DALLAS -- Like most people who live near wildlife habitat, my wife and I are having a varmint problem in our yard. Range conditions are so dry that the only water available to raccoons, skunks and others is in town.
Biologists like Dale Rollins call these critters meso mammals, a term from the Greek word "mesos" meaning middle, center, or intermediate. In other words, meso mammals are not the top of the mammal food chain and they're not the bottom -- they're in between.
As applied to skunks and raccoons in Texas, it might be more accurate to call them a "mess-o-mammals." There's a bunch of them, perhaps more than at any time in Texas history. In particular, the rural roads of Texas are littered with dead skunks and raccoons. If that many are run over by cars and they just keep coming, how many must there be in their decreasing habitat?