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petrini1 [userpic]

A Wily Visitor

August 20th, 2008 (11:19 am)

current mood: surprised

Last night I saw something I never expected to see in my neighborhood: a coyote.

I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it myself, and if my husband hadn't seen it too. It was sitting in the street in front of my neighbor's house a little after midnight last night. It disappeared behind a car for a minute or two. Then it reappeared, turned the corner, and trotted down the street alongside my house. It was definitely not a dog or a fox. This morning we mentioned it to a neighbor, and she said she saw one on our street about two weeks ago. She also said she used to live in Texas and knows a coyote when she sees one, and that it was definitely a coyote. I knew their habitat had expanded eastward, and I'd heard of sightings in Maryland. There are raccoons, rabbits, foxes, and opossums in my neighborhood. But I'd never heard of anyone seeing a coyote in Northern Virginia.

Keep in mind that I do not live in one of those newly developed McMansion neighborhoods. I live in a century-old semi-urban neighborhood of little houses on little lots, with stores and train tracks all around, and interstate highways nearby. I'm well inside the Beltway, only minutes from Washington, D.C. There is virtually no undeveloped land in Alexandria. I know some animals travel through the metropolitan area by way of Rock Creek Park, a large wooded park that runs down the center of D.C. And there is a protected wetlands area south of Alexandria. But to get to my neighborhood from either of those places, this coyote had to cross major roads, and possibly the Potomac River. I guess that's why they call them wily. Or Wil E.