An Open Letter to Our Mammalian Friends


Thank you Mark Frauenfelder for digging up this image.

I get it. This drought has been hard on you. Fewer resources leads to intense competition. But can we show a little more courtesy?

To the raccoons of Los Angeles: I thought we had a deal. Like club hopping hipsters, the night belongs to you. So what’s up with the recent daytime activity such as the bold raid on our chicken run that took place on Saturday? I’m not going to apologize for spraying you with a hose. Thankfully you had the good sense to run away. If you had grabbed a chicken I’d be organizing small game hunting trips for dentists. It’s bad enough, because of you and your robust fingers, that I had to build a coop that I’ve dubbed “chicken Guantanamo.” I thought I could have a less robust daytime chicken run. I’m not happy that I had to spend over $100 to beef up that run. My accountant will have to devise an elaborate amortization strategy to keep our eggs affordable. I’m also not cool with the daytime raids on the fig tree even if it entertains our indoor cats.

To the rats of Los Angeles: avocados do not mature on the tree. This is probably why you take a single bite and allow them to fall to the ground. You’ll never get guacamole this way. And can you please not drop half-eaten grapes all over our patio furniture. Not only does it create a mess but it leads to unseemly First World meltdowns, “My Martha Stewart patio set is ruined! How will I survive!”

To the Fox squirrels of Los Angeles: you know you don’t belong here. The residents of a veteran’s home released you back in 1905. From there you displaced your more polite, native cousins. I get that you’re not going away. But can you please leave at least one peach for us humans? Keep this up and I’ll put together an unfavorable social media strategy to rebrand you as “#cuterats.”

To the possums of Los Angeles: I appreciate your freakishness and you’re actually kind of cute up close. But you guys don’t look so good under the glare of an unflattering patio floodlight. We do value appearance here in Southern California. Please consider some better hair and skin care products. Go to the gym. Splurge on a better stylist.

To the skunks of Los Angeles: what’s up with the OCD digging? Please note the comment Brad just left on our blog,

I’m eating skunk right now from the crockpot with brown rice. Tastes fine. I’ve eaten it before, but the crockpot skunk is the best I’ve tasted. Neighbors don’t want them, and it was clean, didn’t see any parasites. Watch for the roundworm.

To the coyotes of Los Angeles: I dig the trickster thing. You’re way better styled then the possums.

To the mountain lions of Los Angeles: maybe it would be best to stay out of our crawl spaces. You’re scaring our plumbers.

To the humans of Los Angeles: you’re mammals too! What’s up with the lawns, corrupt politicians, freeways, ugly mini-malls . . . oh, wait this could go on forever. You drive like a bunch of jerks.

Anyways, I hope you all get this memo. Don’t make me put up signs.

Leave a comment


  1. I appreciate your sense of humor over the problems. I don’t think I’d be as patient. Or kind. I’d probably be throwing avocados at the rats and people who mow their lawns during drought. 🙂

  2. Wow, that is quite literally every problem animal you could have. I’m sorry. It’s frustrating enough just dealing with one or two critters, but all of them seemingly at the same time?

    And why won’t these critters just listen? I try to explain to the bunnies and squirrels around here that even though it’ll make me sad, they’re free to destroy everything outside the fence, but to please, please stay out of the backyard. If you continue to venture in the back yard, eventually my dogs are going to catch one of you, and it won’t be pleasant. The fence is there for your protection.

  3. May I add a post-script?
    Dear Mr Gopher – why don’t you eat the weeds? You’ve eaten everything else. And please stop with the tunneling, the yard already resembles a WWI war zone.

  4. Testify, my brother. We’ve never had a fully ripe persimmon from our tree. Although I guess I should be grateful they’re hording those and not other more delicate harvests. I did find that leaving the mammoth sunflowers in place long after they dried up provided ample distractive food. I employed an old farming trick at apricot orchards. Plant a ring of mulberries around the apricots. They ripen at the same time, but the birds prefer the mulberries. They fill up on them and largely leave the apricots alone.

  5. Our chickens were freaking out this morning due to the hawk standing at the junction between their coop and the pen that is just covered in chicken wire. If only it or the neighborhood cats would go after the mice instead and leave the poor chickens alone! I think we’re going to need to do some more fortification ourselves.

  6. Nice try, we raccons are not waisting time anymore. We are hungry and you are so pickable, like with that hose of water shower we have been laughing whole night on that one. We are used to blood and some serious stuff when we fight, shower was nice cool down it just been so dam hot lately. Look if you here and there left some nice juicy squerel dead for us or kill a rat and leave it for us so we can eat we will leave your chickens they put up too much fight anyway, we like easy food why do you think we eat from garbage?
    yeah just and FYI for you humans!
    sorry for the grammar i was only learing how to procreate and hunt for food.

  7. Great one Nicole…Yes the critters are out and about eating all my marginal quality, half ass grown table grapes…some other items off my hard work too….we need welfare reform with these them there critters!!! Rats, opossums, grey squirrels, birds, and oh, that really pesky human mammal. It’s all about sharing, people! But really, the rats possums and squirrels are real issues….

  8. At least you don’t seem to have deer or woodchucks? Maybe it’s time to consider getting another dog. A scrappy terrier or something that can take a coon. The woodchucks in our alley play just outside our gate, but they know better than to venture into our yard, my pit will make short work of them. And I’ve yet to have a coon try to get my hens here.

    • There will be a dog again someday! Things have been much worse on the critter front since our last one passed.

  9. We have voracious “city deer” in my neighborhood. They eat everything, including my immature plum tree (which is now dead). We are spared from groundhogs, chipmunks, skunks, and most other small mammals because of the feral cats that roam the neighborhood. Recently a juvenile raccoon has taken up residence nearby, tearing apart my bags of compost just for fun…but it’s sort of refreshing. The lack of small mammals is kind of creepy.

  10. I feel better now! I live in a rural area with a ground squirrel ( one of 3 types that live here) who has taken up residence under our shed. The monster has eaten my entire vegetable garden. I live in the open desert, and as you know gardening is pretty difficult in the hot desert sun!

    I keep hoping one of the Owls or Hawks will get it- but he is still around! I am getting ready to beef up the fencing once again- double chicken wire did not keep him out- moving on to hardware cloth on the sides and tops of the beds.

    And- enticing my archer granddaughter to come and practice her moving target skills!

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