I have arachnophobia. Henry has bovinaphobia. Heidi’s pretty much just afraid of TV shows with serial killers. We spent the last 3 years on the ‘Wild Oregon Coast’ where the most dangerous thing I ever encountered was a sneaker wave. I’ve been in Texas for a little over 3 months. I think I’m adjusting pretty well. I work the night shift as a gate guard for an oil rig. I live in a 32′ RV in an environment where what doesn’t want to shoot me, wants to eat me, or at least take a sample.
I’ve accepted the fact that I’m surrounded by wild boars and feral pigs; rattlesnakes and copperheads; tarantulas and black widows; scorpions and free ranging mad bulls. Tonight I’m adding bats and rats; and horned (lizard) frogs and alligators (one of the roughnecks just told me we have alligators both our ditches and displayed on fence posts).
NewsWatch 12 reported unusually high bat activity in the area. There are always a good number of bats in Texas, but it appears they’re on the upswing. Oklahoma and Texas are the only 2 states in the nation that have an Official State Flying Mammal. Both claim an out-of-stater: the Mexican free-tailed bat. Holy Flapping Fangs, Batman! Really? An Official State Flying Mammal?
In Austin you can go on Capital Cruises’ internationally famous bat watching excursions. You board the boat at dusk and take a ride under the Congress Avenue Bridge to see, as you might expect, bats. Actually, you’ll see the largest urban bat colony in the United States. A ticket for this exciting event is only $10 unless you want to customize your excursion with dinner and cocktails.
It’s hard to image a more enchanting evening than floating gently down the river, eating ‘Pan Roasted “Broken Arrow” Axis Deer – served with forest mushrooms and organic wheat berry and roasted corn pilaf’ and a nice glass of Chardonnay, while gazing at the enormous flock of bats alternately flapping and hanging overhead.
Friday, I folded a spider in my underwear at the Laundromat. In spite of my neurotic fear of spiders, I shook it out and gave it a stomp. It wasn’t a tarantula or I would likely have just left the Laundromat, donating all our clothes to the next patron.
This might be a good time for a disclaimer. If that statement offended you because you think spiders are people, too, you probably ought to quit reading this blog. While I will concede that all of God’s creatures have a purpose, they have no business in my underwear and I wasn’t willing to chance that something that fast with 8 legs might take a quick spin around the post and scurry back in the pile as soon as my back was turned.
Holy Ram Invasions, Batman! Before starting this job, about all I knew about Texas was that it’s BIG. I didn’t know that every creepy Reptile, Amphibian and Mammal living in North America would be snacking in my neighborhood! I was reminded to today to check the wiring in the RV and the Jeep since we have a significant rat population. There are even Rat Rescue Groups, yes, really, and the Rat Association of Texas welcomes all rat enthusiasts.
After the late night news, I read a bit about the horned frog (technically they’re lizards, but frog worked better for TCU). 26 states have official state reptiles. I have no idea why. In Texas it’s the horned(lizard) frog. Texas Christian University has chosen the Horned Frog as it’s mascot. Initially I thought that was a little wimpy (not as wimpy as the Upper Iowa Peacocks, but still…) until I began to read about horned frogs.
Purple, White, Horned Frogs Fight
Victory, Victory, Right, Right, Right
Although they aren’t poisonous, the horned lizard frogs have earned their bad guy reputation by being exceptionally aggressive, as in attacking animals many times their size. And yes, I’m told they do live on this ranch. Horned frogs have extremely wide mouths and steel-trap jaws. In the Midwest, the greatest danger I ever faced from a frog was a wet hand and mythological warts (although I think the warts are more toad-ish). A frog with steel-trap jaws, seriously?
I’ve read that they lie in wait, springing out and fearlessly chomping down on their chosen prey, or any unsuspecting trespasser that happens to spook them.
To top it off, they also bellow like bovines.
Looks like I’m going to have to start carrying him on his walks.
When I moved to Texas, it was the heat I thought might kill me.
Now I’m pretty sure it’s the neighbors.