Animal Crackers

February, 2010 by Ray Bendici
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A couple of quick odds and ends about odd animals in Connecticut ...

fisher_illSaw this story in the Courant, talking about fishers and their growing numbers here in Connecticut. You may remember a few months ago, Steve was talking about them, and the horrible screams they make at night -- apparently they sound a bit like someone being murdered.

From the Courant article:

For those who have heard the cry, scream, shriek of a fisher, you are never the same again. And it is something you will never forget. It is that terrifying. It has been described as a child or woman screaming or even a baby dying by those who have heard it. It is especially disturbing if it wakes you from a deep sleep and you have no idea what is making the sound.

Nice. I've never heard one, but for some reason, I imagine it sounds like Fran Drescher being disemboweled alive. Here's a site that has some possible fisher screams.

Speaking of tearing things apart with sharp claws, people still report seeing mountain lions all over Connecticut, despite the continual assurances from the state's department of environmental protection that they do not exist here. Recently, a feline cryptid was allegedly spotted in Westport -- and it was more of the same: the locals sure that it was a mountain lion, the DEP stating that there's absolutely no evidence to prove that it was.

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The people at Northeast Cougar might disagree with the DEP, as well as the dozens who have commented on Connecticut Magazine's website. As should be the case, until there's actual physical evidence -- scat, definitive footprints, or better yet, a specimen (dead or alive) -- it's all still damned conjecture.

Speaking of conjecture and conspiracy-type stories, I recently heard via Fortean Times about an urban legend regarding pumas being secretly introduced in Pennsylvania by authorities to help cut down the deer population. Again, there was not a shred of evidence to prove it, but it is a fun conspiracy for the tin-foil hat crowd.

One animal that is undeniably in Connecticut is the beaver, which is a remarkable story since the species was essentially eradicated from the state in the late 19th century. They were hunted, trapped and almost near extinction at one point. They were reintroduced in the early 20th century, and now through various efforts, have thrived.

Unfortunately, like in other areas of life, too much of a good thing may not be the ideal situation. Beavers have become a downright nuisance in many areas of the state, most recently in Beacon Falls where they have been credited with clogging drainage pipes and flooding roads, which can create dangerously icy conditions.

The DEP's website has a lot of info about beavers, but the fact that they actually have a section entitled "Problems with Beavers" gives you an idea how pesky those furry flat-tailed engineers have become.

Maybe our forefathers had the right idea, running those buck-toothed varmints out of the state in the first place.

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