When wildlife runs wild

house spider

We willingly (and without enough regard for our personal safety I might add) chose to live in a rural area. Wildlife has also chosen to live here. We understand that this is a balance.

I ask to have peaceful enjoyment of approximately 3,000 square feet inside our home. The rest of the Earth can generally be occupied by nature. Bats, birds, bugs, bunnies and anything else can just ramble around the outdoors without harassment from me. Is that enough to satisfy nature? No. No, it is not.

Am I the only one who follows the news closely enough to realize that wildlife is mobilizing for some sort of uprising? These are just a few of the headlines I’ve gathered.

A Pittsburgh area couple found that squirrels had, well, squirreled away more than 200 walnuts under the hood of their vehicle. They noticed it when the vehicle smelled like it was burning. Say what you want about accidents but that is clearly arson if you ask me.

In Colorado, sightseers were forced to run for their lives when a massive bull elk rammed into a crowd of people in Estes Park, Colorado. Some would argue he made a wrong turn but to me, that was an intentional attack.

In Ohio, a teen found a goat in the family bathroom. For the record, the family did not own a goat. Worse, they found that their homeowners insurance would cover bear or deer break-ins but not goats. Did the deer and bear know this? Is that why the goat was involved?


Back in Pennsylvania, a distinctly non-tropical state, the seventh (seventh!) alligator has been found. One was found on a porch, yet another five-foot-long alligator was captured in a backyard and in May, a one was spotted in the Monongahela River.

That isn’t even all the alligators! For the record, it is not illegal to own an alligator in Pennsylvania. Perhaps it should be? Clearly alligators have boundary issues.

On the domestic front, the Centers for Disease Control is warning everyone with backyard chickens that it is not healthy to cuddle or kiss chickens. Is that a warning the general public really needs? Have I been thinking of the care of chickens all wrong? The CDC reports, a total of 1,003 people infected with the outbreak strains of salmonella have been reported from 49 states.

Cuddle? Kiss? I wouldn’t even turn my back on most fowl. In Australia a 76-year-old woman who had been collecting eggs in her home was murdered by a rooster who managed to peck open a varicose vein. Experts claim this kind of thing is rare. Is it though? Have we looked closely at Rooster related death tolls?

In the UK a herd of 100 or so feral chickens are said to be terrorizing a town. They chase joggers and wake folks with their squawking. Here my loyalty is divided. I’m never okay with disturbing sleep, but how do we know the joggers aren’t asking for it?

On a grander scale, an emu roamed North Carolina for weeks. Five feet tall, 100 pounds, native to Australia and traveling within a 12-square-mile area. This animal managed to elude trained animal control officials.


Back in Pennsylvania, a woman used a shovel to kill a cobra she saw slithering on the patio of her apartment. A cobra! She took photos of the snake before killing it.

I love to take photos. I tend to say if it’s not in the photos then it probably didn’t happen. Nonetheless, I don’t know how she got such a clear shot while running and screaming. The cobra is believe to have escaped from a neighboring apartment. Just what are the rental policies in this place?

Finally, I have always been one of those “spiders are our friends” freaks. I’m not afraid of spiders. At least I wasn’t until reports of mutant spiders surfaced. I’m no scientist but the term mutant does not inspire confidence.

The bug is also called spider cricket — spricket — cave cricket and camel cricket. Again, none of them has the allure of, say, kitten cricket.

Further research assures us that during late summer and fall these spider crickets seek to move inside your home. Better news: they are known to congregate in large numbers. Finally, when frightened they jump directly at what challenged them — thus risking a spider cricket in your face. Again, if you see my daughter DO NOT MENTION THIS EVER.

Just this morning a headline reads that another bear has been spotted locally. This was not bear country when I was growing up. I was never consulted about welcoming bears across our borders. They were often spotted in Pennsylvania but the Buckeye state was generally bear free. Perhaps all those alligators scared the bears across state lines?


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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