Joe Pisani (opinion): My house is a zoo, and I’m in the cage

A black bear gets a bird feeder in Connecticut.

A black bear gets a bird feeder in Connecticut.

Contributed to Hearst Connecticut Media by Mary Blair

Mountain lions and turkeys and bears, oh my! To misquote Dorothy, aka Judy Garland, in the “Wizard of Oz.”

What’s this world coming to? The other day, one of my neighbors went outside and saw a black bear watching her from a tree. At first she thought it was a federal agent in disguise, but then realized the bear was probably on the lam after breaking into four garbage pails and tearing down a dozen bird feeders, including five of mine.

This fugitive from the law has been rampaging through the neighborhood, causing all kinds of mischief. Unfortunately, he’s not alone. I keep spotting a three-legged coyote, which I’ve nicknamed Wile E. Coyote, running through my backyard. I sure as heck don’t want to find out how he lost that leg. Maybe the Road Runner had something to do with it.

And every morning, I wake up to the rattatat of a red-breasted woodpecker putting holes in my gutters, which leads me to believe this may be the woodpecker equivalent of flossing.

Should I mention the turkeys, pecking at my SUV? In the afternoon I watch them tear up the lawn to create dust bowls, where they lie down and kick up a dust bath. After they leave, two young rabbits take over and start to roll around in the dirt. (I’m not making any of this up.) If this is their way to get clean, I’d prefer they come inside and take a shower.

Let me also tell you about the 93 chipmunks — I counted them — digging tunnels around our house like the Viet Cong. They’re joined by groundhogs under the deck that leveled my vegetable garden last year. This year they’ve joined forces with four rabbits. How can there be so much animal mayhem in one neighborhood?

I forgot to mention the snakes that sent one woman screaming through the streets in terror. Our neighborhood naturalist said the snakes are coming out of the woods to eat the chipmunks ... but they don’t seem to be doing a very good job.

The other day, a bald eagle was perched in the treetops, looking for some road kill so he could have an afternoon snack. In his defense, he’s doing a better job keeping the streets clean than the highway department.

Things have gotten really bad. In the olden days, it was only the deer and squirrels, causing damage, digging up bulbs, and devouring hostas, impatiens and forsythias. No plant or vegetable was safe, even if you soaked them in repellent.

This must be the revenge of the animal kingdom for the way we’ve ruined the planet.

To compound the problem, nobody’s afraid of humans anymore. The chipmunks laugh at me like Chip ‘n’ Dale, and when I chase the turkeys, they respond by pooping on the driveway in defiance.

All across the state, there’s anarchy and rebellion by woodland insurgents. Could we be witnessing the collapse of the civil order and an assault on our suburban way of life?

To make matters worse, there’s no one to protect us from bears, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, moles, foxes, deer, coyotes, bob cats, mountain lions — although the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection insists there’s no mountain lions in Connecticut — and really wild wild turkeys.

I first realized the natural order was unraveling and that we had slipped into anarchy the day two deer were outside the living room window, munching on hostas as if they were at the Olive Garden salad bar. I pounded on the window while the dog barked and snarled like a junkyard Doberman who watched too many Quentin Tarantino movies.

But the deer just looked up at us, yawned and went back to grazing, as if to say, “%#@!*# you, Buddy. This is our turf now, so buzz off!” With an attitude like that they’ll be doing smash and grabs on Fifth Avenue pretty soon.

The worst assault occurred last week when I heard two loud crashes in the early morning and discovered that the bear terrorizing our neighborhood had finally hit our home and pulled down the bird feeders, posts and all.

I realize now there’s no hope for peaceful coexistence, to use a term popularized during the Cold War. This is a case of survival of the fittest, to use a term popularized by Charles Darwin ... or maybe it was Vince McMahon.

Let me tell you a secret. In this struggle, humans are losing.

Former Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time Editor Joe Pisani can be reached at