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Creepy Crawly Things

Country at HeartAs a child, I was scared of just about everything, especially if those things weren't in the human family.

Snakes are probably at the top of the list of my dreaded, creepy, crawly things. Until we lived on that lake, we never encountered snakes more dangerous than the little brown and green, striped garden snakes. They're usually harmless. Actually, I never knew anyone that was bitten by a snake.

Unless you live near a pond, you don't have to worry that much about snakes; however, if you live near water, there are water moccasins and other snakes that usually stay in the pond. One day, my dad killed two, big, long black snakes that were crossing our yard. They had just come from the lake area, and, boy, were they huge … running right across our yard one right behind the other. I don't know where they were headed, but I was just glad Daddy saw them and took care of them. Sometimes, snakes live under houses or in old, abandoned buildings. They're definitely not my favorite reptile ... if I have a favorite.

A turtle and a tortoise are not the same. The turtle lives in and near water. As a result, it's considered clean and suitable to eat. It was a turtle that our neighbor caught. She cooked it, and we ate it with her. The tortoise is the land creature. It's considered an unclean scavenger and is not suitable to eat.

Lizards are somewhat common too, though they never come into the house. I don't hate them, but I don't have any love for them either. As long as they stay in their habitat (under dead wood and in the grass), I'm fine with them, but when I saw a lizard, I'd run away from it. Though they are harmless, I still don’t like them. Just seeing them gives me the creeps.

Worms grew in a "worm bed" right behind our house. Some youngsters are scared to death of them, but I'm not afraid of them. I'd dig them up and hold them in my hand while they crawled and squirmed all over my palm. We'd give them to people to go fishing with. Other than that, I don't know what else they're useful for.

I'll never forget that day I was coming home from school and all those centipedes ("thousand legs") had covered the road. I screamed bloody murder all the way home. It was especially horrifying because I was barefoot, and it seemed as though every time I stepped on one, I felt it squish like a cracker under my bare foot.

Frogs and toads. I guess there's a difference between the two, but as a child, I didn't know the difference. I wasn't too fond of these little creatures either. I heard that if they pee on you, you'll get warts on your hands. That's probably one of those old wives' tales, but even still, I would never touch one. Anytime I saw one, that “pee" story popped into my mind, and I'd shy away from it.

Scorpions are very dangerous and their sting can be deadly. I think Arkansas has its share of those dreaded enemies. Even their name makes one shudder.

Those nasty maggots need no further elaboration, but they do exist in places and on substances that I'll leave nameless.

Tumble bugs are always amazing. I like to see them rolling that “stuff" with their back feet. I never could figure out why they rolled objects backward, but they do. Perhaps it’s because they themselves can’t “stomach" to see and smell what they are actually rolling.

Even after moving to big cities, I’m still not rid of all the creepy, crawly things, but at least there are not as many as in the country … I guess because there are not nearly as many bushes and grasses in the city.

painted turtle | iStockphoto.com/chas53 

Photo: iStockphoto.com/chas53