The Raccoon That Came To Dinner

On the last two Tuesdays, I’ve had to deal with dead possums. The first was dead when I found it, the second was not. So when yesterday rolled around — another Tuesday — I wasn’t real eager to look outside.

I don’t know what happened to either possum. The first was lying on the sidewalk close to the back door. The second was curled up in my driveway when I came home from the grocery store. Neither were bleeding or had other signs of external damage. I hope someone isn’t putting out poison.

Yesterday morning four of the ferals were waiting at the back door: BB, Nose, Squirt and Mr. Stubbs. Mr. Stubbs is a relative newcomer. He’s solid black with only half a tail. I haven’t seen Bad Ass for almost a week.

That was a nice start to the day. The writing went well and then I had lunch with a friend, which since I’m pretty much a hermit is a special treat. Later in the afternoon Lee called unexpectedly from Grants Pass, Oregon — he’s off wandering about the northwest in his truck; Lee loves his truck — to tell me he’d just seen a tattoo shop sign saying ‘piercing and more’, and we spent some time speculating about what the ‘more’ might be.

Overall, a very good Tuesday, I thought.

But it got even better. I was in bed watching tv, and the lights in the rest of the house were off. I got up to go into the kitchen and the security light outside went on. I figured some critter or other had come for a late snack so went quietly to stand inside the security door on the patio. Since the lights outside were on and the lights inside weren’t, I could see outside clearly but nothing outside could see me.

I know something comes regularly for evening snacks. Whatever it is isn’t a quiet eater. I also know I’m feeding possums, birds, and raccoons. The ferals hang out with the possums, but not the raccoons, which is smart of them. Raccoons aren’t generally known for their warm fuzzy personalities.

My visitor was a raccoon. Big and bold and plump. He sauntered up to the food dishes — I use glass pie plates, three of them at this point, for the eating ease of all concerned — and started to chow down. I stood very still and watched. He was three feet away from me at the most. This is why I feed the animals just outside the back door. It’s like having a window onto my own personal wildlife refuge.

I’d never seen a raccoon eat before. I knew they could pick things up with their front paws (and unscrew the tops of food containers, which is why the top of the catfood container is now always screwed on tight), but — wow. This guy plopped down on his fanny and started patting the pavement and the food dish with his front paws, picking up food and popping it into his mouth, all the while looking around to see what else was going on. It was an incredibly graceful process. I was fascinated by those paws.

Paws, hell. Little raccoon hands. And then the security light went off and he went on chomping away in darkness and I went back to bed.

I’ve fed him, so I get to name him. Rocky? Bandit? Greedyguts?

Nope. Those little hands could play a miniature keyboard. I’m calling him Mozart.

Published in: on June 3, 2009 at 5:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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