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There's a Bobcat in My Backyard
Living with and Enjoying Urban Wildlife
By Jonathan Hanson
167 pp. / 6.00 in x 9.00 in / 2004
Paper (978-0-8165-2186-9)
Related Interest
  - Nature and Environment

Bobcats in your backyard? Javelinas tromping through your landscaping? Or maybe a packrat has found its way into the vent of your clothes dryer and decided to call it home. . . .
Jonathan Hanson knows more than your average bear about wildlife, and he's comfortable sharing that knowledge—along with some of his more controversial opinions. The naturalist/writer has penned nearly a dozen books, but his latest is especially timely and topical.

—Tucson Weekly

A great little guide to city creatures . . . tempered with a quick wit and some great stories.

—Sweat Magazine

Valuable both for longtime Tucsonans who may find themselves suddenly dealing with a family of hungry javelinas, or newcomers who want a better understanding of desert creatures they may be encountering for the first time.

—Tucson Lifestyle

Human residents of the Sonoran Desert are sometimes not completely comfortable when confronted by the wild creatures with whom they share this fragile habitat. But have no fear—please! Not only do these critters mean you no harm, they can also be a source of immense delight.

In this entertaining guidebook, naturalist Jonathan Hanson introduces readers to the satisfaction of attracting and enjoying desert wildlife. Whether your home is deep within the city limits or on what is (currently) the edge of human settlement, you can turn your backyard into a miniature wildlife refuge by providing a simple combination of food, water, and habitat. An appropriately landscaped yard can become a home for a bevy of birds, beasts, and bugs, while even a condo patio can attract colorful hummingbirds and butterflies. Hanson advises you on what kind of birdseed to put out to attract the most interesting avian species, how to tell the difference between rabbits and jackrabbits, and when to worry about roving reptiles—which really isn't all that often. He'll even help you pick out a pair of binoculars to heighten your enjoyment.

Not all desert creatures offer people a positive experience, and Hanson tells how to cope with those that are sometimes considered pests—whether it's the Gila woodpecker announcing its presence on your roof at five in the morning, the rattlesnake slithering unconcerned across your porch, the coyote running amok with a taste for wandering housecats, or the aforementioned woodrat homesteading in a major appliance or car engine. From bears to bees to "creepy crawlies"—scorpions, spiders, and the like—he lets you know when you need to be cautious . . . and when you simply need to give a wild animal its space.

If you live in the desert, you're part of the desert. This book, generously laced with humor and brimming with helpful information, can turn you from a mere bystander into an active participant in an environment in which we all—people and wildlife—must coexist.

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