Rural Living and WildLife

 About our raccoons

We live in a small village in the middle of nowhere. The raccoons and their behavior here are very different from those urban raccoons we encountered in the city and these differences have been well documented by animal behaviorists. Raccoons are a common sight in much of Washington and British Columbia are drawn to urban areas by food supplied by humans. As long as raccoons are kept out of human homes, not cornered, and not treated as pets, they are not dangerous. Our rural raccoons are very leery of the village animals (dogs and cats) and turn tail and run long before they can be cornered.

The adult raccoons weigh 15 to 40 pounds (7 to 20 kilos). As far as we can tell, there are less than a dozen in the entire village. They are about half the size of the raccoons that we saw frequently in the compost and garbage when we lived in Vancouver.

Except during the breeding season and for females with young, our raccoons are solitary. One of the females has a den in the river bank about 30 ft (9 metres) up river from our house. She will have her kits there. She still has one of last year’s kits with her. He/she is the same size as she is. We assume the other 2 have become coyote lunch. Right now is the beginning of mating season. She is in the process of getting her kit to “move along”. The raccoons also have “rest” sites through out the village, most often these are the culverts in the ditches which direct the run off towards the river. The one across the street is the one the cats “play” in and over the last 30 years we have learned to put wire over the entrances in the spring to discourage the raccoons from making it one of their “rest” dens.

Because we are a rural community minimizing conflict with the wildlife is extremely important. We can have bear, cougar, wolves, deer, bob cats, beavers, mountain sheep, elk and moose and raccoons in the village. We do not leave garbage, or leave dog or cat food outside. Dogs are not left out overnight unless in fenced runs, chicken runs must follow strict regulations, we keep brush back from the houses and we try to mitigate and conflict between the village and the wild life (both village residents and our visitors). Our pets are good at letting us know if there is wildlife in the vicinity and we are all aware and try to avoid any conflicts. One of these mitigations is to watch the cats and dogs (both ours and the neighbors) and discourage the raccoons from choosing “rest” dens in locations that could cause conflict.

When we saw Lucifer and Kozmo yodelling right by the culvert we did some investigating and saw tracks. Before the raccoons start using this, we want to block it off with screening. Today Mr P and our human brother were checking it to ensure that the raccoons were not using the culvert as a regular den. They are not, so we are going to screen off the culvert to avoid any conflicts between the neighborhood cats and the raccoons. (We do this almost every year). 



1 comment:

  1. We moved to Flory-Da this past summer. However for years we lived in a suburb south of Memphis, TN and my mom got really chummy with the raccoons. For fourteen years she fed them, usually dog kibble. The neighbors would drop off pizza crusts and leftovers. The raccoons were actually like puppy dogs. Very calm and friendly. They never raided the trash, even on trash days. And that's why the neighbors liked that mom fed them.

    Over the years Mom came to know certain families of the raccoons. Always the same showed up, and grew up, and brought their own babies to our yard. She got to know them, recognize them, and named them. One year a brother and sister were discovered to have issues. The girl was born blind and deaf, so Mom named her Helen. And her brother was Huck, who was blind in one eye. Mom was able to take Helen to a wildlife rescue, but Huck was healthy and survived about six-seven years. He had two wives and lots of babies. And when he grew to be an old man, Mom would give him kibble in a bowl of water on the porch, where he would sit next to her to enjoy while watching his children frolic in the grass. After Huck died, and mom knew we would be moving, she slowly withdrew the food, and the raccoons moved on.

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This is soooooo exciting! We can't waits to sees what yous writes!