Particular American Fauna : Rattlesnake, scorpion, tarantula and the roadrunner
American local fauna certainly is most interesting for a European, but it can also be dangerous. During our expedition, and especially in the desert regions of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, we gathered information about rattlesnakes, scorpions and spiders, and how best to avoid them...
Fortunately we visited the region in early season and it was still too cold for rattlesnakes to be about. As soon as it warms up though, these nuisances crawl through rocks and shrubs, although they usually keep away from places where there is intense walking.
Rattlesnakes are very territorial and sound their warning rattle when something comes too close. That offers the hiker a small chance to turn back immediately and hopefully avoid an attack.
If you come too close to a nest, or even worse, step on a snake, you'll immediately get bitten.
According to residents, such a bite is not yet a total disaster, provided you can get to a hospital and be administered the antidote immediately. You'll only get "slightly" sick...
Most residents take an insurance against snake bites, because then the treatment is covered. If not, the patient may have to cough up some $ 20,000 for the treatment and the hospital, which undoubtedly will make him sick once more...
Jeans and leather boots offer no protection whatsoever, because snake fangs pierce them easily.
Cows, horses and deer graze between the bushes, but only relatively few of them are bitten by snakes. Strangely enough, their immunity system seems to cope better with venom bites than does the human immunity system. They swell up fiercely and may look terrible, but just as quickly they heal naturally. Usually the vet is not even called in !
Scorpions and Tarantula's
More annoying however are scorpions and tarantula's ! These insects crawl around everywhere, and you need to be very careful where you put your feet. Scorpions usually stay in or around bushes, but spiders are simply everywhere !
It is a good idea to inspect your shoes before putting them on. Fortunately, jeans and boots offer a certain protection against insect bites. These are usually not fatal, except if you're not in a good physical condition, and the venom will just make you sick...
We sighted our first Roadrunner in Indian territory.
This gray running bird can hardly fly, and it comes in two "models", the small and the large Roadrunner. The latter grows up to some two feet of height, including its one foot tail.
This animal is exceedingly spry, and with its short legs manages to reach about 42 km per hour. Its legs move up to twelve times per second !
Neither Roadrunner however, small nor large, says Beep-Beep while running - only Walt Disney thought so...
A fight between a roadrunner and a rattlesnake must be simply Homeric, because the only asset of the bird is its tremendous speed. It tries to catch the snake behind the head, and then beats it to death against a rock, preferably without being bitten itself...