Since the majority of my running takes place in the weee hours of the morning I am sure I have had many more encounters with animals than if I was to run in the evening or sometime during the light hours.
A few of my stories.... and I will keep my favorite to last.
One morning I was running along a dark road, the road I run every morning I run because it is the one leading away from the neighborhood. While I was running I heard this rattling coming from the opposite side of the road. Since it was dark, I couldn't see a thing. Well, I am not that far in the south, but early morning runs without being able to see anything - all thoughts were going through my mind. Turns out it wasn't a rattle snake (yes big imagination) but rather a sprinkler system in a new neighborhood on that side of the road.
Another morning I was running along that same road when off in the distance I saw something coming towards me in the middle of the road. As it got closer I saw that it was a red fox, and it saw that I was an intruder in it's early morning stroll down the vacant road. Even though these are very small I have heard they can be mean. I guess he thought I was big and mean, so we both stopped dead in our tracks and slowly walked around each other. On the way back through that stretch on my return run I was very observant.
I was up in Indiana for Thanksgiving, and as everyone else was sleeping I went for a 5 mile run. This was an area I didn't know anything about, and should have driven it before I ran it - especially in the dark. The run went good, even with the multiple dogs (untethered) scaring me. The highlight of this run was having 4 deer see me and bound across the road right in front of me.
My favorite story includes a dog. As with any runners dogs can make you very nervous, especially when they come running up to you at 5:00 in the morning when nobody else is around, and you don't know if they are mean or friendly. I have had my share of dogs chasing me, even nipping at me, but this morning was different. This dog came running up to me, and as he got closer I could tell he was friendly and just happy to see me. That being the case I still watched him very closely, but wasn't concerned. This dog followed me, running with me (all over from side to side of the road - almost causing accidents - making drivers made at me not controlling my dog) He continued to run with me as I ran out onto a main road, and at one point was leading me a little bit when I turned into a different neighborhood. He stopped turned around and continued to follow me. He followed me for almost 4 miles before taking off into a third neighborhood. It was the most interesting run I had run in a long time, and the run went by really quick.
OK, how about you? Do you have any funny stories about running and animals? I would love to read them. Please post them in a comment, or if you have a blog, maybe you can post your funny story there and let us know in a comment that you did.
I am sure you all have much better stories than I have, especially if you have been running longer than I have.
I have also posted this over in the running forums at Running Ahead. Check out how that thread is coming along here.
**edit** I thought of one other - There was one morning (early as usual) that I was running through a neighborhood. I came up on an area I always do, but this time out of nowhere a bird of some sort like a small pheasant burst out and flew right past the back of my legs. I could feel the wind go by he was so close. I about fell down I jumped so high. I would have loved to have a heart rate monitor on right then.... I bet I would have spiked it :)