Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kindly or Beastly

My raccoon friend hasn't been around lately, that I've seen. And most of the wandering cats have been scarce, now that Blackie has marked the back yard and comes several times a day to see if anything is in the bowl. Actually, Blackie is now only his nickname, and his real name is now Jim, after Huckleberry Finn's fugitive friend.

I'm surprised at myself, calling that 'coon My Friend. But when I first blogged about him, Janet at Across the Page told me about the book at left, which I promptly ordered and have received.

It tells about a lady who is generous toward a mendicant raccoon, and later is the happy recipient of an inadvertent good deed (is that an oxymoron?) performed by the beast.

I admit it made me think more kindly of the fellow I saw, though he is as big as a bear. Some people have cautioned that raccoons wandering about in daylight might carry rabies. But others have said it is a myth that raccoons are primarily night animals. They are perfectly healthy and happy foraging in the daytime.


Lately I've been waiting for Jim to show himself before I put anything in the bowl--mostly to avoid feeding the raccoon. Since I do live in suburbia, I suppose my neighbors would not appreciate it if I were to start encouraging woodland creatures to visit more than they already do. Raccoons are cute, but those opossums that might follow after are hideous.

10 comments:

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Raccoons are more active at night, beginning with twilight, but they are not always exclusively nocturnal.

I've known neighbors to band together and shoot any raccoon found wandering around the neighborhood during the day, on the (not entirely unfounded) theory that it may be rabid. They are trying to protect their children. So you may be doing your friend a favor by NOT encouraging him to come around in daytime.

If you'd like to feed him at night, do not leave the food right on your porch, but several yards away from the house.

Adult raccoons are strong and aggressive.

Harmony said...

There have been only 5 reported cases of rabies in California raccoons in the last 13 years. I'd say not a major threat. You have to watch out for the skunks and foxes (and bats, of course).

Jeannette said...

Having had years of intense interactions with raccoons in our Blank Road days...ah, the stories... I too would bid you be cautious. You might think of renaming your pal "Scout," as they are very into family, and even extended family gatherings. On the central coast they are quite present, especially in Pacific Grove, but I see them walking about Carmel as well. Be very careful of their scat.

wayside wanderer said...

Have you ever read Kildee House? I have thought of that book every time you have mentioned your friend. :)

GretchenJoanna said...

Jeannette, I'm confused...whom might I name Scout? Black cat is the one I've named (Jim) so far, and I don't have any intention of naming the other guy; after these comments I'm not even thinking of him as my friend, much less my pal!

Jim won't come closer than 15 feet to me, unless there is a double pane of glass between us, in which case he will let me be as close as six feet.

Gumbo Lily said...

In times past, I have seen raccoons in the trees during the day, sleeping. I think they like adventuring out best at night.

I liked your post.

Jody

Gigi said...

Hi Gretchen,
I kind of love raccoons. Kind of ;-). Not long ago, we had a little family of 3 babies who came into the laundry room through our doggy door and had a great time eating the cat food & dog biscuits they found there (by opening a cabinet door!). They were so cute it was impossible to get mad at them. However, they made such a big mess, we had to keep the doggy door closed for a few days, and afterwards they never returned. And possums? One rainy night, I heard our pupster barking at the back door, so I turned on the porch light, and there on the door mat sat a little possum couple. It was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. The 'husband' ;-) had his arm around the 'wife's' shoulder, and they looked into the house so wistfully as if to ask if they could please come in. It was hard to say no ;-( -- poor little critters. I had to comfort myself with the fact that there are lots of good hidey holes and shelters for them around our neighborhood.
And I will certainly forward your sweet message to my Little. Isn't she sweet -- my best friend.
Blessings and hugs to your sweet self,
G

Sara said...

Hello...just wanted to say thank you for visiting recently and for your comments. I appreciate your taking the time and hope you will visit again.

We have stray cats and possums here, but no raccoons. Or, I should say, in the 25 years I've lived here, I've only seen raccoons on our yard once. We have three regulars (cats) who stop by for food morning and evening. They've got names now, of course!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Gretchen Joanna, of course the raccoon is your friend!

You have to be a bit careful around ANY wild animal (such as a trained Orca!) but chances are yours is healthy. It's East of the Mississippi we have to worry more about rabies in raccoons.

And their scat isn't dangerous unless you ingest it; how likely is that? Wildlife rehabbers like me need to keep that in mind a lot and wear gloves to clean up after our orphaned baby raccoons and wash our hands a lot. Their dung contains parasites that, well, we have a saying: "Eat s--t and die!"

But you aren't going to. So if your friend comes around again, enjoy. Just do it from a bit of a distance, from an abundance of caution.

Cathy said...

Unless those raccoons go after your egg-laying hens! A delinquent one would show up on our farm from time to time and how sad...( on those past days we lived on the farm, can you tell I still "live" there from time to time?)
However, this looks like a book in which I would surely delight.