When Mr. Kibble comes out to eat after dark, we have to be sure to remove his dish when he's finished because there are other little neighbors who will appear, looking for food. One night I went to the back door and I was sure there was a Norway rat on our doorstep - I'd read about those very large creatures but never wanted to see one. It's back was to me, and when it turned I saw it was only a possum (I should say opossum, but nobody does around here), a rather slim one, which is why I thought he was a rat. What a relief! He scuttled off when I greeted him, but not before he finished off Mr. K's leavings.
Another night while Kibbelino was eating, a skunk ambled along - ambled is truly the right word for the skunk's travels; it's not exactly a direct path, but more like a little this way and a little that. His nose was leading him and he went sniffing around the shelter. I tried to scare him off - Mr. K. was oblivious - afraid he'd try to go inside, but interestingly, he paid me no heed. Either he was hard of hearing or they just aren't that sensitive to the presence of others. Or maybe just very focused. Thankfully, he wandered off. I find these visits so interesting, and feel sorry, especially in the cold.
- from Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge:
"One morning, as I was about to open the door from our kitchen into a sort of garden-room where the tools of country living collect, I happened to glance through the upper glass panes first. In through the doorway open to the outside there stepped gaily a little black and white skunk. His eyes were very bright, and his coat as shiny, he gave off a fine feeling of vitality and alertness. I got the impression that he was smiling while he ambled (see? same word!) about this place I considered my own, as though it were his own. Utterly off guard, he bit a piece out of a paper carton and spit it out, he tried the lid to the garbage pail, unsuccessfully; he considered a stray hickory nut and discarded it. I watched hypnotized, not daring to breathe. Finally he turned and scuttled out again, and at last I opened the door. There was no trace of noxious odor, and no dissertation upon the more desirable qualities of skunks could have convinced me as this brief experience had done that they are really rather amusing little fellows."