Saga of the Kansas animal kingdom


I am on a learning curve. The animal events continue and I know some of you must have stories that would curdle my cowardly mind. Remember, I fear skunks, snakes and crocodiles. 

Our outside Kansas menagerie in the animal kingdom is becoming progressively more at home with humans; accustomed to approaching our homes and dog dishes more boldly than I remember in the past. Even city folk are observing deer, raccoons, and possums in their personal space. Maybe we have encroached too much in theirs.

A few nights ago, our adult grandson had a skunk experience. He was running behind his youngest daughter, pushing her bike without training wheels. Suddenly he glanced ahead, and he was almost standing on top of three young skunks. Oh Oh. 

His wife witnessed this encroachment and, being a distance away, pedaled her feet backwards. Dad stopped, and calmly reached down and petted one of the little skunks. Wife was amazed. What made him do that?

Husband related, “I figured I was trapped then remembered baby skunks don’t spray. I gambled, reached down, and stroked the little guy. The skunk was fine with it.”

You all know how I would react. 

We all are wary of rattle snakes, skunks, bites from rabid animals, runaway bulls, killer bees, hornets and stink bugs. Oh, and don’t forget bedbugs. But did you know that these are not the leading dangers in the animal kingdom?

The deadliest living creatures are rated: Number one are mosquitoes. They kill 750,000-1,000,000 humans each year worldwide. Can that be true? 

Humans killing humans comes in second with the numbers half that amount. Third place belongs to snakes. Scary. They kill about 50,000 persons world-wide per year. 

Dogs are next. They kill half of what snakes do. And fifth place belongs to tsetse flies! In Great Britain (BBC news) tsetse flies are fourth, not fifth. And the hippopotamus is noted as a major danger as well.

The skunk is a lethal danger if he has rabies. A skunk in the daytime probably is rabid because it is a nocturnal animal and doesn’t come out during daylight if its well. Now, here’s my thought.

Since our grandson approached those skunks before it was dark, were they rabid?

EEEK. See what I mean? We need to get smart here. Put on camouflage, and nets over our heads. Yes, and maybe a helmet would be a good idea too. Heavy boots. Oh, and wear a mask.

The danger list continues. Tapeworms cost 2,000 human lives a year. Ascaris roundworms cause 2,500 lives. 

Merely adding the first four statistics, mosquito, man, dog and snake, adds up to 1,550,000 lives lost. Let’s forget the hippopotamus and tsetse fly .

With all those deaths, what are we doing just sitting here? In the past, why haven’t we closed the schools, eliminated gatherings, banished people to their homes, closed businesses, and told everyone to wear masks? 

I think we missed the boat.   

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at juditabler@gmail.com or juditabler@awomansview.



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