Jul 20 2008

City raccoons

Published by at 7:48 am under Mammals

Birds are pre-empted by mammals today because…

Early this morning as I drank coffee on the front porch I heard an unusual scrabbling noise at the base of my neighbor’s blue spruce.  A raccoon was running up the tree!

Raccoons living near people is no surprise, but you rarely see them during the day.  I hated to see a coon at that tree because it’s loaded with bird nests so I made my best cat-hissing sound.  Stupid me.  The raccoon got scared and climbed even higher. 

I went inside to get my binoculars and returned quietly.  After a while four raccoons came out of the tree and ran across the street to Magee Field.  At the edge of the park they nosed around for fruit and considered crossing the street again.  I could follow them with my ears as carolina wrens, blue jays and robins announced their every move.  

I got a laugh when the tom cat who rules our neighborhood noticed the raccoons and charged across the street at them.  The coons’ hair stood up on the backs of their necks and they all reached for a tree to climb.  The cat stared them down and left.

There were certainly determined to cross the street.  At one point I was surprised to see three sets of eyes peering out from under my car.  I cat-hissed again.

Four!  All of them were adult sized so they must be this year’s grown-up kits and mother on the prowl for food.  Yow.  If these coons reproduce next winter the neighborhood will be overrun!

(photo by Chuck Tague of a raccoon family in Florida.  They’re everywhere!)




p.s.  Aha!  Now I know why they wanted to come over here.  It hasn’t rained for days and I have a bird bath in the backyard that sits on the ground.  After I finished this blog I noticed the bird bath was empty but damp.  Thirsty raccoons.

One response so far

One Response to “City raccoons”

  1. Jon 25 Jul 2008 at 2:15 pm

    That’s a funny story. I grew up in Brentwood Boro and my family had a couple close encounters with raccoons. My dad was a contracter and as such had rented a garage about a block from our house to store most of his tools and materials. One summer he discovered that a coon had made a den up in the ceiling of his garage. I forget if it had babies or not (this was more than 15 years ago), but he had to call animal control to get it removed. A few summers later my mom was awoken one night by the sound of something falling down the chimney leading to the fireplace in her bedroom. Fortunately the fireplace was nonfunctional and the chimney closed off. She had a person come and take a look down the chimney and they said there was a distinct tunnel through all the dirt and debris that had collected in it and that a raccoon and likely fallen down the chimney and later climbed out. We had screens installed on the tops of our chimneys after that.

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