Sunday, September 6, 2009

Masked Marauder

It was nearly midnight.  I had finished feeding the kittens and the squirrels.  I had washed up their dishes, leaving the squirrels, in their wire cage on the front porch, struggling to figure out how to get back into their nest basket.  I dried my hands, put the kittens back in their box and closed its door, then went out to help whichever squirrels still hadn't managed to find their way back into the nest. 

My eye caught a movement in the shrubs, and when I turned to look, two dark eyes disappeared into the shadows.

Now I was mad.  "Come out of there!"  I said, trying to shout, but not all that loudly, as it was midnight.

So out waddled a very large, fat raccoon.

S/he didn't want to go far, not while six warm, furry meals were beckoning.  S/he ambled slowly over to the tree and waited there.

Raccoons are more dangerous than cats or foxes, because of their manual dexterity.  They can open nearly anything when they have a strong enough motive.  Fortunately, this one hadn't yet gotten beyond the looking stage.

The squirrels were frozen in place from terror.  I picked up each one, examined it thoroughly for scratches (none found!), bundled them all up, and took them inside for the night. 

NOW WHAT?  That raccoon will be back. 

I suppose I'll have to move the cage into the back yard and be sure to keep it well covered with a sheet and a tarp.

DECISION:  I am NOT wintering these guys over!  If they cannot be released before the trees lose their leaves, then somebody else will have to take them.

UPDATE:  Miracle!  Their mommy returned from her vacation, and came, and picked up not only the two kittens, but also all 8 of the squirrels!  It was my (mis)understanding that she could not take the squirrels back, but she did.  My wild animal nursery is now blissfully empty, and I intend to keep it so for a while.


Anonymous said...

You have such an exciting time with the wild animal nursery, it is a joy to read about it. And, a surprise. Probably due to too much of my life spent in urban surroundings, I didn't know that raccoons are carnivores (or omnivores)! I thought they were vegetarians - shows how much I know!

elizabeth said...

Yeah! Glad to hear of the good outcome!

Racoons are terrible that way!