by Tina Williams
One of the amazing things about living in Arizona is how the residents try to live in harmony with the wildlife. This is more true in the town of Cave Creek where the desert is protected and wildlife is free to roam and live in their habitats. Living in the area is to recognize animals and insects.
When most people unfamiliar with Arizona think of the desert here they think of rattlesnakes and scorpions. While they’re certainly in abundance there are many more critters to be conscious of. Here’s some of the more popular ones;
Yes, a Gila Monster is venomous and their bite is extremely painful. (Mostly because they don’t let go for a bit and will chew to get more of their venom into your wound. Ouch!) But they’re also protected in Arizona. It is against the law to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect the Gila Monster or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. In summary, just stay away from a Gila Monster if you see one.
Is it a pig? Is it a hog? Is it a giant possum? Is it a wild boar? It’s not a pig – because, as it’s described, pig is old world animal and a Javelina is a ‘new world’ animal. The best way to look at it, as I understand it, is they’re a very distant cousin of the pig. One fun fact about the Javelina is the babies are called ‘reds’ cause of their coloring – and, from personal experience? They love to eat the jack-o-lanterns on Halloween.
Yes, we have tarantulas in various colors and they’re completely harmless, at least here in Arizona-- other from them being large enough to really disturb even the most moderate arachnophobe. Sadly, the male tarantula has a short life span and only lives a few months after mating – but the female tarantula can live up to 25 years. Not fair, right?
Yes, we have mountain lions. Fortunately, they have plenty of food here in the desert so they aren’t super aggressive. But they are definitely on the list of animals you need to be careful with. If you cross paths with one never turn your back on it and definitely never run away. You then become the prey. If you have dogs or children around keep them close, open your arms up and start yelling. Anything to make you seem less like prey. (Information on how to handle crossing paths with a mountain lion provided by cavecreek.org)
Have any other animals you’d like to be talked about? Let us know!