These are the wild raccoons that frequent our yard. This is the fourth generation of raccoons. They enjoy dipping in to our dog's food. It has been a real treat watching them grow up, and grow old.
They are sort of cute, as long as they don't get too close. We had a mom and her babies take up residence in our next door neighbor's tree (big hole in the trunk), fun to watch, but then they got spooked and went away.
The little masked bandits are some of the most cunning and smartest animals in the wild. They have personalities that differ as much as those of cats and dogs. When gotten young and given rabies shots among others, they make adorable pets who seem to do just fine with domestication. I fear they will end up on the endangered list one day if we don't do something about taking better care of our wildlife. We think they are out there and doing just fine, but if you are camping out sometime around deer, foxes and raccoons you'll see how starved they look sometimes, loaded with tics and fleas, and helpless to do anything at all to make anything better for themselves.
I would miss them so much, and hope that there are other people who see the beauty of our wildlife and who try to help them when they can. Clean fresh water is one thing that is becoming something of the past since so many of our natural water sources are polluted so terribly. If that water is polluted for us, it's also polluted for them.
I know that Lady Raccoon will get herself a nice fresh chicken dinner if the chickens are out at night without being protected. So will Mr. Fox, so the first order is to avoid keeping anything that might attract them in an adverse way when possible.
We used to put out all our table scraps, fed deer from our hands every bite of leftover cooked or uncooked oatmeal, dry cereal, biscuits, apples, carrots pears and nuts. When we lived in North Carolina, we had a little creek bed that ran off the big creek which would go dry in the summer months. We used that to scatter corn either on the cob or off, and anything leftover from dinner to feed whatever wildlife came to visit. They almost always came at night, but
once in a while, the deer would come in the daytime. They seemed to have their "rounds" they made and we watched for them just to keep a watch over them and how they were looking.
One mother deer had a little fawn, and when we first fed her, the fawn hung back and she didn't want us to touch him. After a while though, it was like she told him to come on and eat something with us. Feeding that little guy was one of the most precious things I ever got to see our son do. He was about 8 years old and mesmerized by the fact that the little deer was actually eating from his hands. A great memory for him and for us.
Thank you for sharing these photos with us. It brought back a whole flood of some of our best memories.
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