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Hangin' With Raccoons

Updated on September 15, 2014
Sylvestermouse profile image

I love all animals, domestic & wild. I have studied many species and find each & every one fascinating. We support shelters & pet adoption

Photo by
Photo by | Source

Wildlife in the Backyard

When we first moved to our area, there was an abundance of wildlife in our backyards. We had deer, raccoons, rabbits, opossums, chipmunks. squirrels and lots of birds. Unfortunately, as the human population increased, trees were cut down, fences were erected and the wildlife decreased.

Sadly, in my own backyard, while we still have birds, we rarely see even a chipmunk or a squirrel. However, my parents still have a thriving wildlife haven. They live less than a mile from us, but Mom and Dad have worked hard to maintain a safe environment for the local wildlife.

I have learned a hard lesson. The next time I purchase a home, I will search for acreage where I have a lot more personal control over my own surrounding area. For now, I will enjoy my parents backyard.

A Commom Sight in My Parent's Backyard

A Commom Sight in My Parent's Backyard
A Commom Sight in My Parent's Backyard | Source
Raccoons Photo
Raccoons Photo | Source

Night Shot through the Window

Night Shot through the Window
Night Shot through the Window


The raccoon is probably best know for his "bandit" face markings and his bushy ringed tail. I am personally fascinated by their feet. Each of their front feet has five dexterous toes, allowing raccoons to grasp and manipulate food and other items.

Because they are not very good hunters, they are commonly known as scavengers. They will indeed eat just about anything and have been known to raid garbage cans or "clean" grills at campsites. I am also intrigued by the fact that they "wash" their food. My dad leaves water out for them and I always laugh when I see them dip their food, piece by piece, before they place it in their mouths.

Raccoons are scientifically considered highly intelligent. They have extremely long memories. Some studies have shown that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for as long as three years. It would seem they can tell time too. If my father does not come to see them by 6:00 pm every evening, they will come up to the windows and check in on him. They are not too keen on company, so they will often run away if they do not recognize a guest in the house.

While I would not recommend keeping raccoons as house pets, as long as a raccoon is not cornered or threatened, they are not dangerous. Dad's raccoons know him, I would even say they love him. The mother raccoons bring their babies out to introduce them to him every spring. As a result, my mother and father have named a few of them and they can recognize them by their markings. In a few cases, they recognize them by their behavior.

Raiding the Bird House Feeder - He Thought No One was Looking!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is only one of the bird house feeders in my parents backyard,He is not really hungry.  He just wants to see what the birds always get so excited about.I have been spotted!So, he just moseys away as if nothing was happening :)
This is only one of the bird house feeders in my parents backyard,
This is only one of the bird house feeders in my parents backyard, | Source
He is not really hungry.  He just wants to see what the birds always get so excited about.
He is not really hungry. He just wants to see what the birds always get so excited about. | Source
I have been spotted!
I have been spotted! | Source
So, he just moseys away as if nothing was happening :)
So, he just moseys away as if nothing was happening :) | Source

A Few Facts about Raccoons

  • Length: Up to 3 feet including the 12" tail.
  • Weight: 15 - 40 lbs.
  • Average Lifespan: Up to 5 years (have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity)
  • Active mostly as night, dusk or dawn
  • Dens are used for shelter and raising young
  • Eats just about anything, including insects
  • They are excellent swimmers and can stay in the water for hours
  • Excellent Climbers ~ They do tend to climb trees to rest out of harms way

I happened to be visiting my parents one afternoon when raccoon decided to raid the bird feeder. Remember, raccoons will eat anything, including insects.

The photos on the right are not the best pictures since they were taken through the glass window, but I couldn't help but take those snapshots and share them here.

Miss. Kitty is certainly intrigued by Mr. Raccoon

Raccoon & Kitty Photo
Raccoon & Kitty Photo | Source

Raccoons Eating

This video was not taken in my parent's backyard, but I thought you might enjoy watching it.

A Little Note of Warning

As you can tell, our family loves raccoons, but please remember, if you see a raccoon, DO NOT try to pet him or feed them from your hand. They do have claws and they are wild animals. They can carry diseases and often have ticks embedded in their fur.

Moderated by Sylvestermouse


© 2010 Cynthia Sylvestermouse

What Do You Think of My Parent's Raccoon Haven?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      They really are very interesting creature. We have to be careful at work because one will move into our dumpster from time to time. It's always a shock when one jumps out at you.

    • profile image

      crstnblue 4 years ago

      I'm positive to don't get heart melted keeping raccoons as house pets, but this was such a nice lens about them and your parents' little heaven... : )

      Thanks for sharing and bringing a large smile on my face!


    • larrybla lm profile image

      larrybla lm 4 years ago

      I had a guy paint my house and he found large clumps of raccoon dung on my roof top. Hen next night I saw the raccoon in the branches of my tree. About 4 feet long. Great Lens work

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Some friends of mine used to have a raccoon, it was so cute.

      They finally take it to the woods far away, it got into everything. :)

    • Zut Moon profile image

      Zut Moon 5 years ago

      Pesky little varmints ... LOL

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We have them in the cottage, too. I know a neighbor who fed a Mom raccoon and she came to introduce her babies to her.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      Would like to meet one in real :-)

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      Very cute! We still have lots of wildlife in our area and visiting our yard, but the number of raccoons and skunks has dropped way down, mostly from cars and rabies.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      My goodness, that looks like the raccoon from my former backyard! Even the same path to the back door.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Cute Raccoon Story! We had raccoons when we had our dear "Kitty." The raccoons would come in the cat door in the carport and steal Kitty's food. Sometimes they would fight and make a big mess. Every summer we would have to bring the cat's food in the house. Now Kitty is gone and so are the raccoons. Have a great summer!

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Another great critter lens! Very nice.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Love your parents' raccoons! Raccoons can be a pest (raiding garbage and leaving it all over the place!) but they are so cute. Unfortunately we had a lot of rabies in our area that wiped out a big chunk of the raccoon population so we don't see many any more. Funniest story though was my daughter coming home from school after they warned everyone to stay away from sick raccoons - she told me seriously that we had to avoid "rabbit raccoons"! We still laugh about that.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very nice...I really enjoyed reading about your parents raccoons. Clever little raccoon raiding the birdfeeder :)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Love it! Where my mother lived, the raccoons would allows knock over the garbage cans. Thumbs up!

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 6 years ago

      So cute! Love this lens! :)

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Boy, they are brave hangin with those raccoons. My only experience with them is when camping...they delight to come into camp after dark. Always looking for a meal.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      @BarbRad: Hey, hey, hey! I assure you, my parents would be more than happy to take your mischievous invaders if they could. Mom has fussed at her raccoons before for digging up her bulbs too. She has had to start using a sensor light bulb in her back light. Amazingly, even though the raccoons are very comfortable with my parents, they will still run when the light flips on. I have heard that they will not invade a garden that has music playing, but I am not quite sure how you would install radio in your garden :)

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I'm glad they're hanging out with your parents. Can I send mine? It appears they are raiding my garden already when there's nothing to eat yet. Or maybe it's birds. I'm finding half-eaten wild cucummbers (the round things with a spiny surface) in my garden every morning when I go out to water. The only place I know they are growing is about a block's walk away. I have a feeling they are evaluating the tomato/cucumber situation this year. Or maybe it's the low shallow "birdbath" about 18 inches off the ground they like. I haven't seen them yet this year, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. They are cute, but they don't like to share what I grow and they are very wasteful with it.

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