wildlife

Encounters with urban wildlife

The last thing most urban dwellers want to see on a casual stroll through their neighborhood park is something able to chew you to pieces or swarms of venomous insects buzzing violently just overhead.

I had the very good fortune of seeing both today. About 10 minutes after I told my dog “we might see a coyote with all this fresh poop on the trail,” we round the corner and standing there was Mr. Coyote himself.

Mr. Coyote had all the space he needed to bark, yelp, roll around, eat grass, tell my dog how lame domestication is, poop some more. When in comes a massive swarm of bees, the sound of monster truck wheels buzzing down the freeway.

Wild stuff!

Yet there I was, just minutes from one of the busiest interstates in the world, surrounded by housing developments, huge swimming pools, a municipal airport, cars speeding by.

Experiences like this remind me of the importance of protecting all critters, from those wild creatures who may never see a human being, to Mr. Coyote and his bee friends.

Have you had the opportunity to observe wildlife in an urban setting? Ducks on ponds count.

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The urban adventures of a baby opossum

Let me just start off by saying opossums are repulsive creatures. The long snouts and tails, the rows of nasty teeth, the nighttime foraging through garbage and dead stuff, the defensive hissing—they just aren’t in the same category as say a bunny rabbit.

But babies being babies, even opossums are somewhat cute in their juvenile form (I’m using the word cute loosely here).

So when a baby opossum begins his adventures in life in your yard, you have an urge to root for his long-term success. Such is the case in our own yard.

He’s quite the adventurous fellow, that opossum. He’s met my dog, who weighs approximately 69.5 pounds more than he does, yet he casually held his ground while the dog cautiously sniffed the air around him.

"Back off! I'm busy finding a couch to chill under!" Note: that's not our resident baby opossum, but you get the idea. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't handle something that looks like that.

And then the other night, as we’re vegging out in the living room, we notice our dog sniffing around the couch. I decided to investigate. Yep, there’s our baby opossum, just minding his own business.

Getting a opossum out of the house is no easy task. We pulled back the couch, attempting to throw a blanket on him, which he easily evaded. He then headed under the entertainment center for more opossum fun.

From there, we basically set up a makeshift channel of boxes and wastebaskets directing him outside. It worked. Eventually. Not before he hissed at me and backed so far into the corner he was doing opossum handstands.

My wife had another sighting last night when she almost ran him over pulling into the driveway. This lil’ guy just doesn’t quit.

Yeah, it might be strange that I’m pulling for a baby opossum’s survival. You would, too, I bet. He’s got quite the adventurous spirit.

Let’s just hope he brings his nastiness somewhere besides my yard/house when he becomes an adult.