The Attack Cactus

I remember when I was in high school and my friends and I decided to take a hike.  It was winter in Arizona which is spring in many other states.  We picked one of the hiking trails on the mountain to take us to the top.  I was following my friend Deb when she slightly veered off the trail.  All of the sudden she started screaming.  She had cactus embedded in her ankle and it was hurting.  She barely brushed next to a cactus known as the "jumping cholla" when it attacked her.

The jumping cholla, Cylindropuntia fulgida, is also called the "hanging chain cholla" and is usually found in the southwest portion of the United States and northern Mexico.  This cactus has tiny stems with spikes and eject off the plant when you get too close.  It gives the illusion that the tip has jumped onto the person and attached itself to either their skin or clothes.  Many of the desert critters can be seen running around with the cactus attached to their bodies.

I have not been attacked by one of these cacti but know several people who have.  It is not easy getting the spiny stems out of your skin and it can be very painful.


  1. This is a real thing? What kind of terrible nightmare is this? The closest thing I've heard of is a jumping chola, which, interestingly enough, will also attack if you get too close. Unless you have drugs.

  2. Oh, now this sounds like something Morticia would have had in her conservatory filled with plants! It would have sat next to Cleopatra, her African Strangler!

    1. Yes, Morticia would love a jumping cholla in her garden. Who knows, she probably did, lol.


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