Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sharing space with the local wildlife

I am not surprised to be sharing chicken feed with a rat. It dug a nice little tunnel under the wire on the south side of the coop. I’ve contemplated putting out a trap during the nights when the chickens are locked up.

The rat doesn’t worry me as much as the raccoon in the neighbors’ yard. I first saw it at night crossing the road to the bushes at the side of their property. A few days ago, I saw it in their driveway when I went out to get the morning paper. I took a few steps closer, then stood very still. The raccoon slowly bobbed its head around, as if trying to catch a current of scent of something it could not see.

I’ve since read that raccoons’ daytime vision is good, so I was left wondering if the slow movements indicated a sick raccoon or if the animal was habituated to people. So far it does not seem to have entered my yard but it must have been close-- the dogs spend a lot of time coursing back and forth along the fence between that neighbor’s property and mine. I hope the raccoon avoids the dogs because I certainly want them to avoid it and any diseases it might carry.

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