Enter the Wild Kingdom

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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We South Dakotans may have to put up with pesky disease carrying mosquitoes and those annoyingly noisy cicadas that screech from the treetops each summer. We may have to live in constant fear that a deer or raccoon will decide to end it all by scampering out onto the road directly front of our car.But that’s nothing compared to the potential hazards of desert life.
Within the last year our daughter, Christy, who lives in a very nice condo, has had to deal with a fishhook-tailed scorpion that had somehow gotten into the house. She also had to shoo-away a fist-size tarantula spider that was catching a few rays on her patio.
In an earlier blog I showed you pictures of a couple bobcats sunning themselves on a neighbor’s back porch.
There are also lots of coyotes that roam the streets day and night. (If you say “Ky-Yotes” down here it’s like having a big “S.D. tattooed on your forehead.  Get used to saying “Ky-oat-ees” or get the heck out.)
I haven’t heard of anybody ever being attacked by one but they do trot along the golf courses too.
I don’t know if it’s true or not but I heard that there were three or four coyotes spotted feasting on the body of a guy in green pants and a yellow sweater who had taken his own life after four-putting a par three.
Okay, maybe that’s fiction but before teeing off the other day at Gold Canyon golf club near Superstition Mountain, the starter warned us to be wary of wandering off the course  because of rattle snakes and other creepy poisonous things that live there..not to mention a certain variety of cactus that will actually jump up to two feet to stick you with it’s sharp, painful barbs.
The elder lady who gave the warning appeared deadly serious about the jumping cactus but I wonder if she saw the S.D. tattoo and was taking advantage of our built-in gullibility.
I was a nervous wreck all day in fear of being bitten by snakes and cacti while searching for golf balls that missed the fairway.
On Monday, Christy hollered out..guys come look at this.
There, prancing along just out her back door was, what looked like, a wild boar. I’ve come to find out that javelinas (hov-ah-leen-ahs) are quite common here and don’t seem to mind tromping through neighborhoods looking for a snack before returning up to the surrounding hills.
They usually leave people alone but if cornered or threatened, they’ve been known to attack you with their little tusks and have you for supper. (An old lady at the golf course told me that.)
The main reason you don’t want to get too close to a javelina is because of the stench that comes off their hairy body from a musk gland on the back. I don’t think anyone will be making any musk cologne for men out of the aroma, though. It smells a lot like skunk. (Come to think of it, that might be appealing to some guys I know.)
 
They also have crows the size of twin-engine Cessnas down here. (Some call them grackles)
As we were sitting outside the other morning, one swooped down from the sky and with a loud “caaaw, caaaw” appeared as if it was going to pick Linda up and carry her away.
That’s when I..who have already dealt with bobcats, coyotes, deadly bugs, stinking pigs and jumping cacti on this trip..stood up and defiantly shouted, “be gone raven and return never more..never more.”

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