Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Critters are everywhere. Some I can easily spot. Others are not as noticeable.

A few years ago, on the way to the commuter station, I saw a possum walking by the side of a house. About a week ago, I was about to let Rascal out when I smelled the distinctive odor of a skunk wafting from the area of the patio. Fortunately, all was clear by morning.

Last Thursday, when I was walking Rascal, I stopped to talk with a neighbor who was walking her collie. That's when I learned she'd met up with a coyote not far from my house. It followed her and her dog a few blocks, but didn't get real close. Now, everytime I go out, even for a few minutes, I make sure the latch is down on the backyard gate. Though I believe Rascal would be a good match for it, I wouldn't want one to take the chance of one of those critters making its way into our yard.

Of course, we also get our fair share of squirrels, which are so common I don't pay as much attention to them. Then there are the birdies of various types and sizes. Lately the variety of bird songs in the morning are increasing, a sure sign of Spring.

I'm thinking it would be a good idea to incorporate a few of these critters into my books to flesh out area descriptions.

What about you? What critters are around your neck of the woods? Do you include any of them in your books, or maybe you remember reading a book with a critter or two in it? Please share.


  1. Anonymous6:24 AM

    Oh yeah - I have animals in the background, birds in the trees, etc. Adds to the realism. I haven't had a character have a pet yet, though, that is a good plot element sometimes.

  2. The critters around here mainly consist of just deer and wild birds, oh yes, and wild ponies, lol.

  3. They formed a large part of my horror novel. Rattlers, blackbirds, coyotes and raccoons, stray dogs...

  4. We frequently get nocturnal visits from raccoons -something I'm not crazy about if it happens when there is a bag of garbage out, waiting to be whisked away cause those little critters love to rip the bags and strew the contents ALL. OVER. THE. YARD! We often see several deer too in the back yard, grazing on the old apple tree or munching the grass. And then, come summer, there's usually a visit or two from a snake and that I definitely can do without. We have also on a few occasions, had a bear show up in the backyard as well. A couple summers back, almost everyone along our road was having problems with garbage bags being totally shredded, cans toppled completely over, and it appeared that a rogue bear was visiting quite frequently then.

  5. Living in the middle of a very old, developed section of southern California, I'm always surprised to see the wildlife. One day, I watched a coyote lope across the street from the post office, toward McDonald's. My hubby saw 4 raccoons wandering across our driveway one morning when he went out for a jog. We have a feral cat in the neighborhood. He looks like hell, raggedy, black fur, but my hubby has named him Blackie and asks about him if he hasn't seen him in a few days.

    I've got a cat who plays fetch in the novel I'm working on now. We'll see how he works into the rest of the plot.

    Gayle Carline

  6. You are right, there are critters all around- including skunks, which I included in one of my works. I also wrote a YA novel around an Akita dog I used to own.

  7. kritters, er, critters? We have squirrels, deer, rabbits, and the like. As for in what I write, Amanda and Alex are alley kitties and they meet many kritters on their forest visits.

  8. Ironically, as much as I love animals, none have made their way into my novels! Kinda funny.

    But we have a lot of wildlife here, including an occasional bear. What worries me more are the occasional water mocassins! Had one of those in our garage before...

    L. Diane Wolfe

  9. Back home it was the skunks, raccoons, deer. And once, a baby moose wandered across the front lawn of my high school. It was so cute yet so huge for a baby. And birds. Tons of birds.

    Here...I see ants and crickets. Oh and frogs. My hubby got to deal with the scorpions, deadly spiders and snakes when his unit was training out in the field. Here in the city we don't get those too often. We do have these blackbirds that are the everywhere.


  10. We live in a village so there are lots of critters, but also plenty of places for them to hide. Sadly these means that if you see them it's usually because they are roadkill, i've seen bunnies, badgers, foxes and even a small deer (small species not young) this way. Of course plenty of birds around.

  11. You know from my blogs we have coyote and all kinds of other critters- I just saw a muskrat-bleh.

    But the most interesting was when we lived in a Kansas suburb- there were foxes everywhere. They walked down the street at night. Wild.

    Nice post!


  12. We have birds galore (I live just a couple miles from Presque Isle State Park), squirrels, groundhogs, etc...

    Then there are the feral cats and the skunks-one of which caught Sam and I offguard--he just wanted to chase the "prety kity"--Whew that was horrid!

    My book has Maggie, she plays a very big role in the book and a crow and an odd critter or two.

  13. We get all manner of critters here in Northeast PA. Deer, skunks, opossum, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, bobcats, mink, moles, turkeys, raccoons... I remember last spring taking my husky out in the morning to find a HUGE raccoon in the backyard like no one's business. It just kept wandering at its own pace, looking back at us now and then. Probably had rabies by the looks of it. We get so much stuff here, it's amazing.

  14. I live in Australia and I can't help but incorporate Aussie critters in my writing - especially all the birds with their beautiful (and sometimes strange) calls. :)

  15. We had one racoon, last fall, ravage our garden. We have 2 coyote packs in our woods. And deer. Those are the wild ones. We have dogs, cats, pigs, cows and horses, in our neighborhood. Birds galore.

  16. Well the most we see here where I live are skunks. The bugs are what are interesting but bothersome. Weird bugs. Never seen these kind in my life. You could ride the spiders down the hill into the city, they're so big!
    But my sister who lives in Texas rescued 3 baby squirrels who fell out of a tree in her backyard during a bad storm. She kept them and found out how to feed them from a local vet who checked them out for her. Then when the vet told her it was time to let them go she put them at the base of the tree and they scurried up. Every now and again they come down and come to her back door and she gives them some nuts!

    Cindy Hernandez


Your Comment Is Welcome