During the years my eldest son has worked in university residence halls, he has managed various wildlife/student situations. Deer seem to consider campus quadrangles desirable dining spots. "Bambi Goes to College" sounds like a low budget porn movie, but it is really more like a "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" show with Marlin Perkins than you might imagine.
Now my small Montessori school in the middle of the Dallas metropolex is having its own close encounter with wildlife. On the first morning of summer school we watched a coyote-like animal trot casually past the preschool windows. It's head seemed small for a coyote. Its fur was gray/beige. It had a prominent black ridge along the length of its tail. This animal was also completely unafraid to be walking between a dentist's office and a private school at mid-morning.
For several weeks there have been sightings of this canid creature near the school, usually emerging from the wooded area along a creek and behind a very urban office park dumpster. In early morning headlights it appeared to be a "white fox". The first person to arrive at school would spot an animal chomping on its breakfast prey of bird or rodent. The second person usually cleaned up the souvenir scat it left on the playground. From a distance it looked like a wild dog or coyote. Eventually we realized there were two distinct animals hanging around the neighborhood.
Scat mess on the playground is an inconvenience. Possibly unafraid rabid mammals strolling as close as window-shoppers at the mall in broad daylight is a significant concern. These animals should be nocturnal and hide from humans. Calling Animal Control seemed like the prudent thing to do.
Animal Control suggested we remove the birdfeeder outside the school. Nighttime rodents eating spilled seeds beneath the feeder probably kept the larger predators fed. It took about two days before one of our school visitors ended up in the trap set near the creek. The Animal Control employee was surprised how docile the animal was, and informed us that gray foxes can be more agressive. We also learned the gray fox can climb trees, and doesn't get rabies. After a day or so in the slammer, our canid visitor will be released in a less-populated area. Animal Control will reset the trap to lure its probable mate. Tonight I'm worrying that there are little foxy-loxies down by the creek or up in the hollow of a tree.
© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder