Top of the Food Chain? pt 2 – Raccoons

   

Welcome to Tuesday Terrific, where we celebrate getting over the Monday hump and picking up speed for the rest of the week.

We humans walk around this planet with a bit of a swagger, don’t you think?  After all, we’re the big-shot, top-of-the-food-chain, opposible-thumbed bi-pedals with more brain capacity than we actually use.

But there are times when we’re reminded that it’s not always easy at the top.  Some other critter is poised to topple us from that perch.   Stink bugs, crickets, rodents, racoons, bats, squirrels…they all want a piece of what we’ve got.  If they can’t get opposible thumbs, they’ll have the next best thing: food and shelter from the work of our hands.

I'm cute, clever, and poised for world domination. (Photo by Paul Stein JC, via Creative Commons).

Today’s post features the next installment of pesky critters: raccoons.  It’s a follow-up to an earlier post about the evil squirrel race.  Perhaps I should thank the big ol’ coon that tipped over our recycling bin last night to get at the peanut butter jar, and pooped in one of the flower pots.  I was having trouble coming up with an idea for today’s post, until he showed up.

Nah.

Even if you live on an alien planet and never heard of raccoons, you’d find out plenty fast if you had a Facebook account.  (Yeah, I know, Zuckerberg hasn’t gotten Facebook’s tentacles out that far into the ether – yet).  Here’s a little interchange among neighbors on our street Sunday night.  You’ll notice we’re not actually outside talking; it’s via Facebook, which is where most interactions take place these days.  Some see that as a sad testament to modern civilization, but hey, it was raining cats and dogs (and coons, apparently, LOL), so I’m over it.

As you can see, the neighborhood raccoons are a force to be reckoned with.  Heck, I have trouble with bungee cords – always snapping them back on myself, ouch – but they are obviously no problem for these critters.

The raccoons in our area have grown in number and frequency of visits over the years, and I feel a disturbance in the Force.  Because it’s not just garbage cans and recycling bins that raccoons are after, no no.  They want the good stuff.  Once summer is here, what are they going to do to our raspberry shrubs, tomatoes, peppers, etc?  And what attics are they going to break into to give birth to their babies?

image via humanesociety.org

Speaking of raccoons in the attic, here’s a funny AllState “Mayhem” commercial you’ll enjoy:

These critters have been enormously successful at adapting to the loss of their original wooded habitat.  Now they’re getting back at us.

How did this happen?  What evil genius is at work here?

Raccoons have certain traits that uniquely qualify them to wreak havoc with our habitat.  Allow me to elaborate, with evidence from actual Facebook friends who have encountered a raccoon and lived to tell the tale.

Top Five raccoon traits designed to out-maneuver humans:

1. They are persistent.  But Julie Glover knows how to deal with the tenacious ones that keep coming to her backyard:

It doesn’t keep them from coming back, though, does it, Julie?  Even now, they are planning their next nightly raid, bwahaha.

2. They aren’t picky about what they eat, or where they raise their family.  Diane Capri had some unwelcome houseguests once:

Diane, I’d call them – well, this is a family-oriented blog, LOL.  Strictly PG.  I believe the technical term, though, is “kits.”

3. They are clever, have a great sense of smell, and nimble little paws.  And yes, they are really cute.  Stacy Green has a funny story about that:

LOL, Stacy!  You got guilted!  Oldest trick in the book. 🙂

4. They aren’t scared of us.  Oh, sure, they’ll go away when we come outside, but they don’t hurry.  They just sort of saunter, with that I’ll-be-back-later attitude.  Some folks have even kept them as pets, including Ellie Soderstrom:

I don’t know, Ellie, that eating-doughnuts-from-the-fridge story sounds like my teenagers, LOL.  We’d love to hear more sometime about having raccoons as pets!  Sort of an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude.

5. They all wear that bandit-mask, so you can’t i.d. the exact culprit in a line-up.

Which one is NOT guilty?

So, is that it?  Will raccoons come to rule the world?  There’s advice all over the internet about repelling/thwarting raccoons, from more tightly-fitting trash can lids to water sprinklers to wolf urine (eww).  I haven’t tried them all, but here’s a list of sites, if you’re interested:

Biology 101 – but don’t try the electrified fence!

How to Get Raccoons Out of Your Yard (ehow)

Raccoons in the Attic

Garden Desk

The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

What do you think of raccoons?  Adorable, pesky, dangerous?  All three?  Have you had any experiences of them that you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Kathy

 

 

9 people like this post.

39 thoughts on “Top of the Food Chain? pt 2 – Raccoons”

  1. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    Fun post, Kathy! We used to get nightly visits from raccoons years ago. They would walk right up to our sliding glass door where we kept the cat and watch us as they grabbed the food. Sometimes there would be a standoff with the cats, but the cats always stood off to the side and watched as the raccoons stole all their food. There were five of them that would come. I have pictures similar to the ones you shared of them in our courtyard. They would drop down from the tree onto our wall and leap down into the small yard to come for the food. They were smart, evil little critters. We also had possums. They got into the garage where I accidently stepped on one once. We also had to pry a baby one out from behind our dryer one time when it snuck in the cat door and crawled back there. Fun times! All the critters used to come and go swimming in our pool at night. We would hear the party and sometimes we would find one that wasn’t so fortunate. 🙁

  2. Diane CapriDiane Capri

    This is great, Kathy! All the critters out there are watching us as much as we’re watching them, hmmmmmm? 🙂

  3. Ellie AnnEllie Ann

    What a fun post! I loved all the different perspectives on raccoons.

