We have a relationship with the raccoons around our house. Some may disagree with this relationship.
The deal is - we take care of them, they don't destroy our trash or kill the chickens.
When we first moved into this house, which is nestled in the midst of over 250 acres, we thought we could just ignore the coons and they would go away. Well, I guess with this much property, there will be raccoons and all sorts of other wild animals around, no matter what. So we ignored the coons, and they continually ate our trash out of our trash cans every night. The trash cans have to be outside, there's just no other place for them. We don't have a lot of storage with this old historic house. They didn't think of storage back in the 1800s.
I don't believe in killing animals for no reason, just because they are there. We moved here, are we supposed to kill all the animals around us just to make our stay here more comfortable to us? There will be animals that we don't like in the woods, there's lots of woods around here. I just couldn't do it. My husband, who's from the country, who loves hunting (for food), would have had no problem, but he knows how I feel about this issue.
Quick background - several years ago and far, far away, we had tame raccoons. We tamed a wild mother coon, and she brought her babies to us, and we could hold them and cuddle them, and they were the most adorable things. They lived outside, but visited us every eve. We befriended generations of coons during our stay in that home. We de-flead and de-ticked them all with the stuff you put on the back of their necks. They were friendly to the 2 outside cats we had there - and we learned alot about coons back then. Many people automatically say "coons carry rabies", but so do wild cats, foxes, any animal that's outside can get rabies. And we never had any problem with rabies. The worst problem with our coons was the fleas, which we took care of!
Back to the present day - we were trying to ignore the coon problem, trying to trap and relocate the coons, but others kept coming. After all, we moved into their area, they were here first. After a few weeks of annoying morning trash cleanup, we gave in and started providing 2 cups of dog food to the coons in the evenings. And immediately they left our trash alone. Our only coon problem is that they eat the outside cat food which annoys Jerry, the outside cat. Jerry then must sit on the front porch chairs and wait for us to bring him more food while he watches the coons 2 feet away from him eat his food. But they don't physically hurt Jerry or chase him. We have not befriended these coons, they keep their distance from us, and run when we are around.
So that has been the deal. Since then we've gotten chickens, and we've decided the coons now really must go, although they never have bothered the chickens or guineas. Except that one female guinea disappeared, but we can't blame that on the coons, we have seen many foxes and owls and hawks around. So we considering what to do with the coons, thinking of a major trapping and relocation project. It will be a daily thing -trapping and moving coons- and we will have to dedicate time to this project if we really want to remove the coons and keep them away. But we know we cannot trap and relocate a mama coon who has babies back in the woods, that wouldn't be fair to the babies. And we can tell by looking at the coons' tummies that some of them are mamas.
And so, the coons are trying to persuade us to let them stay. They are tugging at our heartstrings, pulling out all the tactics. It seems they know we have a soft spot in our hearts for baby coons...
This week a new mama coon brought her 3 new babies up to our back door for the first time. The mama coon is very small herself - we believe she is a first time mama.
Note - the pictures aren't really all that clear because I was shooting through 200-year old windows. These windows are on the back door, and are original to our house. The glass is sort-of foggy from age, and it actually has some historic etching in parts of it. But this is a story for another post. So I was shooting through this glass which made my pictures not nearly as sharp as they could have been and I apologize for the non-clarity of these pictures.
Back to the story...
"Come on up, little ones! This is where the food is!"
We scatter the food around on the back porch to keep the coons from fighting each other. We used to put it in a bowl, but that led to coon fights over the bowl.
2 little ones make their way onto the porch with wobbly legs. Look at that, is that food on the ground? Everyone takes a sniff first.
Whoops, here comes #3! "Wait for me!"
The babies had a hard time chewing the dog food. It kept falling out of their mouths as they chewed on it. They ate one piece at a time, and took a very long time to chew it with their baby teeth.
This baby had a hard time standing for a long time. He kept falling back and sitting on his butt while he ate.
They were all feet. They were learning how to manipulate their long fingers to hold the dog food.
Look at the one baby walking - both his left legs are in motion as he wobbles along.
The mama didn't keep her babies on the back porch long. She quickly hurried away across the back yard to the protection of the woods, expecting the babies to follow. But only 1 followed, 2 were left behind. The 2 were terrified to be away from their mama. They hid behind the AC unit which is to the left of the back porch. I couldn't get any good pics of them because they were hidden. They cried little baby coon noises. Then mama's head appear in the woods. She started making mama coon noises VERY LOUDLY. The 2 babies starting running across the backyard towards her, but became afraid and stopped in the middle of the yard, fell all over each other, then finally turned and ran back to the AC unit to hide. Mama again came out of the woods, called them very loudly, and then they ran as fast as their wobbly, uncoordinated legs would allow. This time they made it to the woods and disappeared. I wish I had gotten pics of this, but I was too fascinated to move and get the camera. I didn't want to miss anything!
I will post in the future about the coon relocation project.