Thursday, May 23, 2013

Arizona's Dangerous Desert Varmints

by Pa Rock

Arizona can be a damned dangerous place to live, and it’s not just the fact that we elect troglodytes like Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio to public office - or the fact that every drunken moron has a stockpile of guns.    In addition to the dangers that we bring on ourselves, Mother Nature has also seen fit to keep us in line with a host of deadly creatures.

I was at a health fair today where one of the exhibits was a live rattlesnake whose rattle could be heard across the entire auditorium.  The Sonora Desert is a veritable playground to these sinister reptiles.   After I finished trying to get a tune out of the snake, I picked up a brochure on some other desert varmints.

I jokingly refer to Arizona as being “The Scorpion State,” but the name truly does fit.  According to the information that I acquired today, there are fifty-three varieties of scorpions in this state, one of which, the Bark Scorpion, is deadly. 

I told the young fellow at the snake exhibit about my close encounter with a scorpion, one that resulted in me being stung twice while trying to fight my way out of bed in the middle of the night.  I didn’t know what to do, so I pulled up information on the Internet which basically said that either I would die or I wouldn’t.  After about an hour I decided that I was probably in the latter category – so I went back to bed.  The fellow at the exhibit told me that the correct thing to have done would have been to go to the emergency room because the bites of just about any scorpion can be deadly if the victim is allergic to the venom.

I must have not been allergic.

It is hard to describe what a scorpion sting feels like, but for those of you from cooler climates, it feels exactly like the sting of a yellow jacket.  (Years ago while mowing my yard in southern Missouri I unknowingly mowed over a yellow jacket nest that had been constructed underground.  I was stung eight times - and felt that death would have been a mercy!

There was also information of Africanized honey bees (a.k.a. “Killer” bees).   While bees seem to be in some mysterious decline nationwide, Arizona has regular stories in the news about bee attacks.  Just a couple of weeks ago a hiker in the mountains around Tucson was killed by a bee swarm.  According to the material that I read today,  all bees in Arizona are now thought to be Africanized honey bees.

Living here is a challenge on so many levels.  If Jan and Joe or the teabaggers with guns don’t get you, Mother Nature just might.    Tourists beware!

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