I captured this photo of an elusive wild mammal in our backyard about three weeks ago

Is it a Sasquatch?  An alien?  Elvis??!!

No, it’s a raccoon…and here is a more recent (and slightly clearer) photo:

Irene and I have been seeing the mama and her three (rapidly growing) babies quite regularly for months now.  But getting pictures has been a bit of a challenge.  Then suddenly I’ve been able to take quite a number of photos during the past 24 hours of the four of them.   All of the pictures are a little imperfect- I was shooting them through our windows, which means there are some reflections and focusing problems.  But I think we finally have a bit of documentary evidence of the critters that have moved in.

I know raccoons are wild animals, and have no desire to interact with them directly.  But I love watching them: they spend a surprising amount of time playing in the daylight hours for nocturnal creatures.  And the Mama bounces around and wrestles with her babies almost continuously.  I don’t know if this is normal behavior, or what.  But it is great fun to watch.  Especially the way they work by sense of touch.  Quite often, they’ll stand there running their fingers through the grass or dirt for a minute or so, not looking at what they are doing at all.  It puts me in mind of how I concentrate on handling something fine when I can’t directly see it: I intentionally close my eyes or look away. 

According to the websites I’ve read that talk about raccoon behavior, this family will probably be with us until about next January.  Apparently, Mama gives birth in one den, then relocates the family at about the eight week mark and, barring catastrophe, stays in the second den until the kits are about a year old. 

[tags]raccoon, kits, babies, wildlife, backyard[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Sasquatch!”

  1. True! We put a little bucket of water out for them…they seem to like playing with it. I’m sure they don’t need it, but it’s interesting to watch them drink, stick their paws in it, and knock it around.

    The play behaviour of the adult is neat as well. I can’t really tell the young ones apart, unfortunately. I believe, though, that there is one follows the Mom around more closely and seems more “adventurous”: going ahead of the others, showing up first after the Mama scopes out the scene. But it also seems that the Mama rough-houses with that one the most. She’s constantly wrestling what I believe to be that one around, flipping him over, knocking him down…you can see some of what I mean in photos like #13, 15, 16, and 17 as well as 24, 25, and 26 in the gallery. He (she?) doesn’t seem to mind, but I’m not sure what it means other than the Mama is a bully 🙂

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