It's past time for a crrrreeeeeepy blog!

This is not a Hallowe'en blog.

Tomorrow is Labor Day.

So this is a Labor Day blog. If you tend to nightmares, get your lucky teddy bear or whatever.

This will wait.

To some, the idea of performing labor—even for pay-- even for substantial pay—is much much MUCH scarier than true tales of critters one usually does NOT encounter in the great Pacific Northwest. THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WE LIVE HERE.

I will admit that, to me, part of the creepy factor is the unexpectedness of the encounters.

Tom Griswold, Tom of radio's *Bob and Tom Show*, is 65 years old. He saw *Creature From the Black Lagoon* as a child. He says that, to this day, he has to have socks on before he will cool his feet in any water he cannot see through. In case the Creature from the Black Lagoon is lurking in there. He cannot bear the idea of being seized and pulled into the water with unprotected toes.

I cannot bear the thought of encountering a cougar or bear in my back yard.

I live in a narrow valley, in a densely-populated housing tract, in a typical American small city. We DO have wildlife come through here occasionally, due to undeveloped land and a river and two small creeks nearby.

They've shot, or tranquilized and released, at least three cougars within a half mile of my house.

One was captured while snoozing under my neighbor's pickup. Another one (on the Fourth of July) ran up to another neighbor's barbecuer, right in front of his two teen daughters, grabbed a large steak from the grill, leaped the 6-foot fence, crossed another back yard, leaped MY fence, crossed MY back yard, and headed for safety. They never caught that one. This happened at about 3 pm on the Fourth of July.

My three large dogs, had they not been napping, would have chased it. Maybe to get the steak. That would not have ended happily.


Okay. So THIS blog is about three Close Encounters in the news, all from late August 2018. Links at the end of the blog will give you a look at the actual on-scene photos.

The ***least scary*** is from Wellington, New Zealand, and the star of the scary tale is dead from the get-go. Not very scary...until you ask yourself, “What if it's a baby...and its mom comes looking for it?”

Three brothers (self-described “big dudes”) were looking for a good place to dive and spearfish. On the sand, right next to the water, lay a giant squid. Two people measured it; it was either 13.7 feet long or 16.4 feet long. 75% of its length are legs and feet.

Giant squids are the world's largest known mollusk, ditto cephalopod. They vie with the Colossal Squid for the title of Largest Invertebrate Ever Known to Exist. The largest ever found was 42.6 feet long.

I say, if it's 42.6 feet long and says it's the biggest-- FINE-- IT'S THE BIGGEST.

***Second least scary***: a monitor lizard is loose in Davie, Florida.(near Ft. Lauderdale).

It's 6 feet long, weighs about 100 pounds. Could reach 10 feet. His name is Bamboo. He got unmanageable and escaped his 14-year-old owner. He has been eluding even experienced wildlife trappers.

They bite. From “There is no denying that a bite from any species of monitor lizard can be downright painful, as monitors have been known to crush bones in humans.

“Beyond the danger to the skin, bone, and surrounding tissue, monitor lizard bites are also poisonous, resulting in swelling and excessive bleeding. Experts initially presumed that meat and other bits of food stuck between the lizard’s teeth carried dangerous strains of bacteria, causing such a reaction in those who were bitten; however, it was discovered a few years ago that this reaction is actually the result of venom that is unleashed when the lizard bites. This venom is not fatal to humans, but it can cause illness and pain.

“The real danger in a monitor lizard’s venomous bite is for small animals or infants. The venom stops blood from clotting, causes a rapid drop in blood pressure, and heightens the pain associated with the bite. ...The monitor lizard’s venom acts as a sort of knockout punch to small mammals and birds, so if you have a small child or a cat, dog, or other pet, it would be unwise for you to adopt a monitor lizard.”

Yes, this is the ***second scariest***.

Because also in South Florida, in a canal behind houses in Key Largo, lives a crocodile. It has somehow managed to obtain a bright yellow pool noodle (yes, a pool noodle) and is using it as a swimming aid.

Imagine this croc-- it appears to be 2 or so feet longer than the pool noodle-- and standard pool noodles are more than 5 feet long-- negotiating with some kid.

The noodle is in great shape; it was not wrested from the kid's hands.

If humans are considered highly intelligent because we use tools... and negotiate....well, this is one smart croc. (S)he saw the noodle being used, decided that it would be cool to have one, and persuaded the kid to let go of it.

Then figured out how to maximize its buoyancy to save energy on those humid Florida afternoons.

Crocs outlasted the dinosaurs. They probably will outlast us. It's only a matter of time now, citizens... ***When they capture and use a jet ski...look out!***



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