(There used to be a poll here asking people which wildlife they’d seen, but I took it down because it seemed to be causing system difficulties. I’m leaving the text intact because the questions generated interesting feedback).

I haven’t seen any bears and wolves (the latter of which I’d just as soon never see, truth be told. Wolves are too much like people).

I have seen one juvenile mountain lion — it had spots and a long tail, and was trotting across Calaveras Road one morning when I used to live up that way.

My favorite coyote encounter happened at Henry Coe State Park. I was hiking back to the park HQ in the rain and came upon a coyote out for a stroll. It did a big shake just like every wet dog does, sending water flying from its fur. I couldn’t have been more than 20 yards away.

My best skunk story didn’t happen to me; it happened to a guy I used to work with. He was walking on the Mercury News’ outdoor exercise path around dusk when he got too close to one without noticing. By the time the word “Skunk” made it to his brain, he’d already been sprayed. Turns out you don’t have to bathe in tomato juice, he says; there are other methods that work without buying gallons of V8 (here’s one that allegedly works).

I also used to work with a woman from Alaska who had no respect whatsoever for bald eagles — there are enough of them in some places up north that they’re considered a nuisance or pest.