The skunk in our neighbourhood

SkunkThe first time I smelled a skunk was when I was driving along the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), the highway linking Toronto with Buffalo, New York. I didn’t even know what it was. I just knew I had never smelled anything like this before, and it almost made me feel sick. “How awful!” I thought while I was turning up the air conditioning in the car hoping the smell would go away soon.

The same week, on my way home I passed a dead animal lying on the side of the highway. Its fur was black and white, and it seemed like it had been hit by a car. Before I could even think about what kind of animal this could have been, the same penetrating smell I had experienced a few days earlier came through the car’s ventilation system.

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Raccoons, the creatures taking over Toronto at night

RaccoonBefore I came to Canada I knew raccoons only from the zoo. I thought they were these cute, fluffy animals you almost want to cuddle. To be honest, I didn’t even know the English word for raccoon, although I already considered myself to be fluent in English at that time.

My first encounter with a raccoon was on a relatively warm fall night in October. I decided to go for a walk after dinner and was wandering around in my neighbourhood. All of a sudden I heard some rustling in a pile of leaves which had fallen down from a maple tree. Then I saw a striped tail.

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