Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Urban Carnivores - What's In Your 'Hood?

The other day Chris and I were doing yard work and looked up to see a coyote trotting down the middle of the street. This was at 11am and in broad daylight.

It disappeared into my neighbor's massively overgrown lot after giving us the stare down.

But our coyote sighting pales in comparison to what showed up in my parent's neighbor's yard this morning:

RIVER OTTERS!! Four, including two babies!  [Can you feel my excitement?!.]

Growing up I had a whole school of fancy koi (fish) that lived in our pond. Some of them were 15+ years old, had names, and I trained them to come up to the surface by ringing a little bell. (I was a bored teenager, clearly). One day, all my prized fish were gone, with only a few fish heads laying scattered on the rocks. Piscinicide!

My mom maintained for years that it could only have been the work of a river otter - dad and I laughed her out of the room every. single. time.

Sorry, Mom, we should have believed you.

Note: to get to Steve's yard, this family of otters had to haul themselves out of Lake Washington, find their way past the solid block of lake-front homes, cross a street, climb a hill, cross the Burke Gilman Bike Trail, zip under a fence, cross a lawn, and then dive into the pond. Don't think that these guys are exclusively water critters - they can hustle across land at a fast gallop.

Our local zoo is currently doing a research project on urban carnivores and they're asking Washington residents to record their sightings of the meat-eating animals that live in our neighborhoods.

Want to see what is in your 'hood? Check out the map.

According to user-submitted data, we had a bobcat on the field where Ben plays baseball, a red fox in Wedgwood, an opossum in Maple Leaf, and coyotes/raccoons....everywhere. The video footage of the bobcat is pretty cool - I think the red fox sighting is slightly suspect. No bears yet within city limits. I'm wondering if the bobcat population has benefited from the explosion of rabbits that our city has experienced this year - we've got bunnies coming out of our ears.

Got anything to add to the map?


Photos. T. Dorrance. Thanks WS, for the push to get blogging again!