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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wildlife Sightings: Vol. 7

Living in Washington has given us a unique opportunity to be out in nature. Daily sightings of seals and tree squirrels and crabs and eagles have been incredible. Arizona offers wildlife of its own variety, albeit a sometimes creepy one.

We were sitting in Tyler's parents' living room when Tyler said the words that no one wants to hear.

"There's a scorpion on the ottoman."

As any sane person with a broken foot would do, I pulled myself over to the far corner of the couch and squealed at Tyler to kill it and keep Zora away. The last thing we needed was a visit to the vet for a scorpion sting.

"Wait, where's the camera? Don't you want to take a picture of it for your blog?"

"What? No! Just kill it!"

In retrospect, I could have taken a picture after Tyler smashed it with the dust pan, but I just wanted the nasty thing out. I remembered the time I was babysitting my cousins and tried to smash a baby scorpion by covering it with a waist-high pile of heavy photo albums and books. When my uncle went in for the kill, it was still alive, awaiting death and snug between the carpet fibers.  Gross.

While writing this post, I can't even handle looking at stock images of scorpions, so instead, here is an adorable dog, child, penguin, and sheep.

via maddieonthings
via snippetandink
via pinterest
But wait! There's more! On Labor day, we were invited to our friend Nathan's older sister's house for a barbecue. When we got there, Nathan came outside to lead us in via the garage because his brother-in-law's two boa constrictors were quite literally "hanging out" just inside the front entrance while their cage was getting cleaned. I grew up with all kinds of pets, including a gopher snake, so I was actually intrigued to see them. I wonder if they'll let me hold one? I thought to myself. 

I had just crutched from the kitchen over to the front room to check things out, when Nathan's younger sister Susanna reached to pick one of the snakes up. It snapped at her almost immediately, managed to get nearly half of her hand in its mouth, and quickly started wrapping around her arm. Her brother-in-law was the only other person to see it, and he rushed over to start pulling the snake's jaws off. It wasn't working. He called for Nathan to come and help, but I didn't think he heard him. I couldn't look away but also couldn't really help with just one leg and no hands, so all I said was, "Uh, Nathan, your brother-in-law needs you!"

When Nathan saw, he said something like, "Oh shit," before running and grabbing a screwdriver to help pry the snake off. The screwdriver worked, and bite marks of all sizes covered the top of Susanna's hand. It was starting to bruise. 

Unfortunately, with the snake's head gripped between his fingers, the brother-in-law couldn't pull away from the animal's coiling around his other arm. He started losing feeling until Nathan's older brother unwrapped it with difficulty. Gasping after the snake had finally been uncoiled and relaxed in his hands, he joked, "Wow! It's like it's a wild animal or something!"

Once everything settled down, it turned out that the snake hadn't been fed in a couple of weeks; since Susanna had just been preparing spicy chicken wings, she smelled and probably tasted like dinner to the boa. Moral of the story: Don't handle snakes after handling food. Or, just don't handle them at all. 

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