City critters

Went to park my car in the Elm St. garage at about ten last night, and wound up getting into a long conversation with the evening parking lot attendant about what mammals might live in the downtown neighborhood. He’s in the parking garage five evenings a week until eleven at night, and from his perch in the entrance booth he regularly sees skunks and possums. We have both seen gray squirrels, of course. And he said there’s a feral cat that lives nearby, appropriately named “Downtown” — a woman who lives nearby feeds “Downtown” every night just across Elm St. on North Second St.

We talked about whether coyotes have made it to the downtown neighborhood yet. He has talked to several people who claim to have seen coyotes in other parts of New Bedford. We agreed that one of the sure signs of a coyote living in the neighborhood is a distinct drop in the cat population. I argued that the presence of “Downtown” the cat indicated that there are no coyotes nearby, but he argued that “Downtown” is tough enough to lick most coyotes.

What other mammals in this center-city neighborhood? Well, I’ve seen harbor seals swim right up to the downtown waterfront. He saw a cottontail rabbit in the garage once. There are doubtless rats and mice. I’ve seen a big brown bat in the church. But shouldn’t there also be raccoons? — can we confirm the presence of coyotes downtown? — any other mammals? We decided this topic calls for more investigation. He’s going to talk to the people who come into the garage and pump them for information; I’m going to start watching for road kill along Route 18 to see what turns up.

2 thoughts on “City critters

  1. CDS

    When I was living in Madtown, I had a disagreement one evening with the largest, ugliest, nastiest, meanist opossum I’d ever seen. I came out from eating dinner to get back into my cab. As I approached the car, a very loud tea-kettle whistle-gagging-spitting-hissing noise stopped me in my tracks. The opossum had taken up residence on top of the hood of my car.

    I stood there for a few minutes. It stared at me with beady, bulbous eyes.

    Finally, I said, “Where to, Mac?”

    With a swipe of its tail it got down and waddled-ran off.

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