  4. Rhonda HopkinsRhonda Hopkins

    Fun post! I have a HUGE raccoon that comes into my garage to eat the cat food. He’s certainly not afraid of me. I walked out one night and hadn’t seen him. He saw me and just kept right on coming. I backed up and went into the house again. I figured I didn’t need what I went out for after all. He and the other critters I’ve found in my garage inspired a blog post last year. Thanks for the memories!

  5. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    I’ve seen them a few times in our neighborhood. As long as our big garbage can is closed, they don’t come near our house. When I have seen them, they scurry into the sewer. Ew.

  6. Lynette M BurrowsLynette M Burrows

    What fun! I’ve had encounters with racoons getting into our coolers while camping, but none I’ve caught at the house. Now, if you want to talk possums . . . .

  7. Lynn KelleyLynn Kelley

    Great post, Kathy. I wonder how I got so lucky that we never had to deal with the little bandits. That was a good video. I never saw that ad before.

  8. Loree HuebnerLoree Huebner

    Love the raccoon mayhem! We have raccoons in the neighborhood. They try to get into the garbage cans on garbage day. Some of the bandits are big! Well fed I guess. My garbage can lid is chewed up.

  9. Julie GloverJulie Glover

    I think you big-hearted people who feed raccoons or take them in as pets got suckered. They are pests. Cute pests, but pests nonetheless. They don’t need our help. They manage just fine on their own. Great post, Kathy!

    By the way, I sound like a hick Texan there, don’t I? “Well, down ‘ere, we just grab a gun ‘n shoot stuff. If we get ’em, we can have coon barbecue with our Lone Star.” LOL.

  10. Ginger CalemGinger Calem

    Loved the post. We spend our summers in TN and have to be very careful of the outside trash because the racoons are apparently smarter than we are. We finally just locked the can in the shop. That night, the racoon came right up to the glass door, looked in and stared at us as if saying, “Hello … past my dinner time? RUDE!”

  11. PatriciaPatricia

    Great photos and first hand accounts of coon encounters! We have raccoons where I live (Northern California, but then again they’re everywhere right?) but I seldom have any contact with them. At my house it’s the danged deer that I want to shoot. They eat everything in sight. They’re so fearless now they come right up on my covered porch and eat my potted plants.

    The animals are secretly joining forces to take over. I’m sure of it!

    Fun post.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  12. Debra EveDebra Eve

    I got two Maine Coon cats, does that count? (And yes, one of the legends surrounding their name is that they bred with raccoons, lol!) Fun article, Kathy.

  13. Kassandra LambKassandra Lamb

    Cute post, Kathy. I used to have a small horse farm. Never had problems with racoons but the barn cats’ food dish kept disappearing. Finally caught the fox that lived in the field next door carrying it off in her mouth. So I bought a heavy ceramic dish. Darn if that thing didn’t disappear too. Had to wire a plastic dish to a wall stud. Next morning, the wire was all twisted up and the dish was upside down. Score: fox, three; human, one.

  14. ReettaReetta

    This post made my day, Kathy 😀 I loved everyone’s comments and the pictures are awesome. Since I live in Finland where we don’t have any raccoons, I just see them as cute, neat things. Neat because we call them ‘wash bears’ in Finnish and in all children’s storybooks they are showed washing their faces. I can imagine that they are annoying pests in the US. Kind of the way city foxes and rabbits here. And pidgeons and seagulls. Gosh. Crazy birds.

  15. Natalie HartfordNatalie Hartford

    LUV this post. What a riot and love how you incorporated all those FB stories. LOL!
    Hubby and I have gone toe to toe with raccoons a few times. Hubby even tried rigging up some sort of rock, bungee chord system to seal the garbage and the little buggers STILL found a way to get in. One day we came home after work and the little bugger just poked his head up from INSIDE the garbage with a little *wave* hello and continued to chow down. Even hubby’s screams and threats didn’t ditter or bother the masked bandet. He just continued chowing down. The game was ON then. It was almost FUN watching hubby and the raccoons try to outsmart each other for weeks on end…LOL!!

  16. Nancy LauzonNancy Lauzon

    I confess I like raccoons. They’re just too cute to hate. But in all honesty, they haven’t infiltrated my yard or wrecked havoc with my garden.

    Back in the day we would go camping with our kids and 2 other families and their kids. One of the families weren’t experienced campers, and they forgot to lock their cooler in their car – since anyone who knows racoons knows that they can open ANY lock on ANY cooler.

    Next morning, it was evident that the entire campground population of raccoons had held a party on our campsite. Peanut butter and spaghetti sauce smeared on everything … an empty carton of diet coke cans … which they had opened with their long nimble fingers … a real orgy. Lesson learned!

  17. Pauline Baird JonesPauline Baird Jones

    Yeah, my family has fought racoons, but our nemesis was squirrels–in the hood above my stove. I Probably should blog about that day. LOL!

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