My little house in Tucson is surrounded by a small patch of desert. Since moving here in September, I’ve seen a tarantula, a rattlesnake, a couple little packrats that I would love to make friends with, too many tiny lizards to count, hummingbirds, and coyotes. I also just missed seeing a bobcat cross a road a couple weeks ago.

Tonight, the landlord knocked on my door to ask if I’d ever seen a javelina before, and said we had a pack hanging out in our driveway area! My boyfriend and I got a flashlight and stayed way back, but we saw four of them, including a baby! I was simultaneously scared and awed by seeing nature so close. They were crunching away on cactus, and one was even trying to get a better grip on a piece by using my boyfriend’s tire as leverage.

So yeah, wild animals are pretty cool. Has anyone else seen anything neat up close and personal lately (or ever)? I know some of you live in Exotic Locales, there are some better stories than mine out there!

I hike a lot in the wooded areas around Santa Cruz. Of course there are lots of deer and rabbits but just two weeks ago I saw a bobcat. It crossed my path about 10 feet in front of me. It was strange because it was very dark in color and its bobbed tail was a bit longer than usual. It stopped and stared at me for a few seconds then casually strolled into the underbrush.

You mean like these critters that keep showing up in my back yard? Roosevelt Elk, they are bigger than the Rocky Mountain kind.

And the view from my computer desk at a different time of year.


Don’t walk outside when they are around and keep your pets inside. Javalina are known to mess dogs up and can kill cats.

The little ones are so ugly that they are cute. They have a wonderful family group, and are very protective. Trying to pick up a baby would not end well.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way…I shoot Javalina and range cows with a paint ball gun. The cows don’t seem to mind, but the Javalina do. They used to just moosey through my yard while ripping up my garden. Now they run while ripping.

I once saw a black panther close to where you are. I didn’t take pics. I was to !!! to think about it. Its possible that you will have a better opportunity.

I’ve seen several alligators on Bald Head Island, NC (the island has several freshwater/brackish ponds). One of them was pretty large by non-Florida standards.

I’ve seen feral animals in several places - ponies on the NC coast (descended from shipwrecked horses brought over from Spain), chickens in Key West, FL and Puerto Rico, and iguanas in the Virgin Islands. The iguanas were the funniest: they had a little colony near a semi-outdoor restaurant, and would occasionally head over to where people were eating and scarf up whatever we happened to drop. The kitchen staff had a habit of feeding them lettuce, lemon rinds, etc. so that they wouldn’t get used to the floor buffet :stuck_out_tongue:

Living in suburban Chicago, we don’t have too much in the way of exotic wildlife. Though, looking out my office window (in downtown Chicago) on Thursday, I did see a pair of peregrine falcons flying around, which is always a thrill.

We have a big, fat ass black bear that keeps foraging in the garbage cans. He is such an arrogant bastard. He doesn’t even pretend to be ashamed of himself as ambles away from the house and into the forest. We know he’s nearby when the dog hides under the bed and the cat is trying to get outside to kick his ass.

I am in Central lower Michigan. I don’t get anything more exotic than whitetail deer, woodchucks, raccoons, and an occasional coyote. One year a mama deer showed up with 2 fawns. A neighbor had a fenced back yard to keep his dog in, and the twin fawns used to love to dance around the outside of the fence, and sniff noses with the dog through the chainlink. If that fence wasn’t there, I doubt that fawns would have thought the encounter nearly as much fun, though.

I have a mama woodchuck that used to live under my shed. One day I counted 5 little woodchucklet noses pointing out from under the shed. I live-trapped 3 of them and relocated them, along with a one-eyed raccoon. This infestation was my own fault - I built the shed on a foundation of buried cement blocks, instead of pouring a proper cement pad. That’ll be fixed soon, I think.

Around here the occasional Armadillo (sometimes even alive!) some deer and what I think are the coolest Roadrunners.

When we first moved into this house in late November 2009, I saw a huge amount of deer. I grew up in a city so it was pretty cool for me. I’m not used to seeing anything more wild than the local children (the savage beasts). I haven’t seen a single deer since early December 2009 though and it’s really annoying me. But, we do have a steady supply of cardinals and blue jays and that makes me happy. I had never seen them before either.

Meggroll I think you need to set up a motion activated camera. I’d love to have a reason to set one up. All I’m likely to catch is video/pictures of the insanely fat squirrel that lives to piss off my dogs.

SWMBO is living in Prescott, had a group of Javalina in the front yard a few weeks back, including at least one up on the front porch. She’d been seeing tracks in the snow for a few days, but thought they were from deer.

Did you smell them? They can be pretty stinky.
A few years back I saw a bobcat saunter through the front yard in Tijeras, NM. Tried to show it to SWMBO, but she still thinks that when I say “come here right now!” I actually want to discuss the importance of what she is doing at the moment. Note that I have used such an imperative tone with her like 5 times in 20 years…four times she missed out on neat stuff, and once she drove into a fender bender…but there is another thread for that.

I live in central Tucson, near the University. We’ve had a problem with javalina accosting people out walking their dogs in our neighborhood. And a few days ago something (probably javelina) got into my garden and ate all my zucchini.

I remember being at the Outer Banks NC maybe 15 years ago, when the wild horses were still allowed to roam free. I was walking on the beach when a huge stallion wandered right on past me (and of course I didn’t have my camera.)

Javelina are (were) campground pests in Big Basin National Park when I was there. When I saw the first one I was thrilled, but after awhile I realized it wasn’t a big deal.

Megg, good to see you! I’d like to see javelinas too. Whenever we travel, I’m always excited to see animals, either because we don’t have that kind back home, or because I’m missing my pets. We just came back from Chicago, and all the critters I could find to take pictures of were a couple of mallard ducks.

Around my house in Florida, we have bats, armadillos, raccoons, snakes, squirrels, and of course, you wouldn’t have to search far to find an alligator or a deer.

I’m in Dallas but live near one of the lakes, so we get all sorts of migratory birds you wouldn’t otherwise see. (Pelicans. Dallas metroplex. What a combo!) One time driving in to work I saw a roadrunner, striding through someone’s little front yard like he owned the joint. Didn’t know we got those around here!

Last house we lived in came with a tailless squirrel. We nicknamed her Rumpy and watched her successfully raise a few (fully tailed) babies. Looked like a guinea pig was running through the trees - it was the damndest thing. :slight_smile: How she survived winter without a tail to keep her warm I’ll never know.

I used to live on the far west side of Tucson, the house backed up to a wash, that thing was like wild kingdom highway. LOTS of javelina and like Kevbo mentioned, they really stink!

Here in Central IL the only wildlife I see is squirrels, rabbits, and the possum that lives under my shed.

Man, we don’t have ANY cool animals. Although once or twice I’ve seen red tailed hawks on the ground or swooping down to catch a little edible animal, and that’s amazing - they’re much bigger close up!

I spend a lot of time in Pacific Grove, about 20-30-minutes below you - my parents live there. At this point, we see deer walking up the side streets and pelicans perched on anything…well, perchable. And of course you best not molest the butterflies…;)*

*PG is a migration stop for Monarchs - they can weigh trees down with their weight. There is a $500 fine if you are caught bothering, er, molesting them…