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Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

Wild Animal Encounters

Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011, at 2:58 PM

Have you ever been attacked or threatened by a wild animal?

The closest I've come in this area was a couple of times in the late 1960s by rattlesnakes in the area near Warners Bridge while accompanying law enforcement officers on a search for moonshine stills. They rattled, I spotted them and walked in a wide circle around them.

There was an encounter with a mountain lion near an old mine with a small spring running from it in the Mojave Desert.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

When I was in my 20's I had the bright idea that I would catch a baby turkey. Just about the time I went to grab it I spotted momma turkey out of the corner of my eye. I know this is not really considered a wild animal but it might as well have been. She hemmed me up in a corner behind a house a she made it clear that I was about to be mamed in any way possible whether it was by pecking spurring or who knows what...lol. Dont ask me how I got away but I did. No more chasing baby turkeys for me.

I helped catch an 18 foor snake that got out of my neighbors house about 15 years ago. I think it was a Boa but I dont remember. A girl staying at the neighbors house had accidentally left the door open to the room the snake lived in. It crawled passed her as she slept in the floor in a sleeping bag and got outside. She begged me to get it back in the house before it got away because the neighbor was at work. I had seen the neighbor handle it many times before so I figured I could try. It was extremely heavy and I had to drag it about a foot at a time to get it back inside.

I worked at a veterinary clinic several years ago and once youve been mauled by a snarling, crazed, growling, slobbering bug eyed 8 ounce chihuahua then every other wild animal seems like a peice of cake.

-- Posted by AmericanWoman on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 4:33 PM

This may sound like WE(my backyard neighbor friend and I) were not so smart but here goes -- we chased a black and white "kitty" only to find out it was actually a skunk ---- WHEW, did we stink --- for days! My mother cut my clothes off with scissors and washed me with JOY dish soap and all I can remember is my sisters kept saying "she stills stinks" ---at least I learned what skunks are capable of from an early age of "5".

-- Posted by decorate1956 on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 8:27 PM

I rescued my German Shepard from a oppussum one night, put it in the kitty carrier and carted him/her about a mile away the next morning.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 9:08 PM

"I worked at a veterinary clinic several years ago and once youve been mauled by a snarling, crazed, growling, slobbering bug eyed 8 ounce chihuahua then every other wild animal seems like a peice of cake." AmericanWoman

Love it !!!! I can just visualize the event, and had a wonderful giggle. I love those little man eaters.

-- Posted by wonderwhy on Wed, Aug 24, 2011, at 10:39 PM

Please keep up the comments. I am loving it. It reminds me that when I was a small boy there was a neighbor's demon rooster that had made it his mission to make sure I never passed through his yard unharmed or unscared. Also there was a time when a group from our church had a night picnic at Cades Cove. Skunks were sharing their picnic space with us and one of the little girls was fascinated with them. I told her that if she would sprinkle salt on their tail she could catch one of them. Needless to say like a flash she was off to get a salt shaker and she was on her way to catch her prey when her Mother intervened. I thought that night that I was about to be seriously damaged, not by a wild animal, but by an overprotective Mother with fire in her eyes.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:31 AM

I have let many a skunk loose from traps when I was young. I could not see killing them since their pelts were not worth much at the time (unless all black). My school-mates could tell when they saw clothes on the clothes-line early in the morning that I must have had another skunk. Shortly after that they knew by smell.

I have had them shoot right past my head, but never hit directly. Of course, when that close, I still had the terrific odor for a day or so.

I have had wild animals mightily ticked off at me when I am trying to relocate them, but I can't say they ever attacked me without provocation and never past step or two.

Hornets might get my vote for the longest attack I've ever had from something in the wild.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 7:14 AM


Since you enjoyed the comment about the chihuahua, I will tell you the rest of my experience. When I worked at the vet clinic I was trained to NEVER speak unkindly of someones pet, no matter how terrible it may be. If you say bad things about how a pet acted then the owner may decide to take the pet to a different vet next time hoping to find someone that the animal liked.

