Friday, August 23, 2013

The Last of My Wildlife Tales ~ Where We Learn the Bear Slept Here and a Rattlesnake Comes By to Visit

As it does most days, a strong wind blew the other day when I was up by the garden, rinsing dirt off a bunch of radishes I had just picked. Suddenly, I sensed something coming at me from behind, and my heart took a little leap, I must admit, after all these wild critters visiting. I turned around and was nearly knocked down by this gigantic tumble weed that came rolling up the hill and in my face. Nearly as tall as I, it was impressive as it continued on its way.

This morning, I took Samson up the hillside to where it had finally been stopped by a juniper tree. I wanted to take its picture to post here. The first thing we saw were bear tracks and three big piles of fresh scat, which looked like the bear had eaten too many juniper cones and had an upset stomach. Deciding to forget about the picture, I took Samson for our regular walk. 

Later, I took my husband there and, as we walked around, we came upon the bear's resting place under a juniper, and also this spot where it had rolled around in the dirt. 

This is right behind our house. Up the hill a ways. 

We also saw a small coyote drinking from our leaking faucet, all the while being watched by a huge Jackrabbit, sitting up on the hillside. From the right angle, that would have been a National Geographic moment, but since I was in the house, all I could do was enjoy the moment. The small coyote limped as it walked away. I wonder if the rabbit knew it was safe all along. To the left in the above picture, you can see a clearly marked trail, traveled mainly by coyotes. 

After the racer snake came into the dog enclosure back in June, my husband bought this stuff at Home Depot and sprinkled it around the house. It's safe for dogs to step in and not toxic. In addition to getting rid of snakes, this made the fence lizards move over to our sheds, and also got rid of the mice. A disappointed Samson has only caught two mice all summer long, not much compared to last year's haul. 

From 2007, this is my favorite picture of a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake. 

Unless something really exciting happens, this will be the last of my wildlife tales for now. But it wouldn't be complete without a rattlesnake visit. And it happened yesterday evening, as my husband was showing our new neighbor, Luis, our veggie garden. 

When we first met our new neighbors, my husband suggested that the flipflops they wore were not appropriate here because of the rattlesnakes. That was in May, and once May is over, the snakes only come out at night, so the neighbors never saw one. I'm glad he got to see one, so he can now believe they are for real. He had never seen one and my husband said he was quite excited, videoing it on his phone. But my husband was sure Luis did not believe the bear story. 


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