We bought a zoo

Before I start, I’d like to frame this post by telling you that I love wildlife. I’m not at all squeamish about bugs or lizards or even spiders. I love wildlife and the environment, and when I was a kid, my best friend and I started a club called “Who Says You Can’t Save The Earth?” and in 1995 I wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, urging him to consider making the environment a priority.

President Clinton must have been busy that day, because he forwarded the letter to Al Gore, who wrote me back and thanked me for my passionate letter. Since my heads up, he has been the world’s most renowned crusader on climate change. While Al was busy inventing the internet, I was the whistle-blower on environmental policy.

Now that I think about it, that story might not be relevant, but I’m going to take this opportunity to remind you to recycle.

When we moved, we moved out of the city and into the county — but we didn’t move that far. Like our old house, our new house has neighbors on all sides and we can walk to the grocery store. We didn’t move to the outback. But still, something is different here. The wildlife is different.

When we lived in the city, we dealt with a certain amount of wildlife, but it was mostly stuff like squirrels and chipmunks and the occasional possum. (Actually, now that I think about it, I did have to call animal control three times while I lived there.)

Here, something is different. And not even being the co-founder of WSYCSTE prepared me for suburban wildlife.

It started with woodland animals. Fun, Snow White type animals. Deer wander through our yard all the time, and we found this turtle in our driveway.

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After a big storm, we found a bunch of frogs in our pool.

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We’ve found four chipmunks in the pool, too.

And then one day, this happened.

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Mary Virginia interpreted this as a message from the Lord, and if you ask her about the time ducks came to her pool she will respond, “It was a TRUE miracle.”

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There are more, ahem, sinister animals, too. Like the time Thomas was playing in the backyard and kept screaming. When I finally took him inside I found more than 10 bites from one single black ant.

Last weekend David stepped on a bee.

And there’s this guy.

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The first time I saw him, I grabbed my camera and took a bunch of frantic pictures because I was sure we’d never see him again. Now he comes so often that we named him Boggy.

Once he even let David hold him.

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What kind of bird is this? Falcon? Eagle? Those are my wrong guesses. The bigger question is, why is he here? What’s he doing in my backyard? Will he try to carry off one of my babies? Or maybe he eats snakes?


Did someone say snake?

Yeah. Someone said snake. Someone said RUN FOR YOUR LIVES THAT’S A COPPERHEAD!

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Brigham found this monster and corralled it to our door, where Tom ended its miserable existence, and ever since then it has been starring in my nightmares.

While Tom dealt with the snake, I filmed this instructional video on how to keep your cool in a situation that your husband is obviously handling crisis.

One of my close friends said I sound like I’m in labor in the video. Tom wants everyone to know that while I sort of sound like that in labor, at least seven more levels of crazy come to the surface during childbirth.

Since we saw the snake, I’ve mentioned it to my neighbors and all of them reply, “Oh yeah, we have snakes here.”

Was that not relevant information? 1980s cape, three-bedroom, pool in the backyard, TEEMING WITH SNAKES.

The snake awakened a fear that I sort of knew I had but didn’t know insane it actually was. Now, every time I step outside, I scan for snakes and repeat the mantra, “Snakes are mostly nocturnal. Snakes are scared of me. Snake bites are not fatal…” And then I recite my snake-bite-emergency-plan.

It’s crazy, though, I grew up playing in the woods every day and never saw one snake. I move to the ‘burbs and see a snake in the first month.

Now I live in a neighborhood with an HOA and shouldn’t they do something about this?


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  1. Karen July 12, 2016

    Now you know why people in the country always look down when they walk. We’ve got copperheads galore out here. Coyotes, too.

  2. Karen July 12, 2016

    Remember to look for the oval eyes, a sure sign. Just use your phone to zoom in while you keep your cool…

  3. Karen July 12, 2016

    I meant to say, oval pupils.

  4. Sarah July 13, 2016

    It’s a hawk! They live down the street at our house – a whole crew of them! Rabbits, too, if you haven’t seen them. Moles, voles, I’m trying to think what else. Welcome to the hood! We’re still amazed over a year later by all the critters 🙂


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