This morning I was pretending that my alarm hadn’t gone off and that I didn’t need to be at the hospital AGAIN for some other test when I heard this collection of loud noises coming from the bedroom fire escape. The cat flipped out too, which is unusual for her. She is so nonchalant about invaders in general. I looked out the window to see a raccoon taking a large crap on my deck. If you have read my 50 Things About Me post you might know that my wee back deck has become the local racoon loo. What was unusual is that I don’t normally see these critters in daylight. I guess with daylight savings and the spring days getting longer our little masked friends are getting caught out like the ho’s that they are. So I started to pound on my window, as I really would prefer they make their night time deposits someplace else. Like on my downstairs neighbour’s doorstep. So Poo Ass turned tail and ran like hell. Except for one little thing. There was no tail to turn. The poor beastie was a manx version of the species. Obviously, some time and some place long ago he lost his ringed appendage. Maybe a fight with a dog or bigger foe? Imagine coming upon that offering one afternoon in the garden. I’d hurl my mint julep pretty quick.
I don’t know what other city dwellers deal with but despite the fact that I live right in the middle of the urban center of my city there are an alarming amount of wild animals to cohabitate with in my ‘hood. We have a lot of racoons, which come by on a regular basis. When the babies are born they make the cutest little twilling and cooing noises. Those little ones are seriously sweet. I have pictures. I will scan them soon. It is amazing how quickly they climb up and down the side of the house. They can have nasty diseases so I don’t encourage visits. I worry Yoshi may catch something. They are really cute though.
Then there are the squirrels. These guys will actually come inside my house and raid my fruit bowl. The cat just sits and watches. Once I woke to this weird noise only to find a squirrel that had carried a large apple, weighing more than his whole self, from my fruit bowl up to the window. Unfortunately it couldn’t fit through the gap so the squirrel was frantically eating it down to a smaller diameter to haul it through. I wish I could have got a photo of that. I was laughing my ass off as I shooed it out. And yes, I put the apple out too. I felt he had earned it.
We also have a lot of skunks lurking about. Let me say that those guys make a racket similar to fighting cats during mating season. Mostly in the middle of the night. Not cool. At one time some well-intentioned city vet trapped a whole bunch of them and de-stunk them for public safety. This made some city dwellers fairly complacent for a while until the skunk population grew and the stinky ones far out populated the safe ones. Mayhem ensued. Then people learned to show them some respect. My neighbour’s dog was sprayed just recently. Tomato juice is still the best cure, apparently. I think skunks are the cutest things on the planet and would love to have one as a pet. Until then I keep my distance.
Many a day I can look out my window and see bald eagles circling over the bay. It is an incredible sight and I am always awed by the fact that they can eek out a life in these parts. Then, inevitably the crows and seagulls chase them off. Pretty gutsy move on their part, I think. I always worry that one may pluck Yoshi off the window ledge as she is sunning herself. She is pretty tasty.
If you just live over the bridge in North or West Vancouver it was a very bad year for black bears. They will literally come into your houses and wreck your kitchen for food. Did I mention cougars? This is all 30 minutes drive from the big smoke. Crazy. Several years ago they had to kill a bear in a friend’s backyard. It was very sad. They just get desensitised to humans and become dangerous.
It is also a good idea to bring your dogs and cats in at night because of coyotes. They are everywhere. I really mean that they are now in every part of the city no matter how busy or inhospitable it can be. They even attack in daylight so you have to be careful in certain parks. It is scary. They frolic with the dogs and sometimes try to mate.
You see, my city has Stanley Park right in the downtown center. It is similar to Central Park in New York but not as big. Lots of room for cool critters. There is even a huge lagoon with all sorts of birds. Then just south across the bridge is The University of British Columbia. They have a large area of wilderness around them called The Endowment Lands. Great trails to walk or mountain bike through. This is also where you will find Wreck Beach. You may have heard of it? It is a great nude beach. Oh yeah!
To the north are the mountains with our local ski hills and home to lots of black and brown bears amongst other wild things that find their ways into populated areas. The development is growing faster than the animal population can find new places to eat and sleep. You can imagine the problems but, overall, residents are very understanding and accommodating. It is part of the charm of the neighbourhood.
I am getting pretty sick of scraping all the charm off my fire escape.