Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Fractured ABC's Of Christmas - Z

is for Zorilla
What the hell is that?
Well, his fur could be used
To trim Santa's hat

Yippee! I made it! Well, with the exception of "W" that is. I still can't figure out how I managed to skip that letter. I swear I sang the alphabet each an every morning just so I would know where I was in this stupid-ass series which is now finally o-v-e-r! Thanks again, Dufus!

Today's post is a re-post from October 2008 when I was living out at the ranch and some of the critters, similar to the zorilla, I would encounter. This is my version of Wild Kingdom. Look, there are pictures!

Call Me Ellie Mae!

Critters! I've got critters! Here at the ranch there are all kinds of critters. And, being in the desert southwest, most are unique to this part of the country. Since I have to co-exist with these animals, needless to say, I’m cautious and give them lots of respect and plenty of distance.

There are javelina, which can be quite nasty. Reports of people being seriously injured and killed by large groups of javelina run through my mind as a little herd moves through the ranch in the early morning. I sit on the porch swing and watch them graze on cacti and fruit that has fallen from the trees. They "clack" their tusks when danger approaches. I'm not sure what danger lurks, but the "clacking" always precedes a hurried exit into the nearby thickets. I now avoid that area near the thickets.

My first night here was spent lying in bed with my eyes wide open and the sheet pulled tight up under my chin. I wandered what in the hell it was that kept running along the upper deck - all night long! I finally got a glimpse of "it" the next evening. This creature had a long black and white tail and, of all things, very large purple eyes. What kind of hell-cat monster is this? Google reassured me. It's a ringtailcat, not to be confused with the cotamundi, a member of the raccoon family. They eat fruits, berries, lizards and mice. Apparently, they are easily tamed, make affectionate pets and are great mousers. Okay, he can stay.

And, speaking of cats, there's the cougar or mountain lion. I haven't seen one here - yet. So, I've brushed up on my cougar safety. One expert said "playing dead" is not recommended. Another stated, "don't run". "They" tell you to face the cougar, keep direct eye contact and retreat slowly, backwards. You should also try to appear larger than life by waving your arms and make a lot of noise by yelling at the lion. To me, this says, "Here I am, come and get me". Then, to top it all off, not to mention really pissing the big cat off, "they" tell you to throw rocks at the lion. Uh, huh.

Reptiles! I discussed my loathing for rattlesnakes in a previous post. But, the gila monster is a deadly lizard. Their venom is as toxic as the rattler. Yes, I've seen one and it was beautiful. The good news is, I could probably out run it - even with my bad knees. And, I won't have to yell or throw rocks at it. They feed primarily on bird and reptile eggs and only feed 5-10 times a year. Guess I'll need to gila-monster-proof the chicken coop.

t's a wildlife paradise out here at the ranch. Lots of deer, rabbits, birds of prey, badgers and even a occasional bear sighting. All only add to the wonderment of this desert oasis. I have a great pair of binoculars and hope most of my encounters are only from the front porch swing. Move over Ellie Mae!

Join me tomorrow for the New Year edition of Caption This!


  1. Gila Monsters scare the crap outa me. (shudder). Enjoyed this wild wild west post - lookin forward to the crapchun thang, too.

    The Old Silly

  2. Congrats on finishing the alphabet! Those critters are damn ugly, I'd be mean if I looked like any of them.

  3. Alphabet: FAIL. You must go back and pick up the "W".

    What? You don't care what I say?

    Oh, well. I don't blame you.

    I love the high desert but I don't ever want to see a mountain lion on my hiking trail.

  4. W is for WTF
    You may be remiss
    To mis-state you think I
    Am responsible for this

    But I guess it's okay
    You went through the ABCs
    Otherwise you'd still
    Be dissing on me.

  5. Now you've said you're abc's next time won't you......

    Oh well, can't finish it so you'll have to figure it out yourself...lol

  6. Alas, Poor W, we knew ye well.
    Me-Me's sent ye straight to hell.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I'd never heard of a havelina until about a week ago, when I watched a show about hunting, cooking and eating them (I guess they're similar to pork). And now you're mentioning them. One more reference, and I'll take it as a sign. Of what, I have no idea!

  9. You have to love those darn Javelinas who knock over your garbage cans every morning! Gila Monsters aren't as bad as Scorpions. (shudder)I love the Bobcats and Mountain Lions though, coyotes too!

  10. Dang - I've never heard of a zorilla. Or a javelina. You gots weird critters in your parts.

  11. Clicked on your zorilla link. The Sudan people call it "The father of stinks". Poor lil' zorilla. Bet that hurts it's lil' feelins. With all those creatures you mentioned, it sounds like you live in the middle of a free ranch, I mean, free range zoo or something.


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