Need a nose job? Put your sniffer up close to a tree hole.
When you are out tree climbing, be on the lookout for holes in your climbing tree. Your adventure can take a radical turn for the worse if you get too close to a hole.
Where can you find holes in trees?
A hole can be found on the trunk or out on a branch. It all depends on where the wood is dead or decayed. If the hole is on the trunk, it could be where a branch used to be or where the trunk has been wounded, like from a lightning strike or a tree falling against it. A dead branch could have a hole anywhere.
Different sized holes accommodate different kinds of animals.
Small holes, about the size of a silver dollar, could have small animals nesting inside, usually small birds or flying squirrels. Keep away from these holes during breeding season so you don't scare the animals.
Larger holes are a different matter. A 4-inch or bigger diameter hole might house a much larger bird or animal. Now we are getting into more dangerous territory. The animals that could be living inside these larger cavities might be squirrels, opossums, or raccoons. These animals bite with very sharp teeth. If an owl occupies the cavity, its talons can rip your skin to shreds. And, if there are young in the nest, none of these animals would hesitate to attack an intruder.
Proper tree climbing etiquette around holes in trees.
If you see a hole in a tree, the best thing to do is reroute your climbing path.
If your climbing route takes you past a hole in the tree that you didn’t spot from the ground, this is what you do: Before you are eye level to the hole, reach up with your hand and knock directly below the hole. Keep your eyes on the hole opening. If an animal pops its head out, you know you need to either climb a different tree or climb the other side of the tree. It's really quite simple.
How you can lose your nose.
A friend of mine was telling me about how his boss lost his nose one day while doing tree work. This guy was removing a half dead tree with numerous holes. He came up to one particularly large hole and decided to take a peek inside to see if anything was in there. He stuck his nose right up to the opening and a female opossum lunged out and latched on to his nose.
When the climber pulled back his head, he pulled the opossum right out of the hole. He shook his head. The opossum had a very fierce grip and hung on. He shook his head harder. The opossum continued to hold onto his nose.
In a fit of desperation, the climber swung his fist and literally punched the opossum off of his nose. By now the whole front of his body was covered in blood. The ground man could not stop laughing. To him, this was really funny, something right out of Hollywood.
The climber came down to the ground and was quickly rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. His nose was so mangled he had to have it repaired with major nose reconstruction surgery.
The moral of this story?
Don't stick your nose where it doesn't belong. Mind your own business, and knock before passing by somebody's door. It's the polite thing to do, right?
Have you ever had an animal attack you on up in the treetops? Tell us about it in a comment here.