Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wild Animal Neighbors: Sharing Our Urban World, by Ann Downer

Wild Animal Neighbors:
Sharing Our Urban World
Author: Ann Downer
Publlisher: Lerner Publishing/ Twenty-First Century Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2013
View on Amazon
Source: NetGalley

Is there anything more exciting than an unexpected deer sighting? You're driving along the highway or perhaps looking out your window and bam! Only the most amazing creature in the world is eating grass right in front of you. And hopefully, if it's not deer hunting season or if the poor creature is not actually trying to cross the highway, a moment later it'll find its way back into the woods and be gone from view, as quick as it came. Why is it so exciting? Partly because it's unexpected, partly because deer are just awesome, and partly because it's so out of place. A wild animal shouldn't be near the highway! That's just dangerous!

And it IS dangerous, which is what this book is basically about. More often than not, when a wild animal wanders into an urban environment, the animal is in just as much danger from us as we are from it. The heartbreaking example of the wild cat in California a couple of years ago resulted in the animal being put down before it could successfully be contained and relocated. It's sad, but it often happens that way.

I feel bad for all of the animals in this book. Just look at the coyote in the sub shop (pictured above). Look at his little face! He doesn't want to be in the sub shop. How did this even happen? He just wants what we all want: a place to sleep, something to eat, and maybe a little cherry soda. Is that too much to ask?

Having said that, I actually grew up in a very non-urban environment and I have no love of coyotes. There were coyotes in the woods all over the place where I grew up and those guys can be total jerks. But something about seeing them completely out of their element, wandering through a shop like some kind of adorable bandit, well, it makes me feel for the guy. Poor li'l coyote...

Of course, I say that NOW, from the safety of my computer screen looking at still photos of the animals, but if I ran into one of them in real life I'd probably freak the #@&! out. A squirrel in the park tried to steal my peanut butter sandwich once and I almost fainted.

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