So this real small elderly man comes in one day with "Tiny" on his shoulder. Tiny was a very small chihuahua that was no bigger than a Big Mac hamburger. Apparently the vet had experienced this tiny animal in the past and suggested the man leave it with us for the afternoon to do its examination. I realized pretty quick that the vet didnt want the man to see what was involved in giving an examination to this small quivering animal. The man left Tiny standing on the examination table for us to have for the afternoon. Keep in mind that Tiny was like his only child. You could see how much he loved the dog by the way he handled it and talked to it, expecting us to treat his baby in the same way.

So the adventure begins....as the man drives away the vet tells ME to take Tiny to the back and put him on the exam table and that he will be back shortly to do the exam. I can see Angie the secretary peeking above the counter to watch me as I slowly reach for Tiny and the dog takes a stance with what looked like 40 sharp needle teeth gleeming at me. I picked up a towel to wrap the dog in and after about 10 minutes was able to wad him up in the towel without hurting either of us. Soon as I get to the back room and try to release him onto the examination table he leeps away and runs into the nearby bathroom. For the next 30 minutes I am trying to catch the tiny creature in the towel which is easier said than done. Then the vet walks in and tries to help with the capture telling me that small animals if they get really scared or overly excited can have their eyes litterly pop out of their sockets and that we needed to catch this dog without scaring it. YEA RIGHT! Im not sure who was more scared though, it or me.

I think the only way we manage to catch the dog was from pure exhaustion on the dogs part. Im sure it takes a lot of energy for an 8 ounce dog to growl, run, pace back n forth, slobber and snarl for long periods of time. Somehow we get Tiny up on the exam table holding him carefully with a leash. The vet carefully does the entire exam the tells me to put it in its cage until the owner comes back. Couple of hours later the owner returns for what he calls his sweet little baby. The vet calls me off to the side and says, "Remember to tell the man how sweet Tiny acted and how we didnt have a problem giving the exam". I slowly reach into the cage to retrieve Tiny hoping that somehow this small animal will forget what we had been through and would be calm enough for me to hand him over to his owner. I pick the tembling dog up and like a bolt of lightning it was immediatly attached to my face. In horror I was eye to eye with this demon from hades. Its sharp needle like teeth embedded into my upper lip. The snarling and growling commenced as usual. The vet walks in his eyes wide open at seeing the small dog attached to my face. I can feel the blood running down my chin dripping onto my shirt. I somehow peeled the small dog from my face and clenched him tight against my chest as I wiped the blood from my chin and proceeded to walk to the front room. The small elderly man reaches out to take Tiny and says, "Hi my sweet baby, were you a good baby today"? Then the man looks at me with my top lip swollen up like I had just been in the ring with Mike Tyson, blood running down my chin. Blood drops on my white shirt. I say, "Tiny was the sweetest little dog we have ever had". The man says, "Wonderful, I will call back soon to make another appointment to get his nails trimmed".

-- Posted by AmericanWoman on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 11:53 AM

One of the funniest stories my mother told when we were growing up in the 1960's (way before video games / a time when you invented your own playtime )was when she was young growing up in Raus in the 1930's and she and her sisters and brothers were left at home while my grandparents went to town (Tullahoma) in a horse and wagon. They were gone long enough everyone decided to play 'doctor' and 'hospital' so they gave their 'pet' chicken an "enema" and woe be to the one that was the closest when they turned it loose on the screened back porch :) I'm sure this would be considered animal abuse today; at that time, it was their way of practicing to be veterinarian.

-- Posted by decorate1956 on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 12:00 PM

I have had an experience similar to American Woman. I also worked in a vets office for a period of time and we had someone bring a cat in for shots and for him to be neutered. The girls from the front brought him back and I proceeded to take him to the cages so that I could settle him in for the night for his surgerty the next day. Well, I know that this is supposed to be about WILD animals, so here comes the wild. I opened the carrier and started to reach in to grab the cat when all of a sudden it bolts out. I grab him with one hand and he digs his claws into my wrist and proceeds to try and kill me(or at leaast that's what it felt like lol). The cat and I both end up on the floor and then he got away. I had to get assistance to catch him. What I found out later is that they neglected to inform me that this was a wild barn cat that the owner had managed to catch. Sure would have been nice to know that beforehand. But it was experiences like that, that kept things interesting....lol.

