THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

Some of us live and ride in areas where we see several different species of wildlife. I always enjoy seeing animals although admitedly there are some I would prefer to see in videos and not in person. Here where I am at in northern Indiana I am somewhat limited in the number of different species. Other than deer and horses I don’t see any sizeable animals like bear, elk or moose. And I don’t think I want to either. On rare ocassion I may see a garter snake but I can’t recall ever seeing any other kind of snake while out riding. Of course, I have seen squirrels, raccoons,  ground hogs, rabbits, oppossums and on rare occasion foxes, skunks, wolves, a large weesel looking critter, large snapping turtles, one large painted turtle and many different birds including hawks, buzzards, eagles, pheasants, turkeys and various water birds. And, of course, I have seen lots of different insects. A few of them saw me from the inside as I had managed to swallow them.

Once when riding along with some friends we were going around a curve on the Towpath Trail when the guy in the front suddenly stopped and yelled for us to stop as he spotted an animal over in a field off to the right side. If my memory serves me correctly I think it was a deer, but I could be mistaken. It was at the same time period we had been seeing wolves and eagles. The second guy had just got around the curve when he slammed on his brakes right in front of me. I was still turning thru the curve so slamming on the brakes to avoid running into him resulted in my trike tipping over spilling me out onto the asphalt pavement and me losing some skin as in OUCH! That is one time I would just of soon not seen the animal. I was sore for a few days following that.

A few days ago I was riding along on the Towpath Trail when I saw an animal on the trail ahead of me. As I got closer it did not move which was rather unusual. As I got much closer I could see it was a raccoon but not of the normal appearance. This guy was a light gray color and just looked quite old to me. He just laid there as I rode past him. I knew enough not to mess with him as he could be very dangerous. I rode on past him and then turned around to go back toward him. As I got closer to him he slowly got up and walked off of the trail over to the side. My thought was he was probably nearing death. He just stayed right there watching me watch him. I turned back around and continued my ride leaving him alone which I am sure he appreciated.

Recently I came upon the first snake I have seen in several years. I don’t know what kind of snake it was. It looked silver and still quite young as it was skinny and only about 14 inches long. Usually I only see garter snakes.

Certainly encountering wild life can greatly enhance our ride. Just remember that there is a reason they are called WILD. Enjoy them but don’t mess with them. They could wreck your day and then some. And never mistreat or harm them. God is still keeping the books and those who mistreat wild life will answer to Him for doing so. Enjoy the ride and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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CRITTER ENCOUNTERS

There you are riding along down a bike trail  or road when you come around a curve or over a hill and suddenly find yourself face to face with one or more of God’s “critters”.

bear chasing on bike trail mountain lion on bike trail moose on trail

skunk on trail snake on bike trail
feral pigs on bike trail

bobcat & coyote along bike trail

 

snapping turtle on trail geese on bike trail

alligator on bike trail

It can truthfully be said that any one of these critters provide plenty of reason to be concerned as we are no match for them should they suddenly turn on us. There is coming a day when all of the animal kingdom will be at peace with one another and we can interact with them just like we do our domesticated animals such as dogs and cats. I know that for a fact because God has said so in His Word. However, until then much caution is needed when around wild animals.

snake biting bike tire

So I ask you … WWYD? What should you do? I am not an authority on this subject so I won’t give advice other than to say be careful what you do and definitely don’t approach or challenge them. The purpose of my writing this article is simply to talk about something that can and does happen … encounters with wild animals which are a danger to us.

Fortunately for me where I live about the most serious concern I have to deal with is loose dogs (and on very rare occasions large snapping turtles). For that matter even dogs on leashes, but not “under the owner’s control” are a problem. I have been charged by many dogs who were on leashes and they almost got me. Fortunately the owner managed to get control of them before they did get to me. I don’t have much use for dogs that behave like that. I don’t have much use for dog owners who have dogs that behave like that.

 dangerous dog attack & bite

It is definitely not a pretty picture and nothing you would want to experience. I get so aggravated with dog owners who refuse to obey the leash law and allow their dogs to run free while out on the trails. Very rarely if you say anything to them do they cooperate and put their dogs on a leash. Most of them have some very bad attitudes and say some really nasty vulgar things to anyone who would dare say anything to them about the fact that their dog is loose and it is in violation of the law.

Photo by Ashley Tubbs.
Photo by Ashley Tubbs.

finger bit off by snapper

Missing finger thanks to Mr. Turtle …

Yeah, you don’t want to mess with these guys. I once was stopped alongside the trail looking at a very large snapping turtle … the largest I had ever seen. He was hissing at me. I would not harm him, but I did pick up a very small diameter tree branch (a twig) and just lightly tapped him on his shell. Much to my surprise he jumped at me and scared me half to death. I couldn’t believe they could do what he did. I learned something that day. Another cyclist came along and saw me there. I asked him if he had ever seen a “snapper” as big as this guy. He said no and stopped, dismounted parking his bike and came over nearby. We talked for a bit and then I told him “watch this”. I took the twig and tapped it ever so lightly on the turtle’s shell as before. He lurched up at me again just like before putting on quite a show. This time I was expecting it so it didn’t have the same effect on me. I definitely fully respect him as he could do some serious damage to this old man.

I suppose if you live in bear country you could carry a spray can of bear repellent along with you and hope you never have to use it. And it will work on other animals besides bears. Remember that if you attempt to ride away and some of these guys (or gals) decide to give chase they can most likely run faster than you can ride. And some of them are “triggered” to chase you if you try to flee away from them. Just try to be careful out there as we all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

Yeah, we don’t have any bears around these parts.

What do you mean … look behind me? Get outta here!

what bear 3

I came across this video I decided to share here. It is not a bike trail per se, but I think you will find the video interesting. I personally feel that the person brought this on himself by continuing to try to advance and scare off the moose. I don’t at all agree with the way this went down. I think there is a good chance it could have turned out a lot different and the animal would not have had to be shot.