Thursday, July 8, 2010

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Anytime you move or visit somewhere new, a lot of exciting things are bound to happen.  Really, it's just because everything is unfamiliar and there are a lot of new 'norms' to get accustomed to.
In the desert, not a whole lot gets accustomed to the mid-day heat, so all the action happens at night.  Here in Prescott, there have been live music shows, craft fairs, movies, and street dances almost every night in the Courtyard downtown.
And of course, after the lights go down and the crowds disperse, all those other more silent, sneaky things that go 'bump' in the night come out to play.

A couple weeks ago, Shaun and I went on a midnight bike ride to buy ice-cream, just a couple blocks from our house.  Just around a bend, Shaun stopped in the road to tell me he saw a javelina.
Upon hearing the unfamiliar word, I saw an image of a chupacabra in my head, and immediately flipped a U on my bike and was pedaling as fast as I could the other direction.
A Chupacabra is a mysterious dog-like/reptile-like creature of modern myth, mostly in Latin cultures, that kills farm animals and sucks out their blood.

Needless to say, I saw whatever Shaun was talking about out of the corner of my eye, lurking in the dark, and it scared the hell out of me!
Turns out a javelina is actually a Collared Peccary and we had rode through a whole herd of them, babies and all.
When Shaun yelled at me to stop and I actually got a good look at what I thought was surely going to eat me, turn out it was actually pretty cute with it's eyes shinning in my bike light.  I probably scared them more than they scared me.  
So, the javelinas scattered into the rocks and we bought our ice-cream, but my heart didn't stop racing until we returned to the house.

A couple nights ago I saw some huge dark lump crawling across the living room floor.  At first I thought it was a large cockroach, but it was moving rather slowly and clumsily.  The dogs were pretty interested in it, but good thing they didn't try to eat it, as it had some rather powerful mandibles.  I captured the crawly insect to discover that it was 3 inch long Longhorn beetle.  Cool!
(not my photo)

Not so cool... Last night I switched on the light and stepped out the front door to find myself face to face with a giant black widow!  The black beauty was mid-construction of her tangled web, right across our front entry.  I have never seen a black widow so big! 
I took a couple pictures until she shied away from the light and hid in a corner.  I called around town today to find out if there was any naturalist who would want the damned thing, but no luck.  I'm going to let her live in the dark on our porch until she starts making an egg sack, mostly because she is just too cool!, and partly because I am too afraid to get close enough to kill her.  
Normally I suck spiders up in the vacuum, but something tells me that's not gonna work on a spider of this size and caliber.

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