I don’t mean to sound specieist, but… I’d just as soon not live quite so close to my new neighbors. This unusually cold weather has driven the teenagers away from the park. For most of the year, the park across the street from my building is the after-hours hangout for teens. They play music, laugh, and “talk” to each other (something that, to adult ears, more closely resembles screaming). It’s too damn cold for them to hang out now, but the park did not remain deserted long. A pack of jackals moved in last night. Mind you, this is a park right in a city, next to a school and a community center.
Terri and I first discovered our new neighbors during a short walk late last night. It was pitch black and painfully cold, but it was not the chill air that made Terri shake or made my hair stand up: it was an incredibly eerie, mournful, yelping howl that errupted from the shrubbery just a few meters away from us. Luckily, Terri was on the leash, so she couldn’t take off after these invisible night monsters. Poor baby went rigid and started barking hysterically. I had to drag her away as the howling and yelping continued. There were definitely at least four jackals, and within a minute I could hear them coming from both sides, as if they were trying to flank us. I had to use considerable force to drag Terri away (amazing how strong a little 8 kilo dog can be). She was ready to rumble!
The park contains a skateboard area that acts as a giant acoustic bowl, amplifying the jackals’ calls and making it difficult to judge distance and direction. It was really one of the most eerie experiences I’ve had.
Terri continued barking wildly until we were within a few meters of our building again. She’s usually a quiet dog, but she is also fearless, and clearly the proximity of these wild animals had thrown her into a real tizzy. Once inside, she raced to the big chair in the living room, jumped up on the back to look out the window (into the pitch black, I might add), and continued growling and carrying on. Whew!