How much of a zoo is your home?

As we were walking past the possum enclosure (which was “bush-like”) a couple of weeks ago at the zoo, I commented to my SO that possums don’t live in the bush, they live in roofs.

And a couple of nights ago, an owl came to rest on the house next door to me. Afterwards I was thinking that I don’t even have to leave my house to see wild animals! This is what prompted me to start this thread.

How much of a zoo is your home? (BTW, including pets is CHEATING! ;))

Around my home I have seen:

  • parakeets
  • kookaburras
  • crows
  • an owl
  • brush turkeys
  • many other bird species I can’t identify
  • lizards
  • spiders
  • ants
  • cockroaches
  • possums (who live in the roof and like to snack on our fruit)

Obviously people living in the country will beat me hands down… but I live in the city! Such is life in Australia (and I love it).

We had parakeets living in the Crepe Myrtle in the front yard a couple years ago. Durnedest thing. All I could imagine is that they must have escaped from the pet store a few blocks away.

After dark, I do not go in the back yard. It’s the regular route of a local skunk, and I don’t ever wanna encounter that little bugger.

We have owls, from time to time. Wife and I spent quite some time one night listening to a baby owl hop around on the roof, while Mommy Owl sat in a tree nearby, encouraging him to flap and fly.

The front hedge is infested with cardinals. Wife encourages them with about fifty ornamental birdfeeders that are always kept full.

The shed is infested with lizards, green anoles and geckoes to be specific. I like 'em. Anything that eats mosquitoes is fine with me. There is also a truly massive toad that lives under the air conditioner; he comes out sometimes when it rains.

Oh, yeah… and the five cats. But they were invited.

1 An owl that I have never actually seen just heard
2 Bald Eagles in the fall
3 Woodpeckers the black and white with a red head type
4 Red Tail hawks
5 Blue and Yellow finches
6 Hummingbirds
7 Whipperwills (sp?)
8 Blue cranes
9 an osprey
10 various more common birds

cute and fuzzies
1 White tail deer
2 Beaver
3 Racoons
4 Opossums (not cute or fuzzy)
5 Groundhogs
6 Red and grey Foxes
7 Coyotes
8 Rabbits
9 Squirrels

1 various lizards mostly gecko
2 turtles snapping and box
3 various snakes (Chicken, Cotton Mouth, Rattlers, Copperheads)
4 I’m sure there is more

Did I mention I live in the country and my property backs up to a wild life preserve? :cool:

We have a few Great Blue Herons who regularly cruise the brook on our farm which connects two wetlands areas. Honestly spectacular birds.

It’s just too much city around me for wildlife. I’ve seen numerous birds, there are plenty of wild Quaker parrots and Nanday conures and the usual doves, pigeons, blue jays and starlings. I was happy to see a cardinal not too long ago but they are rare nowadays, I think the non-native parrots may be taking over their niche.
There’s plenty of squirrels.

I did see an unusual site at my workplace which is only a few minutes from my house, it was a mink! Although they are native all over the place this isn’t an area where I’d expect to see them, the only water ways nearby are tiny lakes and drainage ponds. I wondered if it might have escaped from a breeder but this isn’t exactly an agricultural area either.

I live on 11 acres in the woods. I don’t think I can list all the critters who I know are around but haven’t seen, but I can list the ones I have seen in the 6 months I’ve lived here.

Deer (lots and lots)
Flying Squirrels
A white weasel
Countless chipmunks
A whole tribe of squirrels (standard non-flying)

Great Blue Herons (in the creek)
Mallards (in the creek)
Mergansers (in the creek)
Downy woodpeckers
Hairy woodpeckers
Pileated woodpeckers
Common Redpolls
Red breasted nuthatches
Gulls (several varieties - we’re less than 2 miles from Lake Superior)

Scaley things
Snakes (in the basement, no less)
Fish (in the creek)

Things that I know are out there but I haven’t seen
Bears (previous owners told us they’ve seen them around the house and I’ve seen droppings)
Coyotes (seen their droppings all over)
Racoons (they’re everywhere)
Skunks (same)

:eek: I always thank my lucky stars I haven’t seen a snake near my house, and you’ve got one (or more!) in the basement?

