It’s a zoo out there. No, really, my neighborhood is starting to look like a zoo!

There have always been dogs and cats, birds, squirrels and chipmunks. Occasionally I’ve spotted a snake sunning itself on my driveway and a raccoon or two looking for a snack on my patio. Rabbits have been multiplying like, well, rabbits around here for years.

But this week nature has grabbed hold of my little corner of the world and reminded me once again of the collision course the ‘burbs and the beasts are facing these days.

While weed-whacking my yard into shape recently, I took a break to adjust my, ahhh, whacker and something grabbed my attention. I whirled around and caught sight of what, at first, I thought was a good size rat staring back at me. Yech!

What I saw was mostly a mound of fur with a huge tail, but it seemed a bit unsteady and a little puzzled. After only a moment I realized I wasn’t looking at a field mouse but a really tiny, baby raccoon.

Obviously, my weed-whacking had disturbed its nest and now the baby raccoon was lost and unable to find its mother. I figured I had a couple choices: Go ahead and weed-whack the ball of fur and dump it into my neighbor’s yard or the ivy-filled outer regions of my yard, invite some friends over for burgers and raccoon, or call animal control.

Since I like my neighbor and want to hold onto the few friends I have, I contacted animal control. An officer showed up a few minutes later and carted the ball of fur away, hopefully somewhere pleasant — and far away.

But nature week was just beginning.

Once again in my yard, this time hedging and edging, I heard a startled yelp from my neighbor and glanced around to see two deer loping across my lawn. This was definitely a first. I don’t know who was the most startled – the deer or me.

We stared at one another for an instant before the deer dashed off down the street, hanging a left into a nearby stand of trees. A moment later I heard the howling of a couple of dogs, spotted two hounds – you can’t make this stuff up, really – running across my yard, sniffing the air, obviously picking up the scent of the deer and looking to corner dinner.

So this is what I’m wondering now. It appears someone is invading someone’s space. The question, of course, is who’s the invader?

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Ron Feinberg

Ron Feinberg

Ron Feinberg is a veteran journalist who has worked for daily newspapers across the Southeast, including the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla. and the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, N.C. He recently retired from The Atlanta Journal Constitution where he had been an editor since 1979. He was the news editor for The Atlanta Journal before it was folded into The Atlanta Constitution in the mid-1980s, then news editor for The Constitution. In the mid-1990s he helped create the AJC's Faith & Values section and served as its first editor