The joy of nearly being eaten


After growing up in Britain, where the apex predator is the badger, I feel lucky to be living where there’s truly wild wildlife. There’s something about the knowledge that you could be eaten or poisoned around the next corner to add an edge of alertness to any trip. The possible downside is being somebody’s next meal, but the certain upside is appreciating you’re in a true wilderness.

Liz once saw the rear end of a mountain lion disappear down the trail, but I’ve had to content myself with plenty of bob cats, coyotes and rattlesnakes. Two weeks ago, we even had a rattler who refused to leave our worksite, so he watched us warily for a few hours. Above you can see me relocating a harmless California King Snake after our maintenance had disturbed its home. Below are a few more of the lovely beasties we’ve encountered.


It’s not unusual to come across these small scorpions when you turn over a rock. So far nobody’s been stung, and from what I understand our local variety aren’t too poisonous anyway. It makes me feel like I’m in a western every time I spot one though.


This action shot is a Black Widow in our back yard. We seem to have dozens around the outside of the house, they have the most beautiful sleek black bodies, with the distinctive red hourglass marking. We don’t have many closeup photos of them for obvious reasons.


I’m not too worried about this Walking Stick insect eating me, but he’s one of the coolest designs I’ve seen in a long time. He’s definitely got the Apple elegance about him, the MacBook Air of the insect world.

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