Cholla Cactus...the"Jumping Cactus"

Cochise College   
Hiking Dangers in Arizona                                                        
Virtual Geology Museum       Geology Home Page
Roger Weller, geology instructor      

wellerr@cochise.edu   last edited: 6/20/15

Cholla Cactus
The Cholla cactus has two alternative common names.  For the first
time viewer who has not physically become attached to them, they
are called the "teddy bear cactus".  For those who have gotten stuck
on the needles, they are known as the "jumping cactus", because the
victim swears that they never touched the needles.  The cholla cactus
grows balls covered with needles that break off easily and fall to the
ground.  The needles have microscopic barbs that grab on with even
the slightest touch.  The ball of needles then rolls and many new needles
then stick to the victim.  (This is from my personal experience.)



closer



closer


way too close


The best way to deal with these balls of cholla needles is to bring a pair
of thin scissors and some small pliers with you when you go hiking. 
Do not try to pry the ball of needles off; more needles will start to get stuck. 
Cut the needles in order to remove the ball.  Afterwards, at your leisure,
you can try pulling the needles out of your skin with the pliers, one at as time.

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copyright 2015 R.Weller