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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Life in the food chain



Home in New Hampshire homo sapiens are pretty much the top of the food chain. Sure there's the occasional pesky black bear or angry moose, but even people doing every idiotic thing under the sun rarely have a problem. There was a young boy who died in a bear encounter a few years back. He panicked, ran away, then had a bad asthma attack and died. While sad, it's hardly the bear's fault.

While people are pretty safe from animal attack during the winter (bears hibernate, and moose head for the high country) it's freaking cold. We like to spend our time in the sunny south, the land of poisonous snakes, alligators, crocodiles, rays, and dozens of species of sharks. People who enjoy time in the back country or on the water know they are no longer the apex predators.

There are two ways to deal with the critters down in the warm lands. One way is to move into a highly manicured and artificial gated community. Then you can pretend you aren't in Florida but somewhere in New Jersey or something. I've talked with snowbirds who've been going south for 20 years and never saw an alligator. That's some sort of weird accomplishment in a land where an unattended glass of water will eventually end up with a gator in it.

The other way is to deal with it. Learn something about the environment and the critters that live there. Most critters really don't want to tangle with humans. Just by being aware of your surroundings makes all the difference. Your odds of getting bitten by a snake go up a lot if you happen to step on it.

Knowing the habits of the critters can save you a lot of grief. One small example: nurse sharks can lie on the sea floor and stay in one place. If you have the mistaken belief that all sharks have to keep swimming to breath, you might make the assumption that the shark is dead. It is not. Nurse sharks are generally pretty placid, but even they will get riled up if you mess with them.

I'm perfectly willing to occasionally back away from a rattle snake in Florida than spend the winter with a snow shovel in hand. To each their own.

What I'm going to have to figure out some day is how to live in a city. I guess it's all about learning the habits of the locals and avoiding the predators.

-Sixbears

10 comments:

  1. Avoid any city at any cost. (especially in Joisey) I'll take my chances with the bears and the snakes and the snow.

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    1. I know the dangers in the wild but the cities . . . not so much.

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  2. I'm more aware (not afraid) of the 2 legged snakes than the slithering kind, but not overly fond of either. And I'll even take the 1/2 pound 'skeeters over the 10 feet of snow, thank you very much. Pretty to look at, but don't want to live there more than 1 week. Had enough of that in Japan... More power to y'all with thicker blood!

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    1. My blood has gotten pretty thin of late. It's occurred to me that one does not adapt to cold. One adapts to suffering.

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  3. You'll find more "snakes" in the city than anywhere else. Once you've lived in the country you will find it extremely difficult to adjust to the noise and crowds of the city. The "city" close to my acreage is so small I have to wonder why it's called one. Oh, yeah, now I remember...it's the county seat. I'd live there if I had to.

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    1. The vast majority of people in big cities are fine, but there are so many that even a tiny fraction of nasty ones is a lot of people. Of course, people who live in such cities know where to go and when it's safer. As a country boy I don't know what to tune in and what to ignore.

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  4. Replies
    1. Even the constant din drives me a little crazy.

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  5. The only thing in South Florida I can't deal with is the infestation of 19 foot long pythons.

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    1. In the remote parts of the 'glades was the only place I opened carried for quick access.

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