Know what this is?
That’s a tree right in front of our house. Know what’s in that tree? No? Shall we take a closer look?
That’s a raccoon. In our tree. Staring at us. At 6:30 last night.
Our neighbor said that the raccoon lives in a tree next to his house with its babies. Its babies.
When our dogs alerted us to the raccoon in the front yard, Mark went running out with the camera. I stayed safely inside with Charlie and called animal control because, seriously, it can’t be normal to have a raccoon running around in the daylight, climbing trees, and staring at you. The woman at animal control said it was fine. Frankly, I found her to be just a little too calm about the situation. “But what about rabies?” I asked. She said that if the raccoon was rabid then it would be stumbling about. Then she said , “If the raccoon was well enough to climb a tree, then I doubt it has rabies. Just ignore it.” Ignore it? Yeah, she had no idea who she was talking to.
About a lifetime ago, I went on a study abroad program with about 15 other American college students to rural Kenya. My dear friend Jen was horrifically afraid of black mamba snakes. Inexplicably, I was not. All I can guess is that my gene that codes for the ability to recognize and respond to danger was not fully working until the day I gave birth to Charlie. Now it makes up for lost time. Anyhow, a Kenyan friend told Jen that black mamba snakes can drop out of trees. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but from that day on, Jen aimed to carry an umbrella with her everywhere she went to ward off overhead mamba attacks. I mocked her for it. And now the karma gods are laughing at me. It never occurred to me, not even remotely, that a raccoon could be in a tree as we walked underneath it, waiting to decide if it will pounce down on top of us.
After about 15 minutes the raccoon came down the tree and ran off toward the neighbor’s house. When Mark announced that the coast was clear, I came outside to water some plants. That’s when I saw the thank-the-good-Lord-it-was-dead snake in our driveway.
Mark then told me he had seen two huge turkey vultures or black vultures standing in the road in the neighborhood on a dog walk a couple of nights ago. These are massive birds. And highly unfriendly. Then he mentioned seeing two, very-alive Copperhead snakes on another dog walk. And tonight, after Charlie went to bed, he saw a deer standing next to our car in the driveway. Staring at him.
What is this?! Animal Planet?!
I know that it wasn’t long ago that I was all, “Oh, mama robin, oh miraculous wonders of nature, blah, blah, blah,” but now I’m all, “Where’s the rifle?!”
Seriously, if a person can’t walk out into his or her own yard without it being the Serengeti, then I’m done being Ms. Cuddly-Aww-Aren’t-They-Sweet-Life-Is-Beautiful. It’s going to be “Hi, Animal Control? I need you to bring over a truck. A big truck. There’s been a massacre.”
Alright, I’m joking. But if you happen to be in central North Carolina and see a family of three walking around in plastic bubble suits, please do come over and say hello.