Sunday, April 4, 2010

1+1=6?

Last spring, we had a little problem with raccoons. Or rather, a big problem with little raccoons. Baby raccoons.
For some reason, they were drawn to our backyard. Probably grub worms and soft dirt.
They were tiny enough to slip through the wrought iron fence. Momma was not.

Because we live on acreage, we have no window coverings. Our windows are about 6 inches off the ground and go all the way to the ceiling.
That little bit of information should tell you that the dogs can lay on the floor with their heads propped in the windowsills.

Can you see where this is going?
On nights when the moon was particularly bright, the dogs could see outdoors quite clearly.
Quiet, sleepy dogs would come alive with all manner of screeching and yelping in the blink of an eye. They cared nothing about the clock or sleeping humans.
Night after night I'd threaten to kill raccoons and dogs.

After I trapped and relocated both babies to suitable locations, we had no more problems. I thought mom had moved on. We saw no sign of her all summer, fall and winter. I saw squirrels coming and going from her former cubby hole in the tree.

Special note: I don't advocate relocating wildlife. It rarely, if ever, works out for the animal. They don't know where food or shelter is. Because I spent several years working as a rehabber with a wildlife rescue organization, I know the finer details of relocation---what to look for, what to provide in the interim as far as food, what time of day to release, etc.


Two nights ago, I saw a raccoon on the property again. It was nowhere near last years location (much further away), so I just figured it lived on someone else's property. As I was walking with my camera today, I decided to do something I do every year. We have a tree with a rather large hole in it. The hole is only about 5 ft. off the ground. I set my point-and-shoot camera on its macro setting, put my camera in the hole and pushed the button. In 9 years, there has never been anything but leaves and ants in the hole. Not this year! I couldn't believe my eyes when I reviewed the picture on the playback and saw a raccoon looking back at me. When I got home, I uploaded the picture and discovered additional tiny faces in the picture. All the signs (eyes closed, ears barely open, slightly furry), say they are about a week old.


Luckily for my sleep and for the baby raccoon's home range, I think I might be in the clear as far as nighttime visitors this spring.

Did I just say that outloud?


Update: Dog-gone-it!! I went to have another look this evening and she's moved! All four babies. Poor thing probably spent half the night relocating them. At least her momma-senses told her that her hiding spot was no longer safe.

10 comments:

  1. This is such a precious photo!!! I hope the babies grow healthy:)

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  2. This is the best picture ever, Cee Cee! I just love it. It came out amazingly clear for just pointing and shooting in a tree hole! I wish I could have seen your face when you reviewed that picture!

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  3. What a lucky (and great) shot! I guess it makes all the previous years' shots of leaves and ants worth it!

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  4. At first we only counted 3 babies, but then I blew up the picture. If you click on the picture, you should be able to see baby #4. It's a perfect shot of it's tiny face. It's almost as though mom is sitting on it. He/she is just to the left of mom's right foot. Tiny, shiny nose and two closed eyes is all you can see.

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  5. JINX!!!!

    Did you knock on the tree after you said that? lol!

    That is a totally awesome photo! Very clever of you to take it that way.

    Thanks for sharing that. Made me day!


    ~Lisa

    ps I hope your nights stay quiet in the coming weeks. :)

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  6. Good luck! She's going to be very hungry and they're going to start eating solid food soon.

    (not a fan of chicken killers)

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  7. What an absolutely incredible shot! That must have been a big surprise when you saw that. I do the same thing once in a while with a tree on our property... and have NEVER seen anything in it. Guess I'll keep trying. Maybe someday I'll get at least a little surprise.

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  8. That picture is just too cute. Thanks for sharing it.

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  9. My goodness gracious. What an amazing picture - wow!!! I can just imagine the ruckus with the dogs - I'm nodding my head remembering all too well those nights in Maryland when we had raccoon visitors.

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  10. That is a once in a lifetime pic though I think! Cool shot! I bet she moved them closer to your house since you are obviously so friendly!

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