The wildlife on property here in Virginia is a bit out of control, and I don’t mean the house occupants! When we first moved here, we assumed that being close to a main road would be a deterrent for most animals, both large and small. We have certainly found that to be untrue, but it has been a welcomed experience. It is a chance to remember that we are surrounded by more than paved roads, retail stores, and plastic food.
My absurd wildlife encounters have become so prolific over the past six months, that I finally decided to log them for my own amusement. I’m sure there are many more that have presently escaped my memory, but these are the top ten:
1. I have been yelled at by a beaver the size of a small car (Mr. Beaver was very grumpy that day),
2. I almost had my face bitten off by a snapping turtle (they really can jump about 2 feet!),
3. I have encountered more snakes than is appropriate,
4. I had a Red-Spotted Purple butterfly hang out on my shoulder and eventually on my finger for almost 5 minutes (I think he just wanted to chat – to learn more, check out Gardens with Wings),
5. Herds of deer have come within feet of hitting my car while sitting in my own driveway,
6. I have relocated two huge moles that have attempted destruction of every garden plot (and no, I didn’t throw them into the neighbors yard),
7. I have contemplated becoming a hunting man to put one of those beautifully plumed old toms on my Thanksgiving dinner plate,
8. I have had the amazing and surreal opportunity to view a two-foot pileated woodpecker that lives in the wetlands, (they really do look like Woody the Woodpecker!),
9. I have seen the red fox in all her glory, standing starkly against the perfect white snow, and
number 10: Thankfully, my domesticated wildlife, Mango, does his part in keeping the mice, moles, and small creatures away from the house!
As you drive down even the busiest road in any part of the world, think about the habitats and possible encounters just feet away from you, perhaps lurking in the underbrush. What wildlife do you encounter where you live?