With the start of a new, warmer season, flowers show their colorful fragrant beauty. Trees start to bud and grow beautiful green leaves, grass grows, all living things start to make an appearance. When I moved into my house, over 17 years ago, I noticed that one of my walls was buzzing. Yes, you heard me, it was buzzing. At first you think it is something exciting that the previous owners left for you—like a treasure hunt of some sort. But then you notice an adorable little yellow jacket flying around the house and things start going downhill fast. The buzzing is not a good, soothing sound. It is the sound that causes you to ask your neighbor about an exterminator. She recommends Mike from Exit, and you and Mike soon become fast friends. He comes to your house and with a magic powder that he places in the wall, hundreds of yellow jackets fly out of my house, never to be seen again. Thank God.
Mike has also come in handy when Mickey and Minnie decide to make an appearance. After an entire winter living on fruits and nuts, sometimes they want to come in to find something a little more homemade. Mike takes care of them too, in a loving kind way that doesn’t give me nightmares for weeks on end. We really love Mike. Ant problem? Call Mike. Think you might have termites? Call Mike. Squirrel get stuck in between the roof and the siding? Yup, call Mike. He is the man. But while bugs and mice are common in our neck of the woods, it seems a new sheriff has come to town and folks ain’t too happy about it!
It seems that coyotes have been appearing in the news lately. Actually, they have been appearing in residential neighborhoods, on the roofs of bars, in Riverside Park, and in other people-infused locations. Now these are not the coyotes of cartoon fame like Wile E. Coyote, these are hardcore, give-me-a-piece-of-Bambi-for-breakfast coyotes. Though, in the footage of the officers running after the coyote on the roof of the bar, you wonder if that particular animal was related to the cartoon one as he hopped, skipped, and jumped his way out of the line of fire and into an open window.
No one is very happy about this, especially the man who contracted rabies from the coyote who thought he was a snack. When they interviewed a woman on television she told the reporter that she thought the coyote was a dog, and then when she realized it was not a playmate for the puppy that she was walking, she got the heck out of Dodge before her dog became a chew toy. Scary. They have shown videos of police officers roaming the fields of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, armed with nothing but a tranquilizer gun and a look of “they just don’t pay me enough to be hunting wild animals” on their faces. About two years ago, I saw a coyote hopping through my backyard. I picked up the phone and called 911. “What is your emergency?” Umm, there is a coyote in my backyard that I don’t think should be there. “Ma’am, is the coyote bothering anyone?” No, he is out there alone. Should I go out there and see if he would like to bother me? “No ma’am, stay inside and only call us if the coyote starts to eat someone.” Hmm, words to live by.
For years wildlife conservationists have been discussing how while we continue to build homes and develop communities, the animals that lived in those areas are forced to pack up and leave their homes. That could account for the recent wild-turkey sightings in Teaneck. Mr. and Mrs. Turkey have been seen walking the track at Votee Park, catching an early minyan by Congregation Keter Torah, and waiting on line at Ben and Jerry’s when it was free-cone day (because why should they be different from the other kosher folks)?
And what about all those deer? On any given day, you can see families of these beautiful creatures wandering the streets and trying to avoid being hit by housewife-driven minivans (or landscapers’ trucks or men driving fancy cars who never seem to go to work during the day—not that there is anything wrong with that!). These deer are almost regal looking with their antlers and good posture, and their little baby deer really are adorable and are probably much better behaved then our kids, because I doubt they have homework. In any event, try not to run them over because it would just be sad. Running a coyote over, on the other hand, might prove to be a little more helpful. Just don’t tell them that I told you because the last thing I need is for the coyotes not to like me too…I have enough of that with humans. So stay safe, stay cautious, and don’t leave your precious animals out in the backyard at night just in case. Hmm, maybe I should tell husband #1 to sleep inside as well. We will see…
Banji Ganchrow kills bugs. That is right, I kill bugs. If you need someone to kill bugs, come and find me!
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow