I suppose what we need is a long screech and a thump.
You see, near the end of May 1999 a black bear weighing about a hundred kilograms (about the same as me) was struck and killed a few miles from my house.
That's about all I know about bears around here. I haven't seen one, and I didn't know we had 'em. But you see, I find this intriguing because of another little bit of trivia.
One snowy morning, when we lived in Connecticut, we spotted a line of tracks down behind our house. BIG tracks. We laid a ruler down for scale and took a picture of them. I'm no big-game expert, but I had a suspicion that those were bear tracks. Most people thought I was nuts, because bears hadn't been seen on those parts for decades ...
A friend happens to be forest ranger, and when he got a look at the picture he told us that indeed they might be bear tracks. Bears, he said, were known (from their droppings) to be in the northern part of the state.
Since that time bears have been sighted south and east of where we lived.
But that's not the end of the story.
We weren't surprised to find coyotes and wolves in Texas. We'd heard about them since we were little kids. Nowadays nobody seems about to brag about wiping out a species, but we were brought up in a state which still honors the gentleman who wiped out the last wolves in Connecticut. The event is commemorated by Wolf Den State Park where we used to go swimming a lot just a few years ago.
I never would have believed as a kid, but now there are a LOT more coyotes per square mile in Connecticut than there are in Texas.
I am told by some of my friends who are still there that some places are overrun with them, and that they are becoming a serious nuisance. In particular, they kill small pets, especially cats.
There are alligators in Texas, not far from here.
If a planned water project goes through, there will probably be alligators a lot closer.
The place is full of surprises.