I went outside to smoke about 10:30 at night. The breeze was in my face. As I sat, I noticed a large animal lumbering in the dark under the trees. It definitely was NOT a bunny.
It lumbered through the dark into the light of my neighbor's front porch. (He leaves the porch light on all night). Yup, it was a large raccoon, at least 40 pounds.
Reflecting on the raccoon's sharp teeth and claws, I thought about the birds, squirrels and rabbits who always seem to be at least on orange alert--always aware of their surroundings. This animal's dum-de-dum-de-doh behavior seemed to indicate no anxiety. The raccoon wasn't noticin' nuthin' as it searched for any edible trash left lying around. Finding none on my neighbor's porch, it moved back to the sidewalk and ambled towards me.
Surely it would walk on by, but nope, less than four feet from me, it started to turn in to my porch. With a surge of adrenalin, I stamped my foot and hissed: "Heeccch!"
The raccoon lifted a startled face to mine, turned, and ran amazingly fast across the ground and around the next building.
Dumpster-diving raccoons, by the way, really stink.
Much of the wildlife is doing quite well co-existing with humans in the Metroplex. Back in the late '70s, Six Flags Over Texas had a pair of beaver move into the Lazy River ride. They gnawed down some small trees and basically shut the ride down. Six Flags tried trapping with no success. They couldn't kill the cute beaver in front of the families and kids thronging the park. Finally, they drained the whole ride and caught the animals, which were transported to other climes. Beaver do quite well in the rivers and streams here. They are not hunted, since the temperate Texas winters leave them with an undesirably thin pelt. Coyotes have actually increased, leading to the occasional disappearance of family cats and small dogs. Possoms are also plentiful, as are skunks. Skunks are the most susceptible to rabies (if you see a skunk out in the middle of the day, stay far, far away and immediately call animal control). They are quite entertaining standing on their hind legs to snap at moths around outside lights, but fortunately, I've seen none here.
I have heard owls, and hope some night to catch a glimpse of the bobcat that has mothered several litters in the neighborhood over the past few years. All in all, rats and mice in this area lead a perilous existence.
That's just fine with me.