It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that there are wild animals here and they are everywhere. My property backs onto 15 km of wild forest. I don't own it, but the government doesn't charge me for looking at it.
Yesterday, I was sitting on my back deck and a saw part of a little green body between the boards and I thought to myself, “I'm about to see the biggest grasshopper I've ever seen.” I was pretty into it and waited excitedly for the little friend to show himself. To my delight, he was not a grasshopper but a pacific tree frog. I didn't even know we had tree frogs in Canada.
We had rabbits in Edmonton, great big jack rabbits that were honestly big enough that the whole concept of 'rabbit stew' made sense. Here we have little brown bunnies that look like something off a Disney cartoon. They're small and fat with... wait for it... floppy ears.
We went to a rocky beach to hang out and my sons caught a truck load of crabs. Not tiny crabs. big crabs. I didn't take them home and cook them because I had absolutely no idea how to do that or even if you're allowed to just walk to up to the beach and start treating it like a grocery store. But I like crabs and was very entertained by the event.
Whoever planted the flowering bushes around my house had hummingbirds in mind and more than one variety comes to drink out of the different trumpets, but when I try to identify them according to the internet, they aren't on the list of hummingbirds that are supposed to live on Vancouver island.
Owls live in the woods too. Of course you can't see them because it's night and they seem to be quite a distance from the house, but you can figure out woo they are by their hoot. I think we mostly get great horned owls.
There are lots of different birds of prey who circle around the skies during the day. The bald eagles are easy to spot and when they come by the shoreline to catch things, you can get a real sense of how big they are. Ya know, because they're really close.
Another surprising flying thing are the pale swallowtail butterflies. When I first saw one this spring, I ducked because it was super enormous and heading right for me. I didn't get a good look at it, and it looked like a tiny flying cathedral with long dark bars like the iron work of a stained glass window, except that there is no colour, only pale light gleaming through the bars. As the season progressed, you could see one swoop by nearly every time you went outside, and every time I'd stop and gaze in amazement that butterflies could grow that big.
The squirrels here have enormous fluffy tails. They are mostly black or grey. There are racoons that cross the street here. I mean I hit my breaks for one crossing the street. I also hit the breaks for a mama duck and her line of ducklings. One time I drove alongside a buck with beautiful antlers. I didn't do that until it seemed very certain that he had no intention to cross the road. The deer around here seem like they know a lot about crossing the road. There's lots of roadkill here, but I've only ever seen one deer. Mostly, they're dead racoons.
So, there are snakes here, and humongous slugs, and dragonflies, and damselflies, and big black beetles with shiny shells, and quail who run hilariously, and noisy cicadas, and more birds than you can shake a stick at who like to sing at four in the morning, so no one will ever know what they look like.
But then... I think I heard a cougar kill a deer in the forest outside my window recently. People around here talk about cougars like they're around and I roll my eyes and go, “Yes, please don't talk to my kids about them. They'll refuse to walk home from school.” But this was in the dead of night. The cougar hissed and the deer screamed and then the deer let out a cry that was totally guttural, and then there was silence. And I looked out into the black woods and saw nothing.