Our backyard is basically a suburban wildlife preserve. I say suburban because we don't have flamingos or...hippos. We have lots of squirrels and birds and an oppossum and I enjoy them while congratulating myself for being nature's finest steward.
The oppossum comes out night - naturally - and walks along our stone wall, crosses the gate and goes up onto the roof, where he usually craps. Kindly, he craps close to the edge so it's not too hard for me to scrape it into the gutter with a rake. Unkindly, I will have to clean this natural dam out of the gutter at some point. Tip: Don't be walking underneath when this happens.
Last night, I saw some shadowy scurrying along the wall and got up as usual to look out the kitchen window so I could see the oppossum making his appointed rounds. His pattern is more regular than a Nintendo villain's.
But last night, the oppossum was bigger. His tail was bushier. And he was a raccoon. Two raccoons, in fact. And unlike the kindly oppossum, this raccoon was fairly pissed off that I was looking at him. He stopped on the ledge and stared back at me with a "What. The. Fuck. Are. Looking. At?" look. Even protected by glass and drywall and superior human intellect, I was terrified. It was like "Animal House" when the brothers ask if you mind if we dance with your dates.
In retrospect, I consider myself lucky to have a face that was not clawed off. Whatever the raccoons want, I will give them.