Urban Wildlife

Twice in the last month my wife and I have arrived at our front door to the unmistakable smell of a skunk. To most people this would probably not be all that remarkable except we live in the heart of Queens in New York City. So the question that has kept nagging us is "Could a skunk (or other forest-inhabiting animal for that matter) really live and thrive in a metropolitan area that is miles removed from any forest?"

Having driven past or run over many a skunk in my day, I am quite familiar with their odor. Occurring late afternoon or in the evening, the time of the smellings correspond with my previous experience. Although I do suppose it is possible some other urban nasal assault (or combination thereof) is passing as the spray from one of nature's most strongly scented rodents.

An unlikely answer to my question came yesterday morning when I looked out the window of my home office. The normal population of wild cats was nowhere to be found when another critter came skulking around the corner. With its pointy face and long, hairless tail an opossum casually walked down the sidewalk. With no clues to how it arrived in the middle of Queens and a deferrance to the din of traffic, my wild friend climbed a chainlink fence and reclined on a tree stump for a while.

Then it was gone.

And with that I suppose a modern day Wind in the Willows could include the adventures of oppossum and skunk in the the city and be taking place in the alleys around my apartment.