Wildlife and I don’t get along. It wasn’t until I moved to my current house I began to encounter the more sinister types of wildlife, like raccoons and deer. And until my encounters with these menacing creatures, I didn’t realize that not all dangerous animals are stored in cages.
I used to love wildlife. When I was a kid our house backed up to Knowland Park Zoo in
When I moved into my current place, I fed my cat out on the back deck. When I poured out his food, he’d swivel his head all around, checking the woods behind the house. Any tiny noise and he would spring into the air and the hair on his tail puffed out like a blowfish. One day I glanced out of the window and saw five raccoons gathered around his dish, chomping on the crunchies, chattering and slapping each other on the back like happy hour at Charlie’s Tavern. My cat watched from the top of the patio table at the other end of the deck, his claws firmly entrenched in the wood and his eyes huge.
Enraged they were eating my cat’s food, I charged out onto the back deck, flailing my arms and yelling so they’d scamper away into the forest. Instead they bared their teeth, rose up on their haunches and growled at me, their claws at ready. I backed into my house and shut the door, staring at them until the bar closed and they drove themselves home to the woods. I silently inched open the glass and the cat came inside where I fed him from a cut glass bowl to make amends.
There came a knock, not at the front door but at the bedroom’s sliding glass screen door as I huddled in my bed the next evening, reading a great book. The hair prickled on the back of my neck. I doused the reading light and slid out of the bed, tip-toeing to the bathroom so I could look out that window to see who was at my screen door. Three or four masked bandits scurried around the deck, peering in the glass and pounding on the screen.
What unmitigated gall. I flew down the hall, grabbed the broom I’d left by the family room door and flipped on the back light. I hauled in a deep breath, clamped my hands around the broom handle and flung open the door to the big deck. They all waited, even the ones who had been down on the deck outside my bedroom at the other end of the house. I shouted and gyrated, waving the broom around, but the animals just hissed and pointed at the empty spot where the dish used to be. Once again, they stood up on their haunches, flicked out their claws like a switchblade and indicated the spot where supper used to be was empty. A couple of them had their hands on their hips and glared. I sighed and back stepped into the house, defeated.
It took a week until they gave up pounding on my doors and windows, cussing me out in Raccoonese, and another week for the cat to eat his dinner in the kitchen without continually glancing all around him. It only took me seconds to realize these vicious little thieves were not in cages, nor did they resemble the cute raccoons Walt Disney Studios portrayed in films. It was a rude awakening