Cactus That Shoots Needles

Jumping-cholla cactus that shoots needles

Whenever you see a cactus, you make sure to keep your distance from it. It’s a no brainer- you do not want to get hurt by those prickly plants. But what happens if you come across a cactus that shoots needles? We present to you the Jumping Cholla that is popularly known as the cactus that jumps onto any person that comes into close contact with it. But to what extent is this accurate? Let’s find out all there is about this type of cactus below. 

Jumping Cholla – The Needle Spitting Cactus

For starters, you might be pronouncing the name of this cactus wrongly. It is pronounced as the Jumping “Choy-a” and not how it is exactly spelled like. Now that we have the pronunciation out of the way, let’s get into the details of what this cactus is and why is it known as the needle spitting cactus. 

You will find that the Jumping Cholla is found on the southwestern side of the US and the Sonoran desert. This pesky cactus is something that people try to avoid as much as possible. This is mainly because of how easily once can get hurt by its needles. 

The cactus can easily be found as high as 4000ft up as they are used to growing in a variety of locations. You can find them on the plains and even the slopes of various locations. One thing to note is that it thrives in such extreme weather conditions that humans haven’t been able to procure it for any kind of experiments or other activities. 

What Do The Jumping Cholla Look Like?

When it comes to this type of cacti’s appearance, you will find that they mimic the shape of a tree. So, they will have a trunk with branches popping out of them that will give them a beautiful tree-like illusion. These can be as tall as 15 feet and as short as 6 feet, so you can easily spot them from a distance. 

These Jumping Chollas are covered with spines that are also known as the needles that often hurt people that go out on adventures to extreme locations where these are present. The most obvious reason why these sharp needle-like spines are present is to keep the plants safe from animal attacks and keep them from overheating. 

Another thing to note is that this type of cacti also bears fruit. So, you will find fruits that look like pears forming on them very frequently. However, these fruits aren’t edible, so don’t even try to reach out to try them. And that’s not all. 

You will also find that Jumping Chollas are home to many types of flowers as well. The color of these flowers mainly of a yellow and greenish tinge. And, you will commonly find them at the tip of the branches of the Jumping Cholla. 

Do Jumping Cactus Actually Jump At You?

Now, it is commonly misunderstood that Jumping Cholla jumps at you. That is not true at all. Instead, the spines on the cacti are easily detached and fall to the ground from the main plant. This has mainly to do with how loosely the spines are attached to the main plant. They easily fall off, leaving them on the ground and ready to get attached to anything that walks close to them. 

The entire problem is that even the slightest touch can cause the needles to be on your clothing or skin. So, it is not that the Jumping Cholla shot the needles at you. Instead, even if you slightly brush against the cacti, you will surely be covered by the needles. 

Most of the time, people don’t even notice that they have brushed against the cactus until it is too late. Once the needles attach to your clothes and skin, it can get very difficult to get them out. So, the best thing to do is to make sure you avoid getting hurt by them in the first place. 

How Do You Avoid Getting Hurt By The Jumping Cholla

The one thing that you want to make sure is that you avoid coming in close contact with this type of cacti. It isn’t difficult to do so and that will help avoid any sort of problems for you. So, how do you do this? Well, it is very simple, and all you mainly have to do is make sure that you are highly observant of your surroundings as you make your way. 

One thing is for certain, you won’t find these cactus in your normal walks of life. Instead, these will mainly be found in specific regions. So, unless you plan on visiting those particular areas or live there, you’re good to go. However, if you live in the southwest areas of the US or are planning a trip to the Sonoran desert, then try to keep your eyes peeled for them. 

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As you go about your walks, make sure that you have your eyes out for any Jumping Chollas on the way. Since we have already described what they look like, hopefully, it won’t be difficult for you to spot them. You will be able to see one from a distance, and you want to make sure that you stay as far away from them as possible. 

The problem is that their needles are found lying close to them on the ground. So, even walking close to these cactus can hurt you. Steer clear of the entire location, and make sure that you don’t step anywhere even close to the area. 

How To Remove Cactus Needles Embedded In Skin

In case you ever get stung by the Jumping Cholla, you want to make sure that you are well prepared to get the needles out from your skin. There are multiple ways for you to do this, so stay tuned to get to know how to remove the cactus needles from under your skin. 

  • Tweezers

If you’re on the go and want to make sure you get the spines out form your skin, then always make sure to carry some tweezers with you. You can quickly get down and remove the spines without much trouble. Keep in mind that you will have to be careful when it comes to this as you want to make sure that you don’t break the spine of the cactus. 

  • Glue

Another possible method for you to try is by using glue. All you have to go is apply the glue where the needles are stuck in your skin and apply gauze on top of this. Let the glue dry and then gently pull the gauze from your skin. This will remove all possible spines stuck in your skin. If you feel like there is still some left, then get back with your tweezer and a magnifying glass to take them out. 

Never try to use your mouth or unprotected hands as you go about removing these spines. Otherwise, it can cause serious damage to you.

Are The Needles Poisonous Or Infectious?

One of the most common concerns about the Jumping Cholla’s needles is whether they are poisonous or not. The answer to this question is that they aren’t. The cactus needles mainly cause discomfort because of the sharpness of the needles. Since they get under your skin, it causes you pain. Sometimes, this pain is great which might make you think that it is poisonous, but it isn’t. 

When it comes to infections, there is a possibility that you might have irritation on your skin and require medicine to treat the area. Make sure to use sterilized tweezers to work them out from your skin, and you will be good to go. All you have to do is make sure that you are cautious about where you’re going and your surroundings to avoid the possibility of getting Jumping Cholla needles on you. So, be vigilant as you go about exploring.