2011- The Desert is Expensive: Cost Me a Bottle of Scotch
My brother, David, called and before I can say hello he begins telling me I owe him and I owe him big time.
One of the many things David does is he checks on our house once a week or more. As he tells the story he stopped by that morning. He put the hose in the pool to maintain the water level and walked over to the pool skimmer to make sure it wasn’t clogged up with leaves, etc.
He removes the lid, set it on the cool deck and begins to put his hand into the open space just above the water. All of a sudden it is: Danger Will Smith, Danger — no robot but self preservation had kicked in. He yanks his hand back and stares at a gila monster which is clinging to the skimmer equipment.
For those of you are unaware just how scary a gila monster is here are some facts.
“A Gila monster/Heloderma suspectum is a heavy-bodied lizard that may reach one and half feet in length. The head is large, with small, beady eyes; the tail is short and fat. The family name Helodermatidae means “warty skin,” referring to the beaded look of the dorsal scales, due to the of osteoderms (small bones) under the scales. The lizard is bright pink and black, usually in a reticulated pattern, but in a banded pattern in some populations.
The gila monsters are one of only two venomous lizards known to occur in the world…..
Venom is produced in glands in the lower jaw and expressed along grooved teeth as the animal bites. Once the lizard bites, it generally hold on and chews more of the venom into its victim. Thought the bite is rarely life-threatening to humans, it may cause pain (does anyone believe the bite and chewing won’t cause pain), edema, bleeding, nausea and vomiting…… Gila monsters should not be handled!
….. In 1952 the Gila monster became the first venomous animal in North America to be afforded legal protection; it is therefore illegal to collect, kill, or sell them in Arizona.”
A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert by Arizona – Sonora Desert Museum
David found a stick, lowered it down to the Gila monster, the Gila monster clamp down on the stick, David walked out into the back desert, laid the stick and attached gila monster down on the ground and parted company with the Gila monster.
David let me know it cost him a pair of undershorts and wanted something for the loss of his undershorts. The next time we were in Tucson I delivered a bottle of Glenlivet scotch and told David we were even. He didn’t agree but he gladly took the bottle of scotch.