Pollution / Other Dangers, Houston
Houston is surrounded by chemical plants, especially raffineries, located mainly to the East, Southeast and South of the city. Their pollution standard are very low, and it is quite common to have very foul odors filling your nose when being outside in Houston. And, well, sometime there are accidents!
This explosion shown on the picture happened in June 2003 in LaPorte (a suburb SE of Houston) and I happened to be driving by that evening with my camera. Nobody got hurt at the Nova plant, but the neighbourhoods located North of the plant got bathed in a foul cloud of benzene derivatives for a few hours, lovely. And the latest, in March 2005, killed several people in a BP factory in Texas City, a town midway between Houston and Galveston.
Houston is a huge city for hiking and biking . There are forested areas ,parks, and waterways that have bike and hiking paths for those who love the outdoors and are those who love nighttime venturing . Walking and biking at night can be good but dangerous not just from people but animals included mainly dog packs , black cats , bats , wind ferns , owls , raccoons , possums ,African Killer Bees , Brown Recluses ,armadillas and now coyotes . Yes , these animals are around though we have a zoo. Some of these animals are protected , do not disturb , capture , or handle .
1. Dog Packs
At night during the wee hours of 3 or sometimes 12AM to daybreak , you may see dogs in packs of two or more roaming due to being hungry and searching for food . The most deadliest packs depend on size and the most dangerous types i.e chows , pit bulls , Rotts , Shepards ,Wolf breeds , Mastiffs , Labs ,etc . If a pack of more than at least three is seen , get out of sight .Especially if it is a known territory that they know by scent and marked very well . Avoid darkened areas near neighborhoods ,stay on the main strip where it is heavily lit. Stray dogs will see people for food depending if there is no food and are deperately hungry or they will maul to cause injury or death . If you do not want them , fleas or ticks at your residence or hotel , don't feed them and they will not follow . Take a knife , stick or licensed firearm with permit when going out . At night dogs communicate with each other and their motives are unknown .
2. Black Cats
If a black cat crosses your path by superstition , turn around and walk backwards . What this does is said to prevent misfortune or bad luck . Be on the look out .
The city does have bat colonies . The most famous exhibit is known as the Waugh St. bat colony under the Waugh St. Bridge over Buffalo Bayou west of Allen Parkway. They will not attack in lit areas only in complete darkness . If you see them flying around in swarms , stay a good distance and in heavily lit areas . Avoid darkened areas . They love Oak trees .
Nocturnal relatives of the bat . They have tendency to shape shift bird to bat and bat to bird and is known to churp excruciatingly loud at night when danger is present and to communicate with others nearby. They are seen walking very fast when on the ground especially empty parking lots at night . If you do not want to be agitated by that loud churping look at the ground for some small batlike birds moving like R/C Trucks or cars then get out off the way because they will churp until you are gone .
Yes , we do have owls in the city but only in the late winter months where it is almost way below 0. Owls can be seen high on roofs ,signs , billboards , towers , and treetops at night . They live in heavily forested treelines and wooded areas of the city . Some can be the size of a toddler and are dangerous . The most dangerous is the horned owl for its tendency to attack people in darkened areas when approached . Its weapons is its beak and huge sharp claws which tear and shread flesh causing injury or death at night it hunts deer and small animals .If seen on a tree , roof , or sign do not walk near or under . Stay in lit areas . Like the bat , owls do not have good vision in lit areas or daytime . Avoid darkened areas . If you hear a hooting sound , one is nearby . Look out for low hanging structures or branches over pavements .
Mischievous mammals very smart but dangerous because their instinct to fight when captured or cornered . They are mischievous at night and is known to commit theft of anything small they get their jaws or paws onto . If you see a raccoon or a family , leave them be and get out of sight. Do not feed them .
They are often seen by right-of-ways at night both road and rail and are dangerous . Like the raccoon they fight when disturbed . They move during darkness . If you see them , leave them alone , they don't play especially females are very dangerous when disturbed . The first warning they give off is a hissing sound . If heard and you're seen ,do not come near .
8. African Killer Bees
Both day and night are deadly . They sting until death because the stingers carry a neurotoxin . They inhabit anywhere . If you see a hive it is likely black , A normal hive is brown in color . A black hive is to be avoided at all cost if seen day or night on a tree and is very huge or huge tall openings in the ground that emit a huge buzzing sound . Or seen heavily swarming a building or house leave as soon as possible . At night they settle and is a black mass at any size . If hearing a heavily buzzing sound that is more than a average bee colony ,they are near . Leave that area as soon as possible . If there is the sight of maybe 3 or 4 dark bees flying , it means they are near . Avoid at all cost . Call animal control .
9. Brown Recluses
A nocturnal spider extremely deadly known to decay flesh after it has bitten the unsuspected . It is hard to see at night because it avoids light. If you have good eysight , its likely you can see a web spun over a sidewalk or doorway . That means its near . Recluses can come in all sizes ,big and small . They love oak trees and mainly dangle over darkened walkways after a rain or cold weather . Watch what you walk under and around in dark places .
Armadillos are a state animal and is protected . Though they are edible they are also deadly like their possum relatives at night they are said to carry a deadly virus . When attacked or approached , they ball up using their armor plated skin . If one is seen do not touch . Let it go its way .
Recently , there were reports of coyotes migrating to this area because their habit in West Texas is taken away to development . Coyotes are dangerous and deadly because they maul until injury or death they don't stop . Be careful walking or biking . Like dogs they move in packs if they are in this area . They hunt at night .
This striking building, located along Interstate 45 just north of Houston, reminds us that Hunger is present everywhere.