Wild, wild life by Deb Meredith

posedformurderUnlike Lydia McKenzie in Posed for Murder, I was raised in the country. Wildlife in general doesn’t scare me. At least I’m not usually freaked out by the kind of wildlife that lives in Virginia. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my share of frightening animal encounters.

I really hate snakes, and have no desire to pet one or–God forbid–keep one as a pet. Once I picked up what I thought was a piece of black rubber on the ground only to have a 3-foot black snake slither out of my hand. I still shiver when I think about it. I’ve unfortunately passed my dislike onto my son–he can’t even look at a picture of a snake without getting scared.

I’m not frightened of bees, but I seem to be some sort of hornet magnet. I’ve probably stepped in hornet’s nests at least twice. Hornets get pretty mad when you invade their home. I was stung all over my body, including several times on the bottom of my foot inside my shoe. Ouch! The only way to get them to stop stinging me was to strip off all my clothes and jump under the shower.

We never had any bears around when I was growing up, so I haven’t had much experience with them. My brother is a river guide, and once my husband and I went to kayak a river with him in Tennessee. He warned us that a teenage bear had been hanging around the campground. We went to sleep, lulled by the sound of the rapids, only to be awakened in the middle of the night by a bear’s roar and the barking of dogs. I had never heard a bear roar before, but the sound was unmistakable and primal. We huddled in our little fabric tent just hoping he wouldn’t see us as a possible crunchy snack.

The next morning, not at all refreshed but in one piece, we found out that the bear had been treed by the campground’s dogs. A ranger came the next day with a dart gun, hoping to catch him and take him further into the mountains. And we were just as happy to travel back to civilization and sleep in a bed undisturbed by bears. Ah, city life!

13 Replies to “Wild, wild life by Deb Meredith”

  1. That book sounds good. Added it to my TBR pile!
    I too hate snacks! I seen one slither across the road infront of me one time and I about had a heart attack! lol. I also hate spiders and I seem to find them all of the time!

  2. I’m no big fan of snakes, either, but somehow I almost never see them in the “wild” even when camping. Maybe I have a blind spot for them, maybe they don’t like Michigan’s cold so we don’t have many, I don’t know. Also, you rarely find snakes crawling across your bathroom mirror, so I still rank them less scary than spiders.

    That bear story sounds terrifying! And those are some brave dogs.

  3. Add me to the “not wild about snakes” list. But I was attacked by zebras in a wildlife park.

    It was one of those drive-through-and-feed-the-critters-zoo-kibble-from-your-car places. I was alone. They were used to cars full of families feeding out of each window. At my car, the only food came out of the drivers side window.

    Then, they started chewing on the windshield wipers and rubber window gasket. (Yes, it was a rental car.) About ten of them surrounded my car.

    I’m glad I didn’t have to explain things to Avis.

    Now that you’ve jogged my memory, I’ll have to blog about it.

  4. Kris–the image of a snake on my bathroom is terrifying… I used to imagine how they could wiggle under the door as a kid. Yuck!

    Rhonda–I never thought of zebras as terrifying before. You’ve opened my eyes! I’m not a big fan of those animal feeding places since we were surrounded by hungry turkeys at one–and those birds are big!

  5. Meredith – Turkeys are creepy, without a doubt. We have a flock that ambles through our yard every once in a while. Even with a window between us, when they head toward you and seem to make eye contact ::shudder::

  6. “It was one of those drive-through-and-feed-the-critters-zoo-kibble-from-your-car places.”

    I don’t get the allure of this kind of thing, and Rhonda, you’ve reinforced my determination never to go!

  7. More on turkeys tomorrow…But the hornets, Meredith? Ouch! You poor thing! Did you ever read Bill Bryson’s book about walking the Appalachian Trail? He’s totally paranoid about bear attacks, and it’s hilarious.

  8. Tiffany–I have read that book. It’s hilarious! I read it on a plane and everyone kept staring at me during the trip because I couldn’t stop laughing out loud.

    I saw a documentary on how dinosaurs evolved into birds, and I’ve never been able to look at turkeys in the same way, Rhonda. But it sounds like Tiffany has some good turkey stories to share with us tomorrow!

  9. Deb – The drive-thru parks work as stay-near-home substitutes for African safaris, without the Big Ticket travel cost. Not to mention the shots before you go, etc.

    Some places don’t let you feed the critters, but this one did. And, for those who don’t want to get too close to the animals, you could just drive very slowly but continue to move and keep your windows up.

  10. I’ve been tempted by those parks before (I think there’s one in Virginia), but my son wasn’t sure how he felt about it. And goodness knows I don’t want him to be scared of zebras and giraffes! But I like the idea of the animals getting more room to move then a cage.

  11. Believe it or not, I went back a few years later with DH. He was able to reach out and pet the giraffe’s neck. Can you imagine? I wasn’t in quite that position. He’ll never forget it.

  12. I have an uncle who is a big fan of snakes, so I grew up with them. My little sister had a snake that used to escape her cage like clockwork in the summer–and I was always the person who found her. I would go into detail about the different places she was when I found her, but I have a feeling it would be poorly received by the snakeophobes here.

    I’ll probably get into enough trouble for saying my little sister was exposed to snakes when she was just a baby. We used to let our snake crawl on her… LOL. Of course, knowing now what I know about reptiles and salmonella, I wouldn’t do it again.

    Okay, now I’m sure everyone hates me… ha ha ha.

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