Appreciate your thoughtful post, Roark. It's particularly apt, as I was just planning to trap a mother raccoon and fish out this year's babies from my front porch soffits. I just haven't figured out a place I'm comfortable moving her to--she'd need another burrow, as the babies are just at eye-opening age about now, here in Iowa. Even though Des Moines is no nature preserve and our lots are ordinary sized, we have many of the same fauna and issues that you do--My DH saw a grey fox kit roaming a downtown street the other night (he works late late late), and there's a red-fox den about half a mile from here, on a small college campus. Then a ravine only two blocks away is home to badgers (a baby kept following a friend of mine, who wore black hightops with white trim; I think the baby thought the shoes were its Mom). A gardener about five blocks north of me caught a beaver dragging away his favorite apple tree (alas, already cut), down into the same ravine, to add to its new dam. I've looked out my kitchen window and seen a doe grazing in the yards, we have constant possums, yes, haunting the bbcue grills and living in the wood piles, a red-tailed hawk has settled on a light pole above a "pocket commercial" area with a natural-food store & a couple restaurants, and we hear owls every fall as the young roam further from the home nest that's four blocks west. That's Des Moines, with its preservation of trees and undergrowth in long wooded strips along its numerous creeks, rivers, and ravines. My sister is in Dublin, Ohio, a rapidly expanding bedroom community for Columbus. There, her little pond of feeder goldfish grown large was decimated by a visiting heron that works the neighborhood. She has mallards in this pond (which is all of three feet diameter) and skunks have moved in under her deck...or is it in the tall pampas grass out front? We're not sure, but we catch glimpses of them at night, when we walk our dogs (carefully leashed). She kept a happy trio of birdfeeders until a shrike found them and used them as stalking horses (is that the right idiom?) to catch and eat the goldfinches & cardinals. End of birdfeeding! My point? City and country are merging a little, as the animals have nowhere left to go, I think. For that matter, we humans who hate Monsanto-altered corn and "round-up ready" alfalfa, and foods grown with poisons and chosen for their "holding" and "shipping" rather than their taste...we humans are also bringing the country into the city, starting with... our chickens!