Irene and I are always looking for new places to explore while we are in South Western Arizona. We like to go out into the desert but because of how low slung our car is, we are fairly restricted to following gravel roads which are passable to it. If we had a 4 wheel drive or ATV’s there would be so much more area accessible to us.

Arizona Gold Fever-11-2


I had hopped out of the car to take a couple of pictures and since there was no other people in the area, allowed the dogs to come out and follow. I was taking a couple of close-ups of a Teddy Bear Cholla, (similar to the cactus in the foreground of the above photo). These from a distance look deceivingly soft and cuddly. Nothing can be further from the truth because they are made up of spine covered segments which will attach to whatever brushes up against it. Hitch hiking like this allows it to grow in new places where the segments are finally knocked off.

Teddy Bear Cholla Segment (pronounced – Choy-ya)

Teddy Bear Cholla Segment

The cactus also grows fruit which has very few seeds in it, most of the plants propagation comes from segments it drops to the ground and then takes root. If you see a stand of them on a hillside it is likely that they are all clones of the one plant.

Teddy Bear Cholla
Cylindropuntia bigelovii is native to California, Arizona, Nevada (USA) and Northwestern Mexico. This is fruit from the cactus but it can have very few seeds. Most of it’s propagation comes from segments it drops.

While taking the photos I brushed up against a segment that had dropped to the ground with my shoe and It had firmly attached itself.

Cholla Segment
This is just a small part of a segment which had dropped to the ground. I managed to remove this by pulling each individual spine out with pliers.

When I dropped down to try and knock it off I discovered our dog Sadie had done the same thing, only she tried to pull it off with her mouth. We managed to get enough of it off so we could get her into the car and when we reached the RV, pulled the rest out with pliers and tweezers. She acted like a real trooper allowing us to pull them even though it must have hurt. We are monitoring her everyday now to make sure that none were missed.

Arizona Sunset
Sunset From Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

6 thoughts on “Danger in the Desert

  1. Another great entry dad. We, all sat around the breakfast table and I read it to them. Hope Sadie is well and see you soon.



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