Friday, September 07, 2012

The scream of a child?

I've been delinquent. I know. I've been busy. I started school a week ago, but began going into New Haven a few months ago as I've been working there too. I've tried to ride my bike as much as possible. It's just too expensive to park in New Haven. At a $1.50/hr, it can easily cost me $10 to $12 per day just for parking. Then tacking on a couple dollars for gasoline and wear'n'tear on my car and biking was an obvious option to save money. The trail is perfect for it... although after I had one incident in Newhallville, I won't go biking thru there alone anymore. That's for sure.

Anyway, school is great so far. But the main reason I'm writing today is because of what I happened last night.

As you may know, I live in Cheshire... just a few houses from the Hamden line. And it may very well be the DeDominicus property from where I thought I heard a child scream. It was the middle of the night. Maybe 3am or 4am. I awoke for a minute and when I did, I heard the scream. It shocked me. And living in Cheshire, I was particularly concerned.

But then I remembered a recent conversation. Before I started classes at Yale's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (FES), we went camping for a few weeks at two different Nutmeg forests. During my time there, I had a bunch of conversations about CTs fauna. One conversation was about fisher cats. I never knew them to be in CT when I was a child, but Jimmy Sima had mentioned to me that he'd heard plenty of stories about them in eastern CT... not western CT though.

My recent conversation about fishers mentioned one strange thing... they scream like a child.

After hearing the first scream last night, I recalled the that comment. And I listened to the repeated "scream." It was random. It was very deliberate. It probably lasted for a second, then paused for a second. There was no real urgency to the scream. So I quickly concluded that it wasn't anyone screaming.

It was probably a fisher cat... a large weasel that can grow up to four feet long.

I think that's pretty cool. I'm guessing they lived here a long time ago... before becoming extirpated, as so many species similarly went missing. But with black bear, beaver, bobcat and moose all returning to CT and Cheshire (well, not moose in Cheshire)... it seems likely that fisher would also return.

But here's the hitch for you besides an increase in the diversity of Cheshire's mammals, fishers are known to eat house cats. And, like bobcats, fishers can climb trees. So while coyotes have been around for a while, Tabby was still fairly safe back in the 90s. But with bobcats and fishers back in town, you should be aware of the increased risk to your beloved furry ones.

Tim White


Cedar Lane said...

Hi Tim, welcome home! Hopefully you can find time from your busy studies to occassionally comment on political and local matters again.

My cats never go outside for fear of traffic and wild animals. Coyotes are also a threat to cats, and their range has extended throughout the state, according to the Conn. DEP. My cats are perfectly happy to stay inside, and on average, indoor cats live twice as long as outdoor.

Anonymous said...

Works well in urban areas and eve suburban. Sorry, though I'm in the midwest, and we have coyotes and mink and hawks - all cat threats,we are a small farm and our outdoor cats are integral to rodent control. Yes, pay/neuter, but please realize that not all cats can be kept indoors -so please don't look down on outdoor kitties or their people.