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When Teddie Bear Chollas Take Over

Altitude 2000 feet in southwestern Arizona.  I wish I understood what was going on with the Teddie Bear chollas around here.  If memory serves, they used to be fairly rare around here.  Now they are everywhere.  It is a dreadful experience to see your dog get into the teddie bear chollas.

The good news is the situation is more manageable than you think.  Dogs learn to avoid the cholla segments that fall off the plant and roll around on the ground, sometimes several feet from the parent plant.

Dogs tend to get these cholla segments on their feet, and then they try to get them off with their mouths.  You might not be able to remove every spine from the dog's mouth or tongue.  Believe it or not, dog saliva softens these spines.

My little dog got into the teddie bears for the first time yesterday.  Believe it or not, she didn't transfer the spines to her mouth.  She was lucky, because her daddy had a pair of needle nose pliers to pull the segments (1-3 inches long) off the paws.  She didn't squeal as badly as I feared.

Do NOT think that tweezers are adequate.  Buy a lightweight inexpensive pair of needle nose pliers and ALWAYS bring them on a doggie walk.  Some people like to bring combs (with big gaps between the tines) for flicking off the cholla segments.  Well, that works SOMETIMES.

I keep my little girl leashed up at all times when the landscape is dominated by these horrid chollas.  Yes dogs can learn to avoid the chollas.  But what happens when the dog sees a jackrabbit?

I am experiencing perfect camping weather and conditions right now.  Nothing is free.  In another month it will be possible to leave this gawdforsaken wasteland.

How could plants like this even exist on planet Earth?