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Outdoors Outpost
Swims with Otters
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 • Posted August 29, 2012

Let’s say you have a bulldog or three, and they’re out in your backyard, minding their own bulldog business, engaged in your typical bulldog-related activities, such as sniffing, when a possum attacks them without warning. That’s the way possums generally attack, you know. They seldom advertise their intentions. But I digress.

If you live in Texas, and especially if you live in Brady, you will probably trot to the shed for a shovel, because the possum ain’t going to last long among bulldogs. What you’re looking at there, most likely, is a dead marsupial. All you’d need the shovel for would be to dig a hole.

But let’s say you live in Anaheim, California, where bulldogs evidently aren’t so tough. And let’s say your name is Lorenzo Oliver. And let’s say you call the Anaheim police about the mean old possum, but they don’t arrive soon enough to protect your wimpy dogs, and you end up having to whack the critter with a shovel.

Well, if that happened, you’d end up spending some time in the pokey, until your family could come up with a $20,000 bond to get you out.

Despite what you may be thinking, this really happened to Lorenzo. He was arrested for hitting a possum with a shovel, even though it’s not against the law. Even in California.

Lorenzo filed a wrongful arrest lawsuit against the police department, but an Orange county judge threw it out. He appealed to federal court, and has been allowed to continue his quest for justice. I don’t know how much good that will do, in California, but at least he’s going to get his day in court.

Folks in other parts of the country, who have also had run-ins with local fauna, may not even get that much satisfaction. The little furries, for some reason, have been causing a lot of trouble lately.

Otters are usually pretty friendly and docile, but two women were attacked by otters recently in Minnesota lakes. In one case Carol Schefers was bitten 18 times by two otters in Ude Lake, and in another Leah Prudhomme was training for a triathlon in Island Lake when she was accosted. Even through her wetsuit, Leah received 25 bites, some two inches deep. I knew triathlons were dangerous but, seriously.

But Minnesota isn’t the only place where swimming is a bad idea lately. A visitor at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was bitten by a rabid beaver while swimming in the Delaware River on August 2. The Rabid Beavers would be a good name for a rock band.

The attackee was 51-year-old Normand Brousseau. The beaver bit him on the chest, leg, backside, arm, and hands repeatedly before he was able to grab it and hold its mouth shut. Luckily there were some Boy Scouts nearby, and they pulled Normand to shore and killed the rabid beaver with rocks. Which, if this had happened in California, would have probably earned them a trip to the local Graybar Hotel. Fortunately the incident occurred in Pennsylvania, where people aren’t so nutty.

And then there was the Chinese monkey guy, one Lo Wung, who trains monkeys in martial arts. Lo and his monkeys were entertaining the crowd at a shopping center, when suddenly the monkeys turned on Lo. According to an eyewitness, one of the monkeys turned and kicked Lo in the head, and another punched him in the eye. Lo grabbed a third monkey by the ear, but the monkey grabbed Lo’s nose. Why not?

The witness is quoted as saying, “They were leaping and jumping all over the place – it was better than a Bruce Lee film.” Once the festivities began, all the monkeys joined in. One of them even grabbed Lo’s stick and bonked him on the head with it.

So let that be a lesson to all you would-be monkey trainers out there. You never know when the ungrateful whelps will decide to stage a mutiny, and you’ll end up bruised and embarrassed. Best to stick to dogs or something. But if you do decide to train monkeys to fight, let me know. I don’t want to miss it.

But then, if I had my druthers, I suppose I’d druther deal with a mess of Kung Fu monkeys that a batch of beer drinking bears. A Norwegian fellow named Even Nilsen went to his remote cabin recently, and found that it had been destroyed by a mother bear and her three cubs. I have no idea how authorities knew it was a mama and three cubs, as the Yahoo News story claimed, but there you go.

The bears, besides wrecking the place and eating all the food available, reportedly drank more than 100 beers. Even is worried the bears will come back, but I’m thinking they’ll probably give him at least a week. To restock everything.

So, if you keep beer around, you should never leave it unattended. Never swim with rabid beavers, or otters of any persuasion, and never let your guard down around monkeys that know karate. But above all, never leave your bulldogs alone when possums are around . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who carries a concealed shovel at all times. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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