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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Side Order


File:Raccoon (Procyon lotor) 2.jpg

I don't know how they do it. It's a hard life. Lived, much of it, underground, in the storm drains, their masked snouts emerging through the grates in suspicious vigilance; or airborne, slinking for security up a tree.

File:Northern Raccoons in tree.jpg

They're out there on the collapsing side porch every night, poking their inquisitive noses against the fractured pane, not so much asking for a handout as letting it be made clear they won't turn one down. There's a difference, among the night animals. They're tougher than the rest.

File:Waschbaer auf dem Dach.jpg

Then we see 3 raccoons by the door.
They're wearing visors.
They're exactly Jessica's size.
They're very out front.

It's all I can do to get behind them.

File:Raccons in a tree.jpg

File:Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor) in  Northwest Indiana.jpg

File:Raccoon, female after washing up.jpg

"Then we see...": from Air, 1971

Raccoon (Procyon lotor), closeup: photo by Darkone, 2005
Two Northern Raccoons (Procyon lotor) taking refuge in a tree at night: photo by D. Gordon Robertson, 2006
Raccoon on roof, early morning: photo by Carsten Volkwein, 2007

Raccoons in a tree: photo by Gary J. Wood, 2006
Raccoon (Procyon lotor), kit: photo by Dmytro S., 2007
Raccoon (Procyon lotor), female, washing: photo by D. Gordon Robertson, 2006


Curtis Roberts said...

"There's a difference, among the night animals. They're tougher than the rest." I think that's exactly right. And I don't know how they do it either. Behind the Orangetop Diner in Tuxedo, the owners have been caring for their raccoons for years. It's a good idea and the arrangement seems to be working well for all concerned. Our raccoons used to obtain their side order from the pails on the side of our house, which we used to secure with increasing numbers of bungi cords strung in every direction around the circumference of the lids until we gave up that silly game, which was child's play to them. Now they dine with Eduardo the possum and the rest on the back terrace. They're very beautiful. So is the young Black Bear, who has been visiting lately.

TC said...


The bunji cable trick probably delighted them no end. Every creature loves an intellectual challenge which it is able to overcome. In this case it may have been the play that was the thing for them anyway, as it sounds as though they were going to get fed in any event, even if they simply lay around and waited for it to come to them... and that they knew it.

Brilliant about the Black Bear. If I know you, you are probably happily providing.

Curtis Roberts said...

The black bear situation is funny around here. The name Tuxedo comes from a Lenape word meaning, apparently, something like “of or having to do with bear”. It’s my recollection that the Marquis de Lafayette, who wrote about traveling through Tuxedo during the American Revolution, mentioned the large number of bear in the area. We’re quite close to Bear Mountain (and the spectacular Bear Mountain Bridge) and black bear sightings are common. A few years ago, a neighbor’s poorly trained dog treed a mother bear and two cubs on our property. The neighbor then phoned the local police force and reported that the bear were attacking his dog, which was clearly not the case. (They’re quite shy and just don’t do that sort of thing. The one incident in 150 years or so in New York State when a black bear was associated with a human fatality happened in Woodstock about 25 years ago and was a genuine freak occurrence that was never repeated.) In any event, the police came on our property (Caroline and Jane were there; I was away on a business trip) and shot the mother bear, orphaning and probably effectively killing the cubs, who were too young to survive on their own. Everything about the action was wrong and there were clearly alternative steps that could have been taken so that everyone’s life and welfare was preserved. We created a big stink in the village and the upshot was better bear education for everyone, including the police, and no further incidents of this sort. We leave the bear alone and they happily empty our bird feeders, which the village would prefer we and other animal lovers remove (because they attract bear and deer, as well as squirrels and birds), but no one does. During a period when we had no one cutting our lawn here, the bear did a remarkable job weeding the property. They’re quite beautiful and we all live and let live. The raccoon routine with the bungi cords was really something to behold, by the way. SO dexterous and so nonchalant.

Sandra.if said...

I wish I knew those animals!

Anonymous said...

this is why i love racoons, foxes, crows, et al--b/c they're so resourceful! i like to marvel at their scrappy, streetwise intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful shots of these fabulous animals :)

TC said...

"They’re quite beautiful and we all live and let live."

The last four words of that sentence comprised the motto which Angelica's father, a great friend to all animals, once had printed on a t-shirt.

It's good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Mother Nature has given a particular magical power to each of its creatures. These are no exception.

Cj said...

Those little bandit faces! Too cute! But they love the cat door way too much. kibble for them; but as you say, they're tough!

TC said...


Yes, many kinds of magic.


And their magic word is: yesssss...kibble for us!!