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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Critters I See

When we moved to Arizona, the only critter I was concerned about was a rattle snake.  That was 16 years ago.  We live in a suburban area a bit removed from the immediate Phoenix metropolitan area, so we do tend to see more wildlife.  To date, the only rattlesnake I have seen was about 1/2 mile from my home at my church.  I watched a fireman pick it up by the neck and hold it up.  It was 6 feet long.  Since then, the only Diamondbacks I have seen are at the baseball game or in a tank.

I didn’t imagine then what other critters I would frequently see.  Here is the one I see most frequently:

This is a bark scorpion which we find in our home on a semi-regular basis.  They are venomous, and when they sting it hurts – a lot.  It can also make your extremity swell or feel warm and tingly.  I have never been stung, but my daughter was about a year ago and it was a very long night for my husband and I.  We also find these on occasion.  It’s a black widow spider:

Another critter we see every so often are javalinas.  These are pretty unique to Arizona, and they look like wild pigs.  Funny thing is, they aren’t related to pigs at all.  I don’t have my own picture because they tend to herd around at night.  This picture was taken about 3 miles from my home, but he’s pretty typical.  I think they have a schedule of when our trash is picked up because they routinely turn it over the night before pickup.

We do see coyotes sometimes, but mostly we hear them – every night.  Sometimes they make the sound of a woman or child screaming and packs of them love to call out to each other.  It is really something eerie to hear them barking and wailing.

Finally, the most interesting animal we see at least a couple times of year is this one:


This is a bobcat.  The one we see likes to come up from the wash on the side of our house and wander around in our front yard.  A couple weeks ago I parked my car in the driveway in front of our house.  As I walked to my car and came around the corner to get in, I encountered my furry friend about 3 feet away.  They are beautiful animals, and when you see them you immediately think of a big housecat – think 40 pound kitty.  Luckily, they don’t usually want to see us any more than we want to see them (except the time one stood next to our house and looked in the window).    

While many people would think it’s scary to live out here in the desert, I’ve learned to enjoy the unique critters we see just like I love the unique plants and scenery.  How many people can say they see this sight 2 blocks from their home?