Old Raccoon

She’s an old raccoon with only one youngster. It’s makes me wonder if there were more than this one or if because of her age or perhaps inadequate food supply that she only bore one. Not so uncommon in the animal world, only having the amount that you can support. We have been in a drought, seems to get worse each year. The old raccoon also had her young later than the other, younger ones did. Her offspring is about 3 weeks younger than the others I see around, almost all of whom are on their own at this point. The old Mom has a less than fluffy tail with fur that has become dull without luster. Compare her to a younger Mom and you have no doubt she has lived a long life. Her offspring is especially fearful of humans, much more so than she, which makes me wonder if she would ever be near us if she was younger and more capable of securing food. She has several healed slices along the edges of both ears. I’m sure she was a fearless defender of habitat in her day. These days when approached by younger Mothers she doesn’t even put up a fight, she just moves on. Most teenagers also have no fight with her, she once again moves on except for one. There is one teenaged raccoon that has been on its own a little too early and is rather meek. I often wonder what happened to this one, where its mother is, why it is on its own so young. It is way too familiar with humans, guessing it is fed by campers in the area. Human interaction with wildlife usually ends badly for the wildlife. It’s hard to stop campers from trying to hand feed them even though we explain what the outcome will probably by. They still think it’s fun and can’t pass it up. I witnessed an interaction, between this young coon and the older Mother coon, that was quite amazing. The young coon was eating something, the old mom smelled it, walked over to the youngster then instead of approaching the youngster head on, she turned her back to it. She then starting backing up and backing up… until she had successfully pushed the young coon away from the food at which time she was basically sitting on top of it. She waited a few moments then starting eating. The youngster freely submitting to the old mom, other sub-adult raccoons would have snarled and put up much resistance had this happened to them or so I would assume based on other behavior I have witnessed. I am hoping that this youngster learned a lesson that it can carry into adulthood by this behavior, an elderly raccoon using practical tactics successfully to secure food.

Stacey Leah Scarce,

Founder and (soon to be) Past President