Bear and Bare, Pt. 3
Eve Dew Crook
The “bare” part of the title doesn’t fit any longer, as our Arizona living evolves around tank tops and shorts, but there was a bear in our neighborhood one summer, and we frequently see javelinas marching down the streets and munching on the cacti, as well as deer on the golf courses and coyotes everywhere. Besides the snake that landed on my husband’s shoulder as he was opening our front door, we have occasional visits from them on our back patio, in our garage, and hiding under rocks and bushes. Sometimes they’re rattlers. I saw a wildcat on my neighbor’s back fence, and a covey of quails was born in our backyard. But the most unusual animal to visit us showed up on our roof.
We heard the patter of footsteps for several nights and finally called pest control, thinking we had pack rats nesting up there. A man with a cage showed up late the next day and climbed up to the roof. When he finally descended and rang our doorbell, his cage was no longer empty. Inside was an animal sporting a gorgeous bushy tail and huge round eyes, like the ones we remembered from our night-flying squirrels. It was a ringtail, a nocturnal animal resembling a small fox with a raccoon-like tail. It is usually seen only at night in woods and rocky areas, not places like our roof, so it was thrilling to see it up close and to learn it’s the state animal of Arizona.
As a post script to my three days of animal stories, you might be interested to know that I grew up in the city, never had a pet, and knew wild animals only from zoos. I’d love to hear comments from my readers.