Scorpions, Rattlesnakes, Fire Ants and Wasps

The joys of living in Texas

Shefali O'Hara
3 min readJul 7, 2022


Photo by BASHAR on Unsplash

A few days ago I encountered a scorpion in the bathroom. Fortunately I saw it before I used the facilities. After the obligatory scream, I got a long pole and smashed it while keeping some distance. I then carefully collected the remains in a plastic bag in case I needed to call someone.

This was the first and hopefully last time I see one of these.

The issue is that it’s a really hot summer even by Texas standards and there is construction going on behind my house. So all the little critters that were hidden in the field are now being displaced and seeking new homes.

Since moving to Texas, I’ve experienced encounters with several of the native fauna.

Some of this has been pleasant. I have seen wild turkey, deer, beavers, and beautiful birds such as cranes, pelicans, and herons, as well as cardinals, hummingbirds, bluebirds, red winged blackbirds, and birds of prey. I’ve heard coyotes calling at dusk. There are also plenty of domesticated animals — a distant neighbor with some land had a pet donkey and others without an HOA have kept chickens or goats.

On the other hand — I’ve been bitten by fire ants. I hate them with a passion because they are aggressive, they kill baby birds, and their bites BURN. Anytime I see the beginnings of a fire ant mound, I immediately treat it.

Every spring, I have to make sure to spray any starter wasp nests. If you take care of it while there are only a couple of the creatures, it’s easy to manage. If you wait until there are several, you need to hire a professional unless you don’t mind getting stung.

Since I have an elderly mother and pets, I am vigilant about taking care of these pests. I don’t like killing the wasps

Finally, several years ago, I saw my cat Snoopy playing with a small snake. When I called my husband to come see, he immediately panicked, grabbed the fireplace shovel, and beheaded the creature. Snoopy had worn it down so much it was sluggish.

It turned out to be a baby rattlesnake. I hadn’t realized what it was because the rattle wasn’t fully formed yet. It was about 10 inches long and fully venomous.

My husband’s instincts might have saved my cat’s life, though she was pretty upset with him for ruining her playtime.

For people who live in Texas, these potentially dangerous animals are part of the landscape. So are droughts, tornadoes, and super high temperatures. For those considering moving here — think it through before you come.

If you would like to buy me a cup of coffee, I would appreciate it. Maybe I can return the favor sometime. Because we all need appreciation.

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Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.