Raccons Can Even Terrify New Yorkers
NEW YORK, New York- Carol Aiello used to spot the intruders only at night, prowling her backyard or scurrying along her street in Queens. But last week she caught one of them staring at her from a neighbor’s gutter and she panicked. "It was nothing like what you see on TV or in children’s books," said Ms. Aiello. "That thing was big, it was ugly and it was scary." Raccoons are no longer a rarity in the city. They seem to be appearing in greater numbers and, like true New Yorkers, behaving much more boldly. New Yorkers are coming across them on stoops and rooftops, by bird feeders and garbage cans, on the edge of above-ground pools, even inside kitchen drawers. Councilman James Vacca said "Years ago, people thought this was cute. Well, it's not cute when a raccoon is scratching at your door at 2 in the morning." Last month, in Brooklyn, a raccoon suffocated to death after somehow finding its way inside a kitchen drawer. Two other raccoons tried to break into the same house, but couldn’t figure out how to get through a glass window. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan of Queens said that seven raccoons sauntered among the guests at a Fourth of July street party in Ridgewood, mystifying children, terrifying parents and nearly ruining the celebration. Sherry Ortega, is too scared to let her sons swim at night. "To the raccoons our pool is the local watering hole. I call, ‘Hey!’ but they look at you like, ‘Are you talkin' to me?’ You yell, you spray them with water, you turn the lights on, but they’re not afraid." Some are not afraid, though. Brooklyn resident and NRA regional chairman Sid Micious added, "I can assure you there are enough legal gun owners in the area to take care of this problem. But the city has to make it legal for us to bear arms against this threat."
Gators Invade Chicago
CHICAGO, Illinois- A 4 foot American Alligator in the Chicago River is the second to be sighted in the area this month. Police wouldn't confirm whether the alligator had been living beneath the city's streets, but witnesses said the gator climbed out of the sewer, giving legs to a long standing urban legend. Meanwhile, residents of Chicago, a city known more for its icy winds than its wetlands, have spotted at least two different alligators on the Chicago River this summer. Police captured an alligator on the city's North Side and days later boaters spotted another gator basking in the sun on the riverside. Although alligators aren't accustomed to living in northern metropolises, that doesn't mean a gator couldn't survive if it found the right conditions. "If they can find entry to a basement or camp our near an exhaust vent for a laundromat they can get through the winter. And they will be hungry. Guard your dogs and cats," said zoologist Billy Ellis.
Man Trains Crocodile
BOGOTA, Columbia- Gespacho Tommasso has trained a crocodile named Giganto to interact with humans in a friendly way. "Giganto loves people. He can be fed by hand... tourists love doing that. Makes for great pictures. And if you are a good swimmer, you can go in and wrestle Giganto. Bring the video camera. This is a vacation you are going to want to remember and show your friends."
Elk Ruin Kid's Swimmin' Hole
TINKEL CREEK, Wyoming- Howie Kline promised his kids that if they worked hard on the family ranch, which is miles from the nearest neighbor or town, he would build them a swimming pond. "They don't have friends to play with most days so I wanted to give them a place to swim and goof off," said the frustrated father. Kline built a spring fed pond for his kids to cool off after long days herding cattle but the first day after the spring had finally filled it a herd of elk settled in. "Did you know elk like to go number two in water? Well, we found out the hard way. Now, I'm told I have to drain the whole damn thing and shovel it out and start over," reports Kline.
Shark Says "Get Off My Beach"
SEASIDE, New Jersey- A 5-foot shark swam ashore at Seaside Park as swimmers were called out of the water, then stood around watching it in amazement. Eventually, the shark flopped back into the ocean and swam away. Swimmers returned to the water once it was deemed safe but not everyone was happy about it, especially Anthony "Tony" Tenor. "That shark came right up to my kids and I know it didn't make no noise, but it was like it was shoutin,' 'Hey youse' kids, get off my beach!' I do the same thing when the neighbor kids get in the yard so I recognized the attitude. That shark didn't like us being there. But it was hotter than hell back at the house so once the other kids got back in and didn't get eaten I let my kids go, too."