When a relative wrote to tell me about all the animals she’s been seeing around her new country home, it took me back to a summer, years ago, when I sometimes felt like I lived in a jungle.
I had to take my small dog, Sadie, outside several times a day. I’d take her out the back door where there is a screened patio with another door to the outside yard. I’d let her out and wait until she was ready to come back in. A nervous little dog, she didn’t linger, so it only took a few minutes.
Things went fine during the day, but late at night, I never knew what I was going to encounter when I turned on the porch light and opened the door. Sometimes it was only a rabbit or squirrel that quickly darted across the yard, startling me temporarily... but I’ve seen opossums freeze in their tracks when the light went on. The way those glassy eyes stared at me gave me the heebie-jeebies!
There were also numerous doves sleeping in the safety of the overhang on the house. They didn’t seem to be afraid—only annoyed by the disturbance. And then there was the time I stepped on the black snake’s tail thinking it was a bird feather sticking up out of a crack in the concrete walk. I’m surprised it didn’t bite me. When I later found out it was a snake – you guessed it! Heebie-jeebies!
Poor dog was oblivious to all of this; she was blind as a bat! Which brings to mind another story: One night I opened the door and saw what I thought were three birds flying around in a circle on my screened patio. Holding onto Sadie, I quickly closed the door. Lucky for me, I’m terrified of birds!
When I fetched my husband to get rid of them so I could take Sadie out, he took one look and said, “Those aren’t birds; they have no tails. They’re bats!” Now my husband is a brave man, but not even he wanted to tangle with three bats in close quarters, so, just this once, Sadie went out the front door to “do her thing” before bed. I slept very little that night. Fortunately, the bats found their way out before morning, but I was never very comfortable taking Sadie out late at night again.
I no longer have a dog, so I have no reason to go out there at night. It’s hard to say what might be lurking in the shadows nowadays. I don’t think I want to find out.