We've all seen the PSH talking points concerning National Park Carry so there's no need for me to rehash them all. But one of them hit kinda close to home and something happened last night that was a stark reminder that 4-legged critters have their own code and can crop up when you least expect them.
I get home from work yesterday and let the dog out so she can mark the fence post in her own style of doggie blogging. Typical. I turn on the radio and start doing the dishes as NPR explains the finer points of just how bat-shit crazy Kim Jong Il is.
About an hour later, Chako(Chay-ko) walks back in through the open door dripping wet from the river and I notice she has something in her mouth. Again, typical...I don't give it much thought. In case you're wondering, she's 50% Black Lab and 50% Pitbull, which simply means she'll run through water in order to bite you. I jest a bit, she has the temperment of a lab with the strength of a pit. As I'm finishing up the dishes, she's crunching down on what sounds like bone. Now I become curious.
Walking into the living room, Chako tries to hide what she has. She fails. What do I find in the jaws of my dog?
The head of an alligator.
I should probably remind you at this point that I live in Oregon. Last time I checked, gators weren't one of our native critters.
My best guess is that it was a Spectacled Cayman, which is legal to own as a pet but not advisable. I've known a few folks who have bought Caymans as cute little babies and got rid of them any way they could once they realized that they tend to grow up. I surmise that's what happened here. Someone bought a baby and let it loose once it reached a certain size.
From snout tip to the center of the eye sockets measures 5 inches. The rows of teeth measured 2.5 inches apart. My best conservative guesstimate is that this little fella was approximately 4 feet long nose to tail.
I can't be certain if my dog came across it alive and ripped the head off or simply brought home an opportunistic chew toy, but it showed no signs of decomposition and smelled like something just pulled from the river(ya, I gave it a sniff, deal with it).
So the next time someone postualates, "What are the chances of you encountering a bear while in the woods?"
Feel free to ask them on my behalf..."What are the chances of a mixed breed dog encountering an alligator in Oregon, ripping off its head and dragging it into your living room for supper?"
I've now had the pleasure of experiencing both.