-- Posted by sharp_shooter on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 12:16 PM

American Woman and decorate1956 those are two good stories. They kind of remind me of this prescription for giving a cat a bath.

1. Thoroughly clean the toilet.

2. Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water, and have both lids lifted.

3. Obtain the cat and soothe him while you carry him toward the bathroom.

4. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids (you may need to stand on the lid so that he cannot escape).

CAUTION: Do not get any part of your body too close to the edge, as his paws will be reaching out for any purchase they can find.

5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a 'power wash and rinse' which I have found to be quite effective.

6. Have someone open the door to the outside and ensure that there are no people between the toilet and the outside door.

7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.

8. The now-clean cat will rocket out of the toilet, and run outside where he will dry himself.


The Dog

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 12:27 PM

This might work also if any of you would like to try it. As for me, I think that they are perfectly clean enough already.

1. Know that although the kitty cat has the advantage of quickness and lack of concern for human life, you have the advantage of strength. Capitalize on that advantage by selecting the battlefield. Don't try to bathe him in an open area where he can force you to chase him. Pick a very small bathroom. If your bathroom is more than four feet square, we recommend that you get in the tub with the cat and close the sliding-glass doors as if you were about to take a shower. (A simple shower curtain will not do. A berserk cat can shred a three-ply rubber shower curtain quicker than a politician can shift positions.)

2. Know that a cat has claws and will not hesitate to remove all the skin from your body. Your advantage here is that you are smart and know how to dress to protect yourself. We recommend canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army helmet, a hockey face-mask, and a long-sleeved flak jacket.

3. Use the element of surprise. Pick up your cat nonchalantly, as if to simply carry him to his supper dish. (Cats will not usually notice your strange attire. They have little or no interest in fashion as a rule.)

4. Once you are inside the bathroom, speed is essential to survival. In a single liquid motion, shut the bathroom door, step into the tub enclosure, slide the glass door shut, dip the cat in the water and squirt him with shampoo. You have now begun one of the wildest 45 seconds of your life.

5. Cats have no handles. Add the fact that he now has soapy fur, and the problem is radically compounded. Do not expect to hold on to him for more than two or three seconds at a time. When you have him, however, you must remember to give him another squirt of shampoo and rub like crazy. He'll then spring free and fall back into the water, thereby rinsing himself off. (The national record for cats is three latherings, so don't expect too much.)

6. Next, the cat must be dried. Novice cat bathers always assume this part will be the most difficult, for humans generally are worn out at this point and the cat is just getting really determined. In fact, the drying is simple compared with what you have just been through. That's because by now the cat is semi-permanently affixed to your right leg.

7. You simply pop the drain plug with your foot, reach for your towel and wait. (Occasionally, however, the cat will end up clinging to the top of your army helmet. If this happens, the best thing you can do is to shake him loose and to encourage him toward your leg.) After all the water is drained from the tub, it is a simple matter to just reach down and dry the cat.

In a few days the cat will relax enough to be removed from your leg. He will usually have nothing to say for about three weeks and will spend a lot of time sitting with his back to you. He might even become psychoceramic and develop the fixed stare of a plaster figurine.

You will be tempted to assume he is angry. This isn't usually the case. As a rule he is simply plotting ways to get through your defenses and injure you for life the next time you decide to give him a bath. But at least now he smells a lot better.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 12:30 PM

My husband had an encounter with a rattlesnake 2 years ago. He is very meticulous about carrying his phone and a knife when he walks, along with wearing boots. Guess the 3 rules he broke that day?! He was walking down a path and apparently the snake was just off of it. (Close enough to be within striking distance.) He had just thrown a stick for our yellow lab who was happily retrieving the stick in a pond a short distance away. He ducked and rolled away from the snake just as it lunged for him. Snake was now the same distance away...and he sees the dog running toward him. As he's trying to figure out how to tuck/roll again (mear seconds) and get them both out of there, the dog sees the snake (drops the stick) and as the snake goes to strike, the dog clamps down on the snake behind it's head. Snake coils around her head and she snarling at it and shaking it and he's fearing she's being bitten. This goes on for about 5 minutes. Finally he gets her to drop the lifeless snake. And amazingly enough, she was not bitten. He has never seen a dog go from playful to protector in an instant. Once he returned home, he said "the dog gets a steak for dinner and your side of the bed...and whatever else she wants!" :) Best dog ever!

p.s. did you know it's against the law in TN to kill ANY snake? That being said, I will run said snake over (in front of cop) if it gets in front of my tire! Please send bail money! ;) I'm sure if the snake is a threat, there's not going to be an issue, but to intentionally kill one might get you in some hot water!

