When houses, driveways and garages colonize once-remote locales, the critters already living there might become muted, but they don’t go away. In The Raccoon Next Door: Getting Along With Urban Wildlife, Gary Bogue, former curator of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, Calif., tells how to co-exist with the wild animals, birds and insects that show up in our backyards and attics.
wildlife rehabilitator who has treated some 40,000 injured or
orphaned patients, Bogue writes about the opossum snoozing the day
away in the garage, the bees boring holes in a wooden fence, and
the feral pigs rooting up neatly mowed green lawns.
focuses on Northern California, but imparts advice that’s
helpful elsewhere, offering tips on how to keep neighboring
wildlife healthy and independent, without letting your own home
Some of his suggestions will disappoint
those who give handouts to their furry neighbors in hopes of
viewing a backyard menagerie from the breakfast table. Don’t
feed the raccoons, the deer or the coyotes. Geese and ducks can be
given grapes, produce and chicken scratch, but no stale bread: a
big piece might mix with water and harden in the bird’s
And if you think your pet cat will be unfulfilled
without hunting mice, rats, songbirds and treefrogs, don’t
come crying to Bogue when your Siamese discovers her place in the
food chain in the beak of a golden eagle or the jaws of a coyote.
As the human population grows and spreads, Bogue reminds
us in dozens of small ways that what’s left of the wildlife
will only survive if we humans are better schooled.
The Raccoon Next Door: Getting Along with Urban
by Gary Bogue, illustrations
by Chuck Todd
144 pages, paperback: $16.95.
Heyday Books, 2003.
Living with the wild
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