Monday, September 14, 2009

Urban wildlife

Pic of the day. Sixteen years living in Edgewater, and maybe three times -- always at night of course -- I've seen an opossum on our back porch deck. They're very unnerving, as they look at first like enormous rats, and the Lord gave them the ugliest tail of any animal on earth. They're relatively benign creatures, though, so I've always just let them be.  But this is a first.

This one was apparently feeling a little too tired to go home last night -- maybe a few too many cocktails? -- and decided to crawl up into one of our potted purple fountain grass plants to sleep it off.  Been there all day, too, completely unfazed by the workmen who are going up and down our back stairs all the time as they rebuild our chinney. Kind of cute, in a way, but find somewhere else to crash tomorrow, buddy!

There's another part to this, however, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  Chicago's urban environment is overrun with animals that have no natural predators.  Squirrels.  (Rats with bushy tails.)  Pigeons.  (Rats that fly.)  Opossums that spend the day sleeping in people's potted plants.

But on the other hdand, if natural predators were around, that would be a huge issue.  Foxes in the park?  Coyotes in my back yard?  No way.  We've got peregrine falcons for pigeon control downtown, but that's clearly ineffective.

So we have a quandary.  We have animal pests we need to control but we don't have an acceptable natural solution.  Suggestsions anyone?

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