Tarantulas, lizards, snakes and an emperor scorpion, all as captive pets.

Also a colony of Russian dwarf hamsters, and a colony of Madagascar hissing roaches – feeders and breeders, every single one of them.

Nuts. I missed the warning that including pets was cheating.

So, do the feeder animals still count?

[li]Red-Tailed Hawks[/li][li]Mink[/li][li]Rabbits[/li][li]Opossums[/li][li]Bright Yellow Finches[/li][li]Copperhead[/li][li]Blacksnakes[/li][li]Canadian Geese[/li][li]Mallards[/li][li]Owls[/li][li]Squirrels[/li][li]Many, many Cardinals[/li][li]Bluejays[/li][li]Bluebirds[/li][li]Turtles[/li][li]Muskrats[/li][li]A fox[/li][li]Bats[/li][li]Frogs[/li][/ul]

And I live within 1/4 mile of City Hall.

Lots of possums. And owls. There’s also a colony of bats that live in a Moreton Bay fig tree just across the road. All within 200m or so of North Sydney CBD.

The bat circling the house made me think of this thread…

Actually seen on property:
Big Brown Bats
Fox - red
Frogs/Toads of various species
Squirrel - red and gray
Voles (moles and voles are always seen dead, though)
Garter Snakes
Mallard Ducks (see also the “dear ducks” thread in mpsims)
Cardinals (we have 3 for some reason. I’d expect 2 or 4)
Hairy Woodpeckers (they’re cute)
Blue Jays (not too often)
various Sparrows and Finches
Red-wing Black Birds (also not too often)
and…I hate to admit it, but there are these small, dark birds I don’t know what they are since they spook before you get a good look. Possibly grackle.

Footprint Evidence of:
Bear cub

Around town (while in a car):
A half-grown Bear (we we ever suprised!)
Deer (I saw a Doe and Fawn about 2 miles from home on Friday :slight_smile: )
Falcons/Hawks maybe Eagles of some sort
A Pipping Plover(!!)
Our building at work is on a river that is a mix of fresh and salt water, so there I’ve also seen Striped Bass, Blue Herons (they live there), Cormorant (Great and Double-crested. They also live there), a baby Mink, and, very oddly Golden Eye Ducks, several female and one male.

I was raised on 60 acres of very remote timberland in Northern California (Humboldt), that borders a large National Conservation Area. So I won’t try to kill any hampsters trying to account for each of the metric assload of critters who have crossed my path. Needless to say, they were all responsible for my persuit of my BS in Zoology, and I am forever gratefull for their inspiration.

I must a few of the more memorable highlights though…

When I was 5 or 6, my dad found a porcupine eating our cat food. As we had two dogs, he was not keen on the idea of the hours of potential fun yanking quills out of their noses with pliers. Dad pondered his options.

We were relatively fresh transplants from Southern California back then, and most of the local folk would have shot the “pest” without hesitation. Dad had a better idea, and raised me to do what I could to preserve nature as I found it as much as possible. This was one of the earliest such lessons I can recall.

He scooped the critter into a galvanized garbage can with a shovel, closed the lid, and promptly banged the holy hell out of the outside. He put the garbage can and cargo into the Land Cruiser’s trailer, then drove it out into the public lands and let it go.

The impromptu disincentive seemed to do the trick and the porcupines kept their distance. I’ve always tried to imagine how the news might’ve spread through the local porcupine community.

“Duuuuude! You don’t want to go near there, man. There’s some crazy shit goin’ on. No cat food is worth being abducted by the alien percusionists…”

When I was 8 or 9, I went for a walk up one of the old logging roads that run across our property, toward the modest bee hive we’d been keeping for a couple of years. When I got to where the hive was supposed to be (only about 50 yards away from the house ) I found bits and pieces of the hive boxes strewn out over about 40 square feet. Not one bee in sight. Not one drop of honey nor crumb of honecomb.

