Poison plants, attack of the mountain goats



"Poodle-dog bush" -- what a cute name for a plant! It grows at about 5,000 feet, sports purple flowers and looks a lot like lupine. But beware: This plant has a poisonous bite. If you pick it, walk through it or expose any part of your body to it, poodle-dog raises blisters similar to those caused by poison oak, and the rash can smart for weeks. The bush springs up periodically, usually after wildfire, and has now colonized much of the 250 square miles within the Angeles National Forest burned by the Station Fire in 2009, reports the Los Angeles Times. A woman whose husband walked shirtless through a field of poodle-dog says it took a lot of cortisone cream to relieve his resulting misery. Don't go strolling through these flowers, she warns, or "You'll be one sorry puppy."



Here's another warning, this one for anyone planning to hike through Olympic National Park: Do not pee close to or on any trail frequented by mountain goats. The white, long-haired animals adore the salt in urine, and they tend to get possessive when humans make use of "their" trails: "Urine deposits on the trail entice goats to use trail areas, and turn trails into long, linear salt licks," reports the Peninsula Daily News. In the wake of the goring death of a Port Angeles hiker last fall, Park Superintendent Karen Gustin in early July urged all visitors and park staff to keep at least 50 yards away from mountain goats, regardless of their behavior. The goat that killed Bob Boardman, 63, on a trail near Klahhane Ridge, had followed the man for close to a mile, walking five or six feet beside or behind him, according to the park's investigation. Park staff plan to do some "aversive conditioning" to keep the animals out of campsites and off trails, setting off sirens and air horns and pelting the goats with rubber projectiles and bean bags.

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