Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The very random nature of this blog

Sometime when we're in Pullman, I want to go visit the Bear Center . I was scrolling through their website today and came across this list. Kinda puts all those crazy fears into perspective, doesn't it?

The risk from wild bears:
One question commonly asked by visitors is, “How much of a risk are bears if I am hiking or camping in bear country or if I live in the country and they occasionally occur in my neighborhood?” While the risk always depends on how the person behaves and the events that brought the bear close to people, the probability of anyone being injured or killed is very low relative to the many other risks in our daily lives. For example, here are a few causes of premature deaths and the numbers of people dying from those causes each year in the U.S.:

All Diseases 2,300,000
Smoking-related illnesses 400,000
Homicides and suicides 49,216
Motor vehicle accidents 48,433
Drug overdose & chronic alcoholism 23,572
Choking on object or food 3,879
Falling down stairs 1,588
Falling off a ladder or out of bed 959
Bicycle accidents 762
Bathtub drowning 332
Deer-car collisions 130 (most deadly wild animal in the US is the white-tailed deer flying through the windshield)
Bee or wasp sting 66
Lightning 47
Dog attacks 32 (4.7 million people are bitten/year, 750,000 require medical attention, 6,000 require hospitalization. 8% of all dogs will bite someone in their life.)
Skydiving 22
Crushing by human stampede 22
Snakebites 15
Pet tigers 2
Grizzly bears (all of North America) 2
Black bears (all of North America) 1
Primary source: Time magazine, December 4, 2006

Despite the statics, I'm pretty sure I'd still follow my mother-in-law's lead and lug along the bear spray. All bets are off in Alaska!

Want to know what my random, irrational fear is? Snakes. Specifically, big ones. [This from the girl that worked with snakes as a job!] I have a feeling it dates back to a book I had as a child: it was one of those subject-specific encyclopedias for kids with lots of easy-to-read tidbits and pictures. Whoever wrote it was not a fabulous children's author as one of the pictures was of an anaconda in Brazil that had wrapped itself around a man. You couldn't see the poor sod, just the loops of snake and the dozen or so people that were trying to upwrap him. I don't remember the details but I'm sure it wasn't a happy ending for either the person or the snake. Who the hell puts that in a children's book?

Anyway, when Chris and I travel down to South America, you will not find me swimming in the rivers.


  1. I haven't commented in a while Sonji. So here comes a long one! Ug - my irrational fear is spiders. I can handle any sort of animal, but large eight legged creatures (even seven if they happen to be missing a leg) freak me the hell out.

    I'm having a hard time with the 'falling out of bed' statistic. Not too sure Time should have lumped it in with falling 12 ft off a ladder, lol!

    A semi funny story - Todd and I drove out to Indiana for Thanksgiving, most of it is an extremely rural drive, some of it through very hilly/mountainous area. It was pitch black and we were driving separate cars. I had to stop because there was some sort of accident on this two lane highway. It looked like there was a dead bear on the side of the road that someone had hit. Depressing right? But I had to get out and see for myself. A black bear in Kentucky is feasible - but in Indiana it's extremely rare. Yeah, well turns out someone had hit a black cow. It was a damn dead black cow on the side of the road that I mistook for a bear... How does one do that???? What was really weird though, is that the person who hit the cow totaled their car, and left it running in the middle of the road, but was nowhere to be found.... Odd.

    Come to think of it. This comment had nothing to do with your post, aside from having the word bear in it…. But I’ve already typed it out, so it’s staying. :D

  2. Oh Colleen, I miss you!! And your crazy stories. And Mobbee. [of course].

    Hitting a cow would definitely put a dent in your day (and car). They have some serious heft. In Alaska, people hit moose which is equally awful because they're so tall that the front bumper takes out the legs and then you have the body that comes crashing through into the driving compartment. I could see a cow doing a similar maneuver.

    On the plus side, I guess you'd have free steaks. I'd take that over moose meat anyday. :)