Saturday, February 19, 2005

Wild animals, city dwellers & Disney Disease

Disney Disease is my name for the attitude of otherwise intelligent people who believe the crap that started coming out of Disney years ago and continues in a lot of the 'nature' shows today. It boils down to 'animals are our friends, no animal will deliberately try to hurt you, they're only scared of us evil humans', etc. It ignores the true nature of a lot of animals, and sets a lot of people and animals up for a serious collision.

Current case in point, mASS BACKWARDS brings up the case of a woman who tried to 'scare away' the coyote that was cornered by the dog. The coyote, of course, chomped down on her when she got too close. In many cases a coyote may indeed run away; or it may decide it needs to show who's top dog and start slicing. If you are in any doubt, I assure you that a coyote can bite the tax reform act out of you with great speed. Making this case worse is the coyote tested as rabid. NOT a good situation. And this was in Cape Cod! Apparently the state wildlife people had been making noises about how since people were moving into the 'natural habitat' of the critters, people needed to scare the critters if they got too close, so they'd be scared of people. By the way, if I'm not mistaken, the coyote just moved east into areas like Massachusetts over the last decade or so; 'natural habitat' my ass.

My point is that these people believe that if you have good intentions toward them, the animals won't hurt you; and believe that all you have to do is wave your arms to scare them away. Got news for you, folks; sometimes that don't work. Coyotes are predators, and if they either feel cornered or decide they need to show who's on top around here, may very well chew on you. A fox or skunk or possum that's near a den, or around breeding season when you disturb it, may well bite the crap out of you. That's not taking into account the occasional case of something that's sick and won't act normally because of it.

Bears and elk and deer, too. Bears are big powerful omnivores who, if they feel imposed upon- or on occasion hungry- will turn you into an entree. They don't care what you think of the matter. Deer and elk won't eat you, but the males can gore you with antlers, and the male & female both can kick you into a hospital bed.

I don't want animals killed off; if we did that, there'd be nothing to hunt. Besides, I like having wild things in the woods and plains. I just wish people would often be more realistic about what they're dealing with when they come face-to-face with one of them.

Note: about a year ago I was driving home about 10 one night when I saw what I thought was a dog run across the street and stop in the median a litte ways ahead of me. I slowed down in case it decided to run back, and as I approached tried to decide what it was. It's a German Shepherd? No, it's... IT'S A FREAKIN' COYOTE! In the middle of Oklahoma City. Yes, I did get a real good look; I slowed way down, and it was standing near a streetlight. It was also about the biggest, fattest coyote I've ever seen; it had apparently been living well on cats, dogs, possums and trash cans.

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