Readers’ wildlife photos

I declare it National Raccoon Day, celebrating the masked procyonid that’s beloved by many of us. Here’s a selection of photos of Procyon lotor from readers; their stories are indented. This one’s from Darrell Ernst, who assures me that the uncle knows how to rehabilitate orphaned raccoons:

We shipped the kids off for the summer and their first stop is Maryland to visit one of their uncles. Upon arrival they learned that they would have to take care of the orphaned raccoon kits that their uncle found hiding in his garage. It may be too soon to tell but judging from the  pics they’ve been sending I don’t think they mind!

In the 3rd picture, raccoon sleeping in pocket, the raccoon looks just like  one of the possum characters from the Ice Age movies.

Reader Patrick May impugned this beast in his notes!:

We have four of these trash pandas living in a tree in our back yard.

I responded, saying “They are NOT trash pandas!!! You are, shall I say, blessed with these creatures. I hope you feed ’em!” Patrick replied, “They get the best leftovers!”


  1. Posted June 24, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    “Trash pandas!!!!” I like it. And squirrels are “tree rats.”

    • Posted June 24, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Would you like being called a “planet-trashing monkey”?

      • BJ
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        I dunno, I think that’s a pretty cool nickname. BJ, the Planet-Trashing Monkey. Sounds like some kind of mischievous supervillain.

      • Posted June 24, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        Seems rather appropriate for humankind, in general. I, however, do what I can to be less like the others. You might say that I’m a proud “litter-getter monkey.”

        My experience with raccoons: they pull the heads off chickens, leave scat on my deck to mark their territory, destroy bird feeders, suet feeders, and bird baths, take up residence in owl houses, and drown cats (yes, it happened here to my neighbor’s cat). I don’t find them cute or cuddly but prickly, evil, and smelly. If they pester me, they get relocated to a very nice forested area five miles away and on the other side of the Chattahoochee River.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          Perhaps they were simply trying to wash the poor cat and got carried away.

          • Posted June 25, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            That was their story and they’re stickin’ to it. I’m not buying it.

  2. Linda Calhoun
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Our summer home when I was a kid, where my parents moved permanently after I left, was right up against a mountain. There were many raccoons living there.

    Once after my father and grandfather went fishing, my grandfather cleaned their catch and left it on the picnic table outside the kitchen door while he went inside to get some foil to wrap the fish in. He was gone less than a minute. When he returned, the whole picnic table was completely cleaned off.

    My parents had an endless battle over how to cover the trash barrels to keep the coons out. Finally my father ended up building an enclosed bay. It was the only thing that ever worked.

    But, my favorite story of all was whenever a momma coon was tasked with teaching the kits to forage for food, she taught them to go to the sliding patio door outside my parents’ bedroom and bang on the door because their bowls were empty. Because, you see, by this time my parents had completely given up and just started feeding them.

    Once when they were doing this late at night and my father was in bed reading and didn’t want to go to the trouble of feeding them, he opened the door and tried shooing them away with the magazine he was reading. They grabbed the magazine out of his hands. It was found in the back yard the following spring.


  3. BJ
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Raccoons are absolutely adorable and ridiculously intelligent.

    No matter what we do at my house, they always maneuver around every attempted lock to get into our trash bins. Every time we think we’ve figured out a fail-safe plan to keep the bins locked, we wake up the next day to find them open and thoroughly searched.

  4. David Coxill
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    As i have said before i love Raccoons ,i understand they have been introduced into France and Germany .
    I am thinking of going to France and see if i bring some back with me ,what do you think ?.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 24, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink


      Bring them back to where?

      • David Coxill
        Posted June 24, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Shropshire UK ,only half joking ,i think they would play havoc with what wildlife we have left .

  5. nicky
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    They are of course lovely, but indeed can become a nuisance.
    Luckily they have not yet been imported in southern Africa, they have all the abilities and hallmarks of being able to become an invasive pest. And d*g knows we have already too many of them here, from Black Wattle and Jacarandas to Indian Minas and European Starlings (did I mention cats? No I didn’t).

  6. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Love the photos of raccoons (and squirrels and the occasional chipmunk). We don’t have those here (Australia) although the Brits did introduce rabbits and foxes (and the sugar industry introduced cane toads from the New World). Introduced animals have largely been disastrous.

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    For some months my 3rd yr @ W&M, and PCC[E] may remember this, I had a young raccoon, that I named Oscar, found on the back porch of the fraternity house one night. We got along pretty well. He mysteriously disappeared one day – I suspect animal control may have gotten wind of him.

    Fast forwarding, various nooks at Schwixon still have an aroma of raccoon, from a period before my tenure when the attic was inhabited by some of them. And given half a chance they’d be back. I found to some astonishment that they can climb steel construction scaffolding for no apparent reason – there wasn’t anything edible on it.

    As to the trash problem, anything from the plant kingdom that would appeal to a raccoon gets composted. Anything from the animal kingdom goes in the freezer to get distributed to friends dogs or occasionally down groundhog holes in the hopes that they might fight it out. As a last resort it goes deep in the woods to encourage them to stay there.

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