ants or the little lizards we found sunning themselves before the dining room wall unit.

I am the spider whisperer, gathering those within the house gently with a tissue or sometimes barehanded. “Have a nice day,” I may say, as I bid them farewell out of doors. Only once, a month ago or so, have I killed one. A black widow in the storage/work room. Likely as not, had I relocated it nearby it might have found its way back inside. A risky proposition, putting us at risk of serious harm. A fly swatter did it in.

A dead Black Widow spider on a fly swatter

The bobcat visited only a month ago as well. Perhaps 35 pounds or so–nearly the size of our dog Max. He offered an aggressive warning, from a 100-feet away. Happy was I that I had leashed Max before going out!. We haven’t seen the cat again–or maybe we have. My wife said she saw glowing lights in a tree two nights last week. Reflections of eyes too wide-set for a raccoon (which we have never seen here anyway) but not so large as those of a bear. Again a 100-feet away, to the north past the fence separating our property from a neighbor’s land. Besides that, we did see a paw print, two or three feet from the house–it might have been the cat’s. That’s the tip of a size 10 winter Croc to the left for size comparison.

Perhaps the track of a bobcat, to the northeast of a Croc tip

The snakes, too, are common enough. The rodent-eating bull snakes, three to four feet long, that don’t bother people. A variety of others live here too, of varying sizes and colors–striped and not. Over six years, we have seen just three rattlesnakes. Never as close to the house than this year. The year of bobcats and black widows. Three-feet-long and as thick as my wrist–some might say a splendid specimen. The black-tailed rattler crawled from below the great room window toward the knee wall across the patio. It curled itself around a roadrunner–a metal sculpture of one, to be precise, awaiting a hard rain to cease. Ironic–those birds eat snakes. Not ones the size of this one, of course. As the rain stopped, the rattler went on it’s way. We haven’t seen it since. Of course the photo is a zoom. It had the characteristic wedge-shaped head–all the better for venom-filled fangs.

Rattlesnake coiled next to metal sculpture

The elk are nearby now. We hear their surprisingly high-pitched voices. More will be here soon. October is mating season. The agave blooms are gone, but there are other things for them to eat. They will co-exist for a time with the grazing cattle, who will come at weeks-end, perhaps for three weeks this year. Careful driving and a closed gate keeps them and us from incidents, docile though they are.

The frantic flyers are fewer in number now. The brightly-colored hummingbirds travel farther south as the cold comes calling. Fifties at night now. That’s OK with them. Forties not so much. We filled the last bottles of sugar water yesterday. They’ll last as long as the visitors do.

Yes, the wild things are among us. Perhaps it’s we who are among them. We love them all. Perhaps they care not so much for us. We try to enjoy them, not harm them. Except for the few dangerous ones we cannot avoid–a scorpion or poisonous centipede in the house. And now the Black Widow. Worth the price of admission to our dream house.

 

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6 thoughts on “Wild Things Are Among Us

    1. This is the most unusual year–with the rattler, the black widow and the bobcat so close. In 2005, for our 25th anniversary, we went from Toronto to Vancouver on VIARail. We stopped in Jasper an Banff. We marveled at the elk in Jasper. Now we see them many times each year right where we live!

  1. Worth the price, indeed. Sounds beautiful. I raised my family in CA for 20 years, before returning back ‘home’ to England. Never could get used to the threat of black widows and rattlers…!

    1. We looked for a long time for the right place. The infrastructure cost of a road to the top and more were the real dollar price. But yes, it is wonderful! Thanks for stopping by. 😀

  2. The Spider Whisperer—that’s a title to be proud of, John. I was a teacher by trade, but for many years I also painted houses in the summer. (It’s amazing how easy it is to get off your butt when you have no income rolling in.) I never used it, but I know that the paint stores used to sell a pesticide to put in paint to keep the spiders away. (I’m skeptical if it worked.) My philosophy is the same as yours: Why harm something that isn’t hurting us?

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