Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

We've had a lot of interesting visitors around our house lately. We live just three blocks from the back bay and we are a very rural little town, so there is usually an abundance of wildlife around. There's an Audubon Lookout to take advantage of all the birds, and we've always had a plethora of raccoons and possums hanging out after dark. Lots of skunks, too, though, thankfully, not usually in the immediate vicinity of our house. Just in the last 4 days, though, it seems the normal animal traffic has picked up a bit.

On Sunday, our neighbor called Ben & I outside to show us the newest addition to the neighborhood. Meet Mr. Great Horned Owl. He was calm as can be and posed quite calmly while we all snapped away with our digitals. Ben was thrilled when he seemed to turn his head in a complete circle!

Just look at that camouflage!!!

These pictures were snapped at work this morning. We have many flocks of wild turkeys roaming around the base all year long. Of course, there are many turkeys hanging inside the offices too... but they don't plump near as appetizingly near Thanksgiving. We also have deer, bobcats, mountain lions, squirrels so abundant it's almost like a living Whack-a-Mole game, and great blue cranes. But this time of year the turkeys are especially pleasing.

Last night threw me over the edge. Well, technically, it was this morning. 4:22 a.m. to be exact. Our bedroom window opens onto the back yard patio. I woke up before my alarm to hear chuffing, shuffling and growling. It was fairly random at first, interspersed with rummaging. It took a bit before understanding penetrated the fog of sleep. When it did, I jumped out of bed, grabbed my robe & headed for the kitchen.

We have a history of midnight snackers in our kitchen. Snackers besides Ben, that is. We have a cat door, you see, and many besides our cat have made use of it in the nine years we've lived here. Most notorious of these interlopers are the raccoons.

Usually it's every six months or so that one or two small raccoons at a time come into the house to eat the cat food. They don't cause any problems really, besides washing their dinner in the water bowl. It sort of makes the kitchen smell like a wet dog. But If we lock the cat door for a few nights they go away again.

Daddy-O got up the other night because there were four raccoons in the house. Four! Well, this morning when I opened the door there were not two, not four, but seven raccoons waiting to come into the Kitty Kitchen Kafe. The largest of them was standing right at the door. His head came all the way up to my hips and he must have been as big around as a golden retriever. Then he growled at me.

Holy cow! I stomped at him and got him to s-l-o-w-l-y back off the steps so I could run and get my camera. Then he tried to come in right past my legs. Ballsy things. Chuffing and growling all the while.

Eventually, they all backed down... reluctanly. And I did get a few good pictures. But I think it just may be time to get some traps and relocate us a Raccoon Gang.


CFUW Stratford said...

Too funny. They're almost like little people.

One year at my cottage (alone in the middle of nowhere and late at night) a troop of them unhooked and opened my screen door while I was sitting on the porch reading a book! Just walked right in.

ptesinge said...

Wow- that's cool. Well, "cool" in that I don't have to deal with it! They're so cute though :=)