Then I fawned over the family of foxes that’s taken up residence in Millennium Park in the past week. I’ve taken joy in knowing how many Chicagoans have embraced these creatures and claimed them as our own. We often face news that irritates, enrages, saddens, frustrates, or sidelines us, so when an animal makes an appearance in a part of the city no one expects, and then a significant portion of Chicagoans rally around the sighting, well, that makes me more fond of this place.
These new turtle and fox sightings reminded me of Jeff Nichols’s August 2019 Reader story tracing Chicago’s history of unusual and unexpected animal appearances. The gator that briefly resided in Humboldt Park that summer had already left town by the time the Reader ran Nichols’s story, but four years later I still find people who talk about “Chance the Snapper” like he never left. Which makes me wonder: how often did locals reflect on the elephants who wandered through Chicago’s north side for several miles in 1889?
Anyway, Nichols cataloged quite the animal history, so start reading it if you haven’t yet. And I hope that’s another reminder that you can dig up plenty of fun stories in the Reader archives; it’s easier to find such a story than, say, the next wild animal that will capture the city’s heart.