Local wildlife thrilling, frightening to see


Photo Credit: Christopher Bruno

The growing wildlife population that has been diversifying Glen Rock’s ecosystem, has introduced new dangers to the town. Coyotes are among the many animals that have inhabited the town, and while these unique species are intriguing caution needs to be taken.

by Christine Nappi, Staff Writer

Imagine taking a stroll through your nice, safe, suburban neighborhood, passing by all kinds of typical wildlife: birds, bunnies, chipmunks and the occasional stray cat. All of a sudden, you see a deer hanging out on your neighbor’s front lawn, nonchalantly eating grass. A little startled, you don’t think much of it, but then things get weird. You see a turkey hobbling down your street. Although it’s amusing, you’re mostly confused as to how it got here, and that confusion quickly turns into fear, for you see a brutish looking bear appear.

Wild deer, turkeys and bears are just the beginning of a list of animals that have been spotted in Glen Rock. Other critters include coyotes, owls, foxes and hawks, making this town seem like The Jungle Book.

It’s interesting to see all these unique animals coming to my neighborhood. It’s like going to a zoo for free. But that’s the problem here, because this area is not a zoo and the residents, nor the creatures, are protected from each other by a cage. I’m not saying that animals should be held in captivity but they should be free and able to roam in their own natural habitat.

But when did the suburbs become their own natural habitat?

It’s not shocking to see a couple of deer wandering through neighborhoods or on the sides of highways, and if anyone tried to get close to them they usually run away. But not all deer are this anti-social. In 2016 a doe broke through a window at North Arlington Middle School. No one was hurt, but it still caused havoc according to a Ridgewood Patch article. After all, deer are considered wildlife, giving off the impression that their actions are unpredictable and could possibly put others in danger.

Bears are not as indigenous to this area as we assume deer are, and many get scared when encountering one. Is it shocking to see a bear meandering through your town, climbing telephone poles or eating out of your trashcan? Probably.

Just last year, students in the Ridgewood school district were kept in school after dismissal time because a big, fat bear had climbed up a tree near Ridge Elementary school. This past December, Glen Rock resident Vanessa Greeley spotted a bear in the town’s very own Diamond Brook Park, which evokes danger in the community.

Coyote and fox sightings have increased in the past few years in the towns of Rochelle Park, Fair Lawn, Paramus, Ridgewood, and Glen Rock. Coyotes and foxes are known to live in habitats such as deserts and forests, but they do have the ability to adapt to and inhabit a suburban area such as ours.

Just think: you and I can share the same habitat as coyotes and foxes. If you see either of the two outside, they will most likely scurry away. Both species rarely attack humans because they don’t often see us as prey, but our beloved house pets might be at danger. Just to be safe, keep your distance from these animals because who knows what they are capable of.

Similar to the coyote and fox in a way are the wild turkeys being spotted throughout the area. Humans will usually scare the bird off but turkeys have been known to be aggressive when eating.

On a less alarming note, the owl and hawk population has increased in this town. The Thielke Arboretum is now home to an owl’s nest, which has become a popular attraction among residents and photographers.

In this school alone it is not uncommon to see a red-tailed hawk flying around the courtyard or the various sports complexes.

Although these birds keep their distance and stay in the sky, I can still see one scooping up my puppy, mistaking it for a rodent.

There is a reason why all these extraordinary species arriving in our town are classified as wildlife.

They are wild and their actions are unpredictable.