It was quite early - but as you can see from the photo the sun was up and this fat critter should not have been out and about.
While I took this photo of Mrs. Raccoon, (I'm pretty sure it was a missus) in the early days of June, she hasn't returned - at least not during the day. This was the last time we saw her. You can sort of see by the reddish cast to her fur that she was a most unusual colour - no that's not my camera... occasionally I'd see her at night and shine the light on her back - red as a fox. Even the rings on her tail are a lovely burgundy-brown, not black.
The dogs found another raccoon early one evening last week when we were on a stroll through the pasture. They're barking put it up a tree I'm sure, or perhaps it smelled the boys before they arrived on the scene and it beat it for safety, not knowing they are contained by Invisible Fence and it was on the other side of that barrier. That particular tree was a young silver maple and not all that sturdy looking so I figure it was very happy when I left our walk early with Spirit walking reluctantly beside me. Bliss followed after he realized we'd abandoned him.
But last night that raccoon returned, or one similar in age and appearance not the red one. It sang away to itself as it picked up sunflower seeds from under the tree where I hang the small silo feeder for the little birds to watch them as I work at my computer.
It ignored the dogs... but I couldn't stand Bliss banging at the deck doors and barking so I finally opened the window and saw it. (I'd done this two or three times up till then but not seen the critter - hiding under the deck I suppose.)
I keep a supply of old dog bones in the guest bedroom. I know, I know - that sounds bizarre but they're perfect for tossing at the raccoons. My aim didn't use to be very good, but this time bingo - hit him/it (I must tell you I haven't a lot of strength behind my throw - so it startles them rather than hurts them.)
Of course my intention was to have it run away, which often they do. Not this one - it was up the tree in a flash. I tried again, hit it again, but that just impelled it higher, not down the tree and away. Quietly cursing myself for not leaving it after one bone, I shut the window and went back to bed.
About half an hour later I heard more barking and pounding at the door.
I looked out with my trusty flashlight, and the raccoon was headed facing down, towards the ground. It stopped and peered at me when I shone the light in its eyes... (wonder what it thinks when this bright "eye" stares in its eyes?
I crooned to it. "That's right go...go on, go!" I gently urged. Using a pleasant voice rather than the angry, thoroughly annoyed one I felt like, I continued to talk to it. It started down again then stopped, stared and finally crept head first to reach the ground. It broke for safety, running faster than I thought a raccoon could.
Finally I could get some sleep.
Raccoons are rarely welcomed around these parts... for me because they mean I must bring the bird feeders in at night or they will be cast on the ground and broken. A nuisance. For the dogs it's another matter all together. It's revenge perhaps for past nose bites and other altercations? Or guarding me against these dreaded monsters. Who knows what is in dogs' minds?
Unfortunately for this story, the raccoon that got away is the only nice ending. Too many babies - little tiny ones, barely able to crawl I'm sure, are ending up as road kill in the past few days... good for the vultures and gulls, but it makes me sad when nature and humankind just don't get along. I don't understand why our species doesn't get it - or many of us don't: we are all tenants on this planet! We need to respect and accommodate each other as much as possible.