The prickly pear cactus here looks almost soft and benign but look closer and you will see the abundant and thin but sharp spines sticking out all over. Nature is infinitely intelligent and has quite an ingenious design going on here. A stupid person who might, say, run around in open toed sandals with her eyes on the prize of a photograph (or anything similar) could potentially end up with a bunch of these in her foot. Not that I actually know anyone like that 😉 … it hurts! But not quite as much as the much longer and barbed spines of the jumping cholla cactus, which grow like weeds in the desert here. And while jumping is a bit of an exaggeration, it does manage to drop its stems far and wide, making it oh so important not to do what “a friend” did, not paying attention to where she was walking and ending up with a foot full of the nasty thorns. The F bomb was dropped, that I will tell you!
I suppose cacti could be the least of your worries and I am guessing a rattlesnake bite might be much more painful. And dangerous. Scorpions, cacti and rattlesnakes…oh, my! The desert is full of potential hazards, some of which can be made into interesting margarita flavors. 🙂