I have interviewed many people but never a raccoon. I tend to stay away from non-human responses, but this particular raccoon had a story that needed to be told.
All raccoons need is a quiet place to give birth, nestle and teach their young all the ways they can ruin your decent weekend. Baby raccoons are called “kits” or “cubs.”. I call them trouble!
It was on one of those colder nights of the last few weeks that we noticed some rustling in the wall space adjacent to the bedroom. In a town known for its many trees and foliage you will find various formerly ‘woodland’ creatures perusing the neighborhood, hunting for food and shelter. This scratching noise put us on high alert. Could that music blaring the Beatles Rocky Racoon be a pack of these critters taking a midnight ride in a golf cart? Nah, just calm down we told ourselves.
In the morning we noticed paw prints going up the wall leading to the roof eave where the tiny sign that said ‘No critters allowed’ was posted. Who knew they couldn’t read? Most of the wire mesh was ripped away. Aha! Something crawled into the space between the flat roof and our ceiling. We didn’t know right away that it might have been a raccoon. We thought it could have been a rat. That’s like a choice between a root canal or an IRS audit.
It was a raccoon and I let myself fantasize about the interview I might have with this critter.
I imagined we sat down for the interview, or rather, I stood on a ladder under the eave, as the racoon warily peered out of her sheltered space and suspiciously eyed the microphone thrust at her. The first question I had was the most obvious. “So how did you get here?” I asked.
She said: “We originally came from New Jersey, Exit 13B. Hitched a ride on a produce truck headed south. We wanted to help with the tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike, but they didn’t take dead rats. It wasn’t a bad trip, and the stop at ‘South of the Border’ produced some scraps from a picnicking family in the parking lot. That helped.
With so many people moving here from out of State, it was difficult. Miami is the hardest place to live. I looked for a 1 Bedroom, dirt-floor, no bath with one exit and couldn’t even find a cardboard Amazon box in any alley. This city is too efficient at picking up stuff.
When I accidentally learned of your town of Miami Springs, I was shocked. Neither I nor any of my animal friends knew it existed. I mean no one has ever said anything about this little out-of-the-way place, ever! We all thought it was an open field north of the airport. I don’t know how the residents did it but even Google Earth didn’t see it.”
I said “Look. You can’t stay here. The scratching and whatever it is you do at night is keeping us awake.” I didn’t know that raccoon birthing season was upon us. She started sobbing and I almost felt sorry for her. She then said she was ‘with child’ and couldn’t we free up a little dirt ridden space for them to nestle?
The female raccoon said “I’ve got a problem here. Let me tell you about the mating season, that’s when male raccoons charm us and we produce a litter”. The new family seeks out a place to live, so they look for the dark cozy space without the male of the species because he likes to eat his young!” WHAT???
Yes, it’s true and so is the unusual way to draw Mamma out of her nesting area. The scent of a male raccoon’s urine strongly influences the female to get out of Dodge. When I thought about how they collect that urine specimen, I realized why Critter Control was so expensive. Let’s face it, most men can’t aim directly into a bowl much less a cup.