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. 


  1. well, i'm glad the new neighbor got a look at one to know you weren't pulling his leg. scary! the bear is way to close, too!

    the coyote and the jackrabbit was an interesting scene. :)

  2. Hi Inger, Your Wildlife tales have been great !
    Glad you enjoyed seeing the bees at my place, only bumble bee lately.
    We only had honey bees when the hives were brought to pollinate the cranberries after the bee keeper took the domestic hives left there have only been bumble bees. It is sad that the wild honey bees are practically non existent this year . :(

  3. I have to ask are you afraid at all that bears and snakes will come inside? Yikes. I would be scared to death. Your tales are just awesome by the way... sandie

  4. I think I would be tempted to stay indoors all the time with bears and snakes about.


  5. I have really enjoyed your wild creature stories. How amazing to see the variety of wildlife you have literally at your back doorstep!

  6. The only wildlife around here is teenagers!!

  7. Well, I believe your bear story. Be careful out there with the bear around; you don't want to run into him. Has the bobcat been back (and after my Google search, I agree: bobcat).

  8. Hi Inger,
    Must be wonderful to live in the middle of the nature. The pictures are great, scary with the snake. Enjoy your weekend!

  9. We never get to see real live nature like that. I think I'm a bit relieved! It does sound scary, even the giant tumbleweed!

  10. There are some real dangers out there where you live Inger. Your post is proof of that. xo

  11. it is good the neighbor saw it, and will know to be careful and you be careful out there with that mama bear and maybe a cub, what if that tumbleweed had been mama bear.. i would have startled really bad over that tumbleweed.

  12. Rattlesnakes were around in my area of Georgia when I was growing up. One showed up in our backyard one day. I was about to try and pick it up on a dare (from an unruly cousin) I was probably 6 or 7 yrs old. My mom came in the nick of time, and called an uncle who got rid of it. That's how I learned what they look like. He hadn't yet shaken his rattles.

    Another uncle shot one in the middle of a backcountry road when I was younger too. So, I'm not fond of snakes.

    Stay safe there, Inger. btw - that is a BIG tumbleweed. Bears scare me too. I'm a wuss when it comes to wild animals with big teeth and claws.

  13. Okay - I'm suddenly thinking I'm better off right where i am - enjoying your stories - from a distance.

    Much Joy to YOU!!!

  14. Hi Inger - love what you've both been able to do with the garden - and hope those fruits of your labour survive your desert visitors.

    Wonderful pictures and story telling - I love hearing about them .. though bears and rattlesnakes can't make comfortable companions ..

    Cheers Hilary

  15. Wow! I still live in bear country but I'm glad that we don't have to deal with the rattlers.

  16. I enjoy seeing wild life on our farm, but bears and rattlesnakes I can do without! Seriously!

    *Thank you for your comment on my blog about my children. Parenting is a very bittersweet endeavor for me. Everyone told me how great it would be, but they never talked about how heart wrenching it is at times.

  17. It looks so peaceful and beautiful where you live. I would love to live there... until I saw the first snake/bear/rattlesnake/or huge spider. Then I'd be packing my bags. You are an interesting and adventurous lady, Inger. I am in awe!

  18. Great rattlesnake picture! I didn't know there was such a thing as snake repellant -- I know some folks who could use some.

  19. Great rattlesnake picture! I didn't know there was such a thing as snake repellant -- I know some folks who could use some.

  20. OMD - mom just screamed "Snake!" and went running out of the room!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  21. That is a lovely shot of that rattler - he looks like he wants to slide away then curl up!

    Love all that the critters are coming to visit you - you are like "annie" in "Annie and the wild animals" by Jan Brett :D

  22. Oh that's a little too close for me, Inger! But fascinating nonetheless. We've even had a few coyotes lately...not in my yard, but running up the street! It's so hot and dry, and I know they're just looking for water. But it does unnerve me a little bit. You be careful! :-)


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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