Planet Earth

When Nature Bites Back

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorOct 13, 2011 4:14 PM

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That was the headline of a book review I wrote years ago about Boulder, Colorado being stalked by mountain lions. When I briefly lived there in the late 2000s, some of the natives (okay, they were my colleagues) sniggered at my histrionic fears. Now it looks like the wildlife in Boulder is getting even peskier. Check out this hilarious dispatch from Jonathan Thompson, a former editor of mine at High Country News. He shares some of his recent encounters, such as this one:

A couple of weeks after I arrived in Boulder, I was riding down a path when I turned a corner and the path appeared to be covered by a beige, many-headed, writhing monster, forcing me to lock up my brakes. The monster turned out to be a pack of prairie dogs that had taken up residence on either side of path. Later, when I mentioned the incident to acquaintance, she asked: "Are you for the prairie dogs? Or against them?" Wildlife politics in Boulder are often much more dangerous than the wildlife itself. Boulder prohibits the killing of the prevalent prairie dogs sans permit, yet some of them have been known to carry the plague (a serious downer for a Boulder fitness regime). So, some folks want them relocated; others say no. It's a heated, sometimes just weird, (even weirder) debate. I don't think the fact that Boulder's prairie dogs will be the subject of a climate change study will ease the tension.

I'm telling you, even the big alpha rats in New York City, my natural habitat, know their place in the pecking order. I miss Boulder dearly, but the people there are in danger of loving their cutesy nature a little too much.

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