Monday, May 10, 2010

Call of the wild -- in my neighborhood!

It's a zoo out there. No, really, my neighborhood is starting to look like a zoo.

There have always been dogs and cats, birds, squirrels and chipmunks. Occasionally I've spotted a snake sunning itself on my driveway and a raccoon or two looking for a snack on my patio. Rabbits have been multiplying like, well, rabbits around here for years.

But this week nature has grabbed hold of my little corner of the world and reminded me once again of the collision the 'burbs and the beasts are facing these days.

While weed-whacking my yard into shape recently, I took a break to adjust my, ahhh, whacker and something grabbed my attention. I whirled around and caught sight of what, at first, I thought was a good-size rat staring back at me. Yech!

What I saw was mostly a mound of fur with a huge tail, but it seemed a bit unsteady and a little puzzled. After only a moment I realized I wasn't looking at a field mouse, but a really tiny, baby raccoon.

Apparently my weed-whacking had disturbed its nest (do raccoons have nests?) and now the baby raccoon was lost and unable to find its mother. I figured I had a couple of choices: Go ahead and weed-whack the ball of fur and dump it into my neighbor's yard or the ivy-filled outer regions of my yard, invite some friends over for burgers and raccoon, or call animal control.

Since I like my neighbor and want to hold onto the few friends I have, I contacted animal control. An officer showed up a few minutes later and carted the ball of fur away, hopefully somewhere pleasant -- and far away.

But nature week was just beginning.

Two days later, once again in my yard (this time hedging and edging and, yes, I do need to get a life that doesn't involve lawn tools), I heard a startled yelp from my neighbor and glanced around to see two deer loping into my yard. This way definitely a first. I don't know who was the most startled -- the deer or me.

We stared at one another for an instant before the deer dashed off down the steet, hanging a left into a nearby stand of trees. A moment later I heard the yelping of a couple of dogs, spotted two hounds -- you can't make this stuff up, honest -- dashing across my yard, sniffing the air, obviously picking up the scent of the deer and looking to corner dinner.

It appears someone is invading someone's space. The question, of course, is who's the invader?

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