Washington is a state of many lovely and intriguing wonders - from the tall evergreens that give Washington its nickname of the evergreen state to the stately and majestic mountains, including the one we see from all over Pierce County - Mt. Rainier.
Those wonders don't stop at inanimate objects either. There are plenty of delightful critters all around us. Geese - LOTS of geese - are a regular and enjoyable sight when driving through Lakewood, Steilacoom, and areas around JBLM (Joint Base Lewis McChord). My grandkids and I were thrilled to spot a deer munching the flowers at a home in DuPont. I was a bit less thrilled when five deer ran across the street I was driving on in the Lakewood area as it was twilight and I almost didn't see them! My grandkids chortled at spotting them though.
My senior mom loves all the new birds she's spotted with what we think is a Blue Jay being the most colorful. She always loved the Northern Kentucky Red Cardinal so it stands to reason this Blue Jay is a fave for her as well but so far we've only seen that one -one time!
According to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, some of the many critters in this state are:
- Mountain Goats
- Black Bears
- River Otters
And speaking of raccoons and cougars, there have been periodic sightings of these cute critters (cute from the vantage point of a zoo, anyway) in our neck of the Pierce County woods lately. On the same Washington Wildlife site, I found a page for each of the above listed animal and more - including those raccoons and cougars.
There is info about what attracts them, how to discourage them, what diseases they may carry, who to call, and what to do if any of these critters approach you:
"If a raccoon ever approaches too closely, make yourself appear larger: stand up if sitting, shout, and wave your arms. If necessary, throw stones or send the raccoon off with a dousing of water from a hose or bucket."
"Stop, pick up small children immediately, and don’t run. Running and rapid movements may trigger an attack...Face the cougar. Talk to it firmly while slowly backing away. Always leave the animal an escape route...Try to appear larger than the cougar...Do not take your eyes off the cougar or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide...If the cougar does not flee," CLICK HERE to read the entire warning along with all the other important information.
Needless to say, I have just now checked my woodstove to ensure the grate door is locked (apparently raccoons can come down chimneys!!!), and when I'm babysitting the grandkids, I'll be bringing them in before dusk, as well as taking a few other safety precautions.
Nature is fun, beautiful, majestic, and grand. But it is also something to respect, learn about, and be cautious about. That way, we can all enjoy the beauty we are surrounded by and the fun and interesting critters we spy in a safer, friendlier way - for them as well as for us.