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:20 PM

p.s. did you know it's against the law in TN to kill ANY snake? That being said, I will run said snake over (in front of cop) if it gets in front of my tire! Please send bail money! ;) I'm sure if the snake is a threat, there's not going to be an issue, but to intentionally kill one might get you in some hot water!

-- Posted by neighborhood mom

Too many copperheaded rattler moccasins to take any chances. I'll pay the fines.

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Aug 25, 2011, at 6:27 PM

Love the stories!

-- Posted by bbbluebird on Fri, Aug 26, 2011, at 7:41 AM

Several years ago, while vacationing in the Smokies, a couple got a little too curious as a bear was rummaging through a trash can. The man wanted to get a close-up picture, but the bear was not in the mood for a photo session. It turns and decides to do a "jog" through the crowd that had gathered. But, he was really focused on the guy with the camera. The guy first runs around his car and then heads for the car roof. As my friend and I were getting into our car, I heard the woman screaming -- "YOU IDIOT. YOU WERE IN THE BOY SCOUTS, DON'T YOU KNOW THAT BEARS CAN CLIMB?"

-- Posted by ILoveRoses on Fri, Aug 26, 2011, at 8:49 AM

Most of my encounters are with snakes, which I hate).

We had a run in with a couple of rat chaser snakes in our back yard a couple of years ago. They were trying to attack one of our dogs. The snakes were VERY fast and were hard to kill. We do not own any firearms so we grab the next best thing which was a couple of shovels.

I also found a baby garter snake when I was mowing our yard last year. It was less than a foot long. I stepped on its tail to hold it still so the kids could take a look at it, and then let it go.

Also, had a run-in with a red fox a couple of nights ago. I almost hit near the Wal-Mart Distribution center.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Fri, Aug 26, 2011, at 9:59 AM

It's against the law in TN to kill ANY snake?

I never heard of anything so stupid! A snake would make me kill myself trying to get away from it. The only good snake is a dead snake.

Where can I find such a law?

I figure if the Lord wants the snake to live, he will send it away while I am looking for something to cut its head off with.

T.C.A. 70-4-102 doesn't give any snake Constitutional rights over my right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

No Uniform Commercial Law gives ANY Animal rights over my Inalienable rights. But then I don't go out hurting for animals. Animals live in the wild, even domestic animals can live in the wild, but I wouldn't bring a wild animal into my home like so many stupid people do. No matter how tame you think an animal is, it can turn on you or a friend.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Fri, Aug 26, 2011, at 2:19 PM

"The only good snake is a dead snake"...agreed! Which is why I'd be sitting in jail if the snake "happened" to be crossing the road while I was driving on it. Speed bump. There's way too many rattlers/copperheads around here to worry about them becoming extinct! ;) I would not purposely set out to kill the snake, but I'm not going to swerve to miss them either!

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Sat, Aug 27, 2011, at 10:16 PM

The only real argument I've ever had with a wild animal involved a raccoon who charged my mother-in-law's cats. They were eating and he wanted their food. I threw open the door, shouted "No!" at the top of my lungs and stomped towards him. Then he stomped forward a little bit, too. And he bared his teeth and growled at me, low and ominous. That is when I noticed that raccoons have impressive teeth. Very impressive.

Without thinking, I bared my teeth and growled back. I'm not proud of this. But it worked. Rocky-boy backed up several feet, looked at me thoughtfully, then left. Maybe he thought I was crazy.

-- Posted by Bird on Mon, Aug 29, 2011, at 9:03 PM

LOL Bird. That is a good one.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Aug 30, 2011, at 6:49 AM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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