Roadrunner vs. snake

Carlos told me this story about roadrunners: When a roadrunner comes across a sleeping snake, it begins to collect thorns from a particular cactus. These thorns actually have poison in them and little hooks making them terribly painful to pull out. {Leon stepped on three with one foot the other day. Horrible! That's what inspired this memory}.

Now, the roadrunner will begin to assemble the thorns, quietly and carefully, in a circle around the sleeping serpent. It places one, then darts away to grab another, and places it, and darts, and on and on, until the vibora is completely surrounded.

Then the correcamino creeps up, and BAM pecks the snake on the head and sprints away to wait.

The snake, having been sound asleep, shoots up and looks around for his attacker, which causes him to hit the thorns. This pain only creates further confusion, and he continues to thrash about, getting more and more thorns.

This is exactly what the roadrunner wants, who is waiting, safely out of sight, for the poisonous thorns to finish the job. Eventually the snake exhausts himself and the roadrunner emerges from hiding to enjoy his carefully prepared feast.


What struck me about this story was the time it must have taken to have seen this all play out. I can just see young Carlos, hiding behind some desert shrub, watching all of this happen. How much more exciting than reading this in a book. He has total ownership of this piece of information about animal behavior--rather than taking the word of some guy in a nature documentary. This is a fact that he knows because he saw it himself.