My house is a zoo and I’m in the cage


Mountain lions and turkeys and bears, oh my! To misquote Dorothy, aka Judy Garland, in the Wizard of Oz.

Where is this world going? The other day a neighbor of mine came out and saw a black bear watching him from a tree. At first she thought it was a federal agent in disguise, but then realized the bear was probably on the loose after breaking into four garbage pails and demolishing a dozen bird feeders, including five of mine.

This fugitive from the law has been on a rampage through the neighborhood, causing all kinds of mischief. Unfortunately, he is not alone. I keep seeing a three-legged coyote, who I nicknamed Wile E. Coyote, running around my yard. I really don’t want to know how he lost that leg. Maybe the Road Runner had something to do with it.

And every morning I wake up to the rattatat of a red-breasted woodpecker poking holes in my eaves, which leads me to believe that maybe it’s the woodpecker’s equivalent of dental floss.

Need I mention turkeys pecking at my SUV? In the afternoon, I watch them tear up the lawn to create dust pans, where they lay down and throw a dust bath. After they leave, two young rabbits take over and start rolling around in the dirt. (I’m not making any of this up.) If that’s their way of cleaning up, I’d rather they come in and take a shower.

Let me also tell you about the 93 chipmunks – I counted them – who dig tunnels around our house like the Viet Cong. They are joined by marmots under the terrace that leveled my vegetable garden last year. This year they joined forces with four rabbits. How can there be so much wildlife chaos in a neighborhood?

I forgot to mention the snakes that sent a woman screaming in terror through the streets. Our neighborhood naturalist said the snakes come out of the woods to eat the chipmunks… but they don’t seem to be doing a very good job.

The other day, a bald eagle was perched in the treetops, searching for a roadkill so he could grab an afternoon snack. In his defense, he does a better job keeping the streets clean than the highway service.

Things got really bad. It used to be that only deer and squirrels wreaked havoc, dug up bulbs and devoured hostas, impatiens and forsythias. No plants or vegetables were safe, even if you soaked them in repellent.

This must be the animal kingdom’s revenge for the way we’ve ruined the planet.

To complicate the issue, no one is afraid of humans anymore. The chipmunks laugh at me like Chip ‘n’ Dale, and when I chase the turkeys, they respond by pooping in the driveway in defiance.

Throughout the state there is anarchy and rebellion of the woods insurgents. Are we witnessing the breakdown of civil order and an attack on our suburban way of life?

To make matters worse, there is no one to protect us from bears, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, moles, foxes, deer, coyotes, bob cats, mountain lions – though the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection insists there are no mountain lions in Connecticut — and truly wild wild turkeys.

I first realized that the natural order was unraveling and that we had slipped into anarchy the day two deer were outside the living room window, munching on hostas as if they were at the bar at Olive Garden salad. I tapped on the window while the dog barked and growled like a junkyard Doberman watching too many Quentin Tarantino movies.

But the deer just looked up at us, yawned, and walked back to the pasture, as if to say, “%#@!*# you, Buddy.” This is our territory now, so hurry up! With such an attitude, they will soon be smash and grabs on Fifth Avenue.

The worst assault happened last week when I heard two loud crashes early in the morning and found out that the bear terrorizing our neighborhood had finally hit our house and knocked down the bird feeders, poles and everything.

I realize now that there is no hope for peaceful coexistence, to use a term popularized during the Cold War. It’s a case of survival of the fittest, to use a term popularized by Charles Darwin…or maybe it was Vince McMahon.

Let me tell you a secret. In this struggle, humans are losers.

Joe Pisani, former Stamford lawyer and editor of Greenwich Times, can be reached at [email protected]


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