Critters of all shapes exist in Texas

Critters! Seems like all my life I have heard people say, “Everything that hisses, snaps, bites or stings, lives in Texas!” That probably originated with former GI’s stationed in the hinder lands of the Lone Star State.

A few days back three of the Sea Palms Drive neighbors had a discussion about “Texas critters.” From the bantering back and forth I learned there are a few “Texas critters” in local backyards. I experienced some of them after Dave moved to Crosby, while assisting in his cleaning the lot next to his house. I tangled with some (or maybe a lot of) fire ants. I lost!

During our discussion, armadillos were mentioned. I had only seen one of them since visiting here the past four winters. I was informed they are rather plentiful and sometimes a nuisance. Funny how things happened but the next morning what do Maggie (our family pet) and I find during our early morning walk? An armadillo! That is my second sighting of these animals that were not in captivity.

During our “neighbors” discussion the subject got around to snakes which are not on my list of “likes.” One of them had sighted, and killed, a coral snake in his garage recently. I felt shivers. Others have been sighted here over the years I was told. It seems that water-moccasins frequent the area as well. More shivers!

No rat’lers here I was told. Less shivers.

My first close encounter with a snake occurred on my grandparents farm when, at about age eight, I went blackberry pickin’ with grandma. I reached for a vine to pull it down and suddenly realized the vine moved and my hand held a black snake. I went in one direction and he (maybe a she, I didn’t ask) went in the other.

There are a lot of blacksnakes in West Virginia and I see them on occasion on our property overlooking Coal River. Some are five feet plus. They are no problem, but I still keep my distance. Others around our house include green, garter or water snakes. Rattlers are mostly in the higher hills.

Our greatest nemesis in the snake world is the copperhead (shivers) which is deadly to household animals and occasionally humans. They just lay and wait. I don’t worry about them around home since we have blacksnakes and they don’t usually live in the same neighborhoods. Apparently the blacksnakes will take them on and usually win!

The critters back home are different than those in Texas but I must say when it comes to those that hiss, snap, bite or sting you have us beaten.

Such are the people, places, and things that have touched my life from my West Virginia home!