From: Near Portland, OR
I didn't realize coyotes had become such a problem. They were rare when I was growing up. There was a flock of wild parrots in the neighborhood (escaped from an overturned exotic animals truck on the Pomona Freeway) and some massive lizards (up to three feet long), but the rest of the wildlife was pretty small.
The flock of parrots has grown and multiplied into several flocks, which now range all over southern California. Sometimes a flock will contain more than 30 birds, wandering within a square half-mile for 15 minutes, making a godawful racket. Local zoologists can't settle on a single hypothesis for their origin, only that they are not indigenous to California ... or didn't used to be.
I haven't seen the three-foot lizards, but all of the urban areas are now inhabited by possum, raccoons, and skunks. And the bears seem to be extending their foraging further south into urban neighborhoods. Plus, cougars (the four-legged kind) have been spotted in Whittier within the last 10 years.
I saw a documentary several years ago about a flock of wild parrots that have inhabited a neighborhood in San Francisco for generations, so the LA flock(s) are not unique. The parrots were extremely noisy. I forgot about the possums, I remember seeing them occasionally.
Cougars in town are bad news. They were probably driven down from the mountains by the drought. The Seattle area had a problem about 15 years ago when there was a temporary ban on hunting cougars (the state had allowed limited hunting to keep numbers under control) and a drought forced them down from the Cascade Mountains. There was one story in a town on the edge of the metro area where a woman's dog had been going nuts and when she shown a flashlight around the backyard there was a cougar in her apple tree. A park in Tacoma had an ongoing problem with a couple of cougars that attacked dogs and once a small child. I don't know how the cougars got there, it was a big park, but it was bordered by Puget Sound on one side and the city on the other.
I remember reading the Sunset Garden book many years ago and it listed various garden pests. Among them were deer which I thought funny. I could understand having a deer problem if you lived in a rural area, but not in town. We currently live in a town, but we're on the edge of the Portland metro area. I'm constantly trying to discourage the deer from eating my fruit trees. We also have lots of raccoons as well as rabbits, possums, and coyotes. I'd be fine with the deer if they just left my trees alone.
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