A black bear had apparently had a little snack as she was passing through, and she took the time to lick each board clean. We never saw her, just the evidence of her passing, but that was quite bold of her considering the proximity to the house and the dogs.

We eventually found the hive swarming high up in a nearby tree, but we had to just let them go. It was too precarious of a place to try and re-capture a queen.

When I was 13 or 14, a sophomore in high school, my Mom and I were renting a place “in town”, as my hometown was too small to support a high school. Mom was going back to school for her teaching credential at the same time, and we’d drive home to dad on the weekends.

Back at the homestead, we usually prop open on of the sliding-glass doors just a smidge, so the cats could go in or out. Dad called us in town one night to inform us that a spotted skunk had apparently decided to come on in and keep him company, since we weren’t around. A live wild skunk in your house basically gets to call all of the shots and follows none but her own schedule, as you can imagine.

Mom and I let dad know that he shouldn’t expect us to come home untill his houseguest was on her merry way. For the next month and a half, dad and our large German Shepherd gingerly tip-toed through their days and nights. Dad made a few trips into town to see us and strategize an eviction.

His opportunity arrived one evening, unplanned, when he walked into the bathroom (which was under construction) and saw a little skunk butt sticking up out of the unfinished hole in the floor around the bathtub drain pipe. She was apparently getting tired of the accomdations (or dad’s snoring) and was pondering some sort of fire-pole escape down the pipe into mom’s wood-working studio a good 20’ below. Dad grabbed a broom, snuck within reach and poked her through with a quick jab of the handle.

By dad’s account, she bounced off of a pile of mill ends, shook herself, looked up at him, and trotted off.

Mom and I gratefully returned home the next weekend, and it took a good few months for our guest’s distinct residual aroma to fade, even though she had (miraculously) never sprayed anywhere in the house. Any ferret-owned folks have an idea of what I’m talking about.

I have to save a few stories for some other time, so I’ll stop there. :slight_smile:

I live in the suburbs, but my house is at the back of an older, wooded subdivision, alongside a creek. I have seen:

A red-tailed hawk
A heron of some kind (some tall skinny waterboid, anyway)
An owl
Mourning doves
Assorted and sundry birds I can’t identify
Chipmunks (or as the kid next door calls 'em: “Chi-bunks”)
Feral cats
A fox
A coyote
Snakes (mostly garters, but a few pretty black ones)
Moles (found one of those buggers drowned in my pool skimmer basket!)
Some ugly kind of fish the WryGuy says are probably carp
Turtles that lay eggs in my yard every year (we find their egg spots and watch for the quarter-sized babies every summer)
One REALLY big snapping turtle that tried to take a piece of my finger off
Canda geese
Weirdies of the insect world, including crane flies, gladiator grasshoppers, cicadas, junebugs, wolf spiders, a black widow (in my basement!! :eek: ), sowbugs (a/k/a/ roly-polys) and earwigs.

In the house are three cats, two rats (permanent), two rats (on loan) and a Mastiff.

OH! Also an opossum and a thingie we haven’t identified. The thingie is a big beaver-ish animal, but without the flat tail, and it can climb trees. If anyone knows what it might be, send me a photo link and I’ll see if it matches.

Fisher Cat? If so, avoid. They killed all our ducklings, and they like cats too.

I don’t think so, Elfie. This thingie didn’t have much of a tail at all. And it was pretty big, too - I’d guesstimate it at about 30 pounds. Perhaps an unusual characteristic - when I got close to it (not too close, it was on the other side of a fence) it held utterly still for nearly half an hour. When I went back in the house, I watched it climb down the tree, back feet first, then it waddled raccoon-like into the next yard.

Oh yeah - we have raccoons here, too.