Monday, May 2, 2011

City Wildlife

This little guy showed up in our yard a few nights ago. We had the windows wide open and one of the cats started going crazy. Shining a light into the yard to see what was up, we discovered this little one ambling around.

Living only a few blocks from the hills, we have frequent wildlife visitors. One morning, we had a coyote in our yard. We spot them late at night on our street every so often. Because of this, we tend to keep a closer eye on stray cats, or little guys like this one.

We debated whether he was too young to be on his own. Deciding that he was, we spent some time searching for a nest or the mom. We turned the flashlight off and sat in different parts of the yard straining our ears for the little sneezing type noises that the opossums use to locate each other. Nothing.

We're not big on interfering when it comes to wildlife. If an animal is obviously sick or injured, we would step in. We know we are out of our element so we always contact wildlife rehabs/rescues for advice and if we need to take them there, we donate. Even $20 is a big help to these non-profit organizations that dedicate services to helping out sick, injured and orphaned critters.

We decided we would wait a few nights. He's big enough that he wasn't in any immediate danger (about 5 inches nose to rump). Last night, he came all the way up on the porch to our grey cat. He was going to rub her, she was going to eat him. At that point, we decided he'd either fallen out of his tree or off of mom so we needed to do something until Monday when I could call an expert.

After consulting an online resource, we left him water and some cat food mixed with water (to soften it). He drank all the water from the cat food container, but couldn't eat the kibble. I put out a little wet food and he ate that (please don't be mad, Dad - I did listen to your 'let nature take its course' lectures growing up). After about an hour or so, our cat started racing from window to window. Shining a light in the yard, we adult Opossum.

We turned off the lights in the house so we could watch the happy reunion. We listened to the little sneezing type noises. The baby came tentatively up to the mom and then...rubbed her. She cleaned him. We watched as he climbed onto her back and she waddled off with him. If it wasn't his mom before, it was now.

An hour later, the bold little thing was back in the yard again. We look forward to watching them again tonight, but there won't be any food out. It was a one night event and not something we want them to get used to. There are plenty of natural food sources for them in our area - crickets, snails, fruit (from all the fruit trees). They don't need to become dependent on cat food, which isn't nutritionally suffient for them.

What about you - do you have wildlife in your area?


  1. We have coyotes, bobcats, and the like. They are super cute from far away, but I definitely DO NOT want to get close to them (or feed them). :P

  2. Have you ever seen a bobcat? We have some in a big park not too far from here, but we've never seen one. I think that would be a cool sighting. A mountain lion, on the other hand, I could do without spotting!

    Have you seen Animal Planet show about people with deadly obsessions (feeding/bonding with bears, lions, etc.)? Scary!