10Days #356 Raccoon
In the many years we have lived in the same house we have had a multitude of animals both our domestic ones and the wild ones who have adopted us. One of our favorite little creatures was a very small raccoon. The first time we saw her she was soaking wet, cold and emaciated. We could see that she was a lactating female, but was not fully grown. Two of my grandchildren also saw her and could see she needed help. It was in the afternoon and not a time she should have been out and about.
We did what any caring person would do, we got a bowl of dog food and put it on the deck for her. She was so famished, she showed no fear of us and immediately came to eat. Of course we kept a safe distance and closed the patio doors tightly while we went in the house to watch. The children and I talked about never approaching a wild animal especially one that was acting strange. And it was very strange to see a raccoon in the middle of the afternoon so they were instructed to not get close.
As the summer wore on, she came every day about 3 to eat. She was gaining weight and losing her lost, pitiful, waif appearance. We named her Baby because she was so tiny. After a few weeks, she arrived on the deck with four little ones in tow. They were adorable. However, one was quite large and very aggressive. We named him Sparky. He wouldn’t share and was especially mean to a tiny little runt.
We often would sit on the deck and watch. And oh yes, we did want to befriend them, but that was not an option with the wild critters. We would not touch them. One sunny afternoon when Sparky was being especially aggressive toward the runt and did not let him eat, Baby took the young raccoons off the deck and took them just over the edge of the hill out of sight. She brought the runt back to let him eat. She looked my granddaughter and me in the eye as if to say, “take care of my little one.” She went down off the deck and over the edge of the hill. We could see her keeping her other three out of sight while she would stretch up to make sure her little one was safe with us.
It soon became a routine that they would come eat, then she would leave the tiny one to eat under our protection while she warily watched from a distance.
We never touched her or the little ones, but a bond was formed. When I saw this little Christmas ornament, I had to have it as a reminder of that summer when we became the baby raccoon babysitters. That fall a virus attacked the raccoon population in our area and all raccoons became very rare. We suspect that little mama raccoon and her family fell ill with the virus because we never saw them again.
Cheers to wildlife,