Rocky Raccoon
Sunday February 10th 2008, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

When I was growing up in a house in Maryland set back in the woods that ran alongside a ten-mile-long watershed preserve, one of the signs of spring was having a pregnant raccoon fairly often at the back door at dinnertime, nosing around the dining room window while we ate a few feet away, ready to saunter inside and swap recipes with Mom.

I remember the ugly rat-nosed possums that fell into the trashcan, and, unlike the raccoons, who had so kindly lifted the lids off for them, couldn’t always hoist themselves back out. Dad would tip the can over, give its metal bottom a good thwack with a broom (we had a genuine Fuller Brush Man model, with a metal handle), and go back inside. You couldn’t scare the thing out, he’d learned, it just faints on you and there it is; you’re certainly not about to stick your hand in and pull it out, either. But you want to teach the thing that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. So, a booming thwack to reverberate in its ears a moment, a retreat, a wait for it to come to, and a hope that you made it a sufficiently unpleasant experience that it leaves.

Maybe after it’s eaten its dinner in there. All in good time, my dear man, all in good time.

We occasionally, somewhat despite our parents’ common sense, opened that back door and tried to feed the mom-coon out of our hands. It was so cute; what we really wanted to do was pet it. But there was a particular one that liked the smells that were behind us better than the stuff we were offering, and tried to slip quickly past the two of us kids sitting on the stoop and zip right on in and help itself. You know how moms are. They’re used to being in charge. We jumped quickly together to block it, and it thought better of it, but only quite reluctantly. It turned back around towards us, ready to make another attempt. That got us an, “Okay, kids–time to close that door!” And that was the last time I remember us trying to do that.

While my computer is being a cat arching its back and hissing at my camera, one of my readers sent me a picture of the friendly animal she’s got in her back yard that comes peering in the window hoping for a meal. Tunie has named him Rupert. Just don’t open the door, ‘k?

Tunie’s friend Rupert Roo

12 Comments so far
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Huh. . .we just get bunnies and chipmunks and skunks. . .but a kangaroo! That’s something to see! (We hope to never come face to face with the skunks here.)

Comment by Pam 02.10.08 @ 7:15 pm

I shared your story with Avi and Liat, who enjoyed it as much as I did! Sadly, all we’ve got in our backyard are feral cats and the occasional (gorgeous) kingfisher.

Comment by AmyS 02.10.08 @ 11:17 pm

My husband used the song titled Rocky Racoon for his guitar final. I listened to that song for 3 weeks straight.

It is now firmly entrenched in my brain just in time for bed. 🙂

Comment by Tiny Tyrant 02.10.08 @ 11:35 pm

The only thing close to these stories is the family of moose that used to graze across the street from our apartment in Anchorage. It always astounded me they lived “in town.”

Comment by LizzieK8 02.11.08 @ 5:48 am

We get tha occasional Birdie in the window, But as for “wildlife” do 2 male tabby 5 month old kittens peering over your shoulder and on your lap count? My sister and family had a family of racoons who used to comeup on the porch for the scraps. The mama coons name was Georgie and she would eat outa their hands it was so cute!!:-)

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 02.11.08 @ 6:52 am

Whew! For a minute there I thought you were going to say that a kangaroo showed up at your door! ha ha…

Comment by Amanda 02.11.08 @ 7:03 am

We used to feed the racoons when they showed up at dinnertime until the county warned that some of the animals had rabies. Do you remember the racoon that got its head stuck in a large jar? It managed to break the body of the jar, but it could not break the glass ring around its throat that was left. We never figured out a way to help it. One family lived under our carport slab at the back. Chipmunks lived under it from the front, a small break between the asphalt and the concrete. The family of foxes lived under our low wood deck, at least for awhile. Dad

Comment by Lawrence Jeppson 02.11.08 @ 12:04 pm

My best sighting wasn’t in my backyard, it was a jaguar (the furry kind, not the shiny kind) about 50 yards from the road when I was driving in Marin County in 1991.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 02.11.08 @ 12:15 pm

I remember the great sense of triumph the first time I got one of those skittish chipmunks to accept a peanut out of my fingers. You couldn’t lure it too far from the edge of the carport; it needed to stay close to its run-and-hide spot.

(Edited: Okay, I was typing that while Diana was sending hers. A JAGUAR!? WOW!)

Comment by AlisonH 02.11.08 @ 12:18 pm

Our wildife here in suburban Orange County is an abundance of possums. For awhile, they were coming in the back door whenever I left it open for the cats. So now we have a cat door, so far no possums in the house.

Buy the possums are still around. One night while I was sitting and knitting in the living room, I watched them go back and forth across the patio. I couldn’t figure out what they were doing, but they seemed to have some sort of plastic caught on them. Finally, DH went out to check. They were, one by one, stealing the plastic sacks and bubble wrap that we had out there in anticipation of big sales at our garage sale the next day. They literally wrapped their tails around the plastic and trotted off – possums with bubble wrap butt bows! I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. Next day we investigated further and found that a Karmann Ghia that DH thinks he is restoring is now a Possum Hut, filled with comfy plastic and bubble wrap beds.

Comment by Linda W 02.11.08 @ 3:39 pm

We have squirrels, Northern flickers (bird), the occasional neighbourhood cat and bunnies! The bunnies in particular drive our girls and boy nuts…

Comment by Carol 02.11.08 @ 5:16 pm

I get raccoons in regularly through the bathroom window, which I leave cracked open for the cats. I’ve learned to put all cat food away for the night, which has cut down on there visits–but they still come by occasionally. One night, when I had an upstairs window open a mama and baby came by. Mama perched on the window ledge and sniffed around, while baby kept peeking around from behind her, checking things out. I try to discourage the wildlife from coming in, but they sure were fun to look at.

Comment by Sarah-Hope 02.12.08 @ 11:15 am

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