Time this happened: July 17 about 10:30 PM.
As my own life seems to wonder why Iâ€™m not always fulfilled, happy, content, full of fabulous food (but honestly, I am constantly in awe of the miracles that cross my path), I occasionally get to witness something many would ignore but I feel the behavior is as powerful a force as anything on this planet.
The other night, we observed some absolutely awesome Mother devotion in a Raccoon. I donâ€™t want to just forget this 20 minute episode without writing my memory of it down.
Yes, as always happens, we trap and remove a pest raccoon, and three more show up. Thatâ€™s what happened the other night, but instead of frustration we settled into experiencing their visit both from the usual human â€œscare them offâ€ reaction to observation of Motherhood at its most beautifulâ€¦..
After things dry out here, and we water part of the lawn, Raccoons will always show up that night to pick grubs out of the lawn. Well Rodger had watered the lawn directly in front of the house at dusk. When I went out to attach the hose to the Deer Sprinkler, I was brought up short as I rounded the house corner at seeing one adult Momma Raccoon with two very young juveniles pulling at grubs by the closest Maple Tree (15-20 feet away). I simply stared for a few seconds, and the Momma called quietly to them and dug a little more, I moved a step closer she did a louder purr-like call that signaled to the two twins to climb the tree. They climbed okay, to about 4 feet high where they cutely stopped in the first tree fork and stared at me then her with bandit eyes of fear and uncertainty probably not knowing exactly what made me a threat. With my own curiosity going up, I stepped closer and she began to growl at me with looks going back and forth from babies to me.
With my mind recalling the weeks of being annoyed by the raccoon in the back, I reacted with posing and large growls which drove her back some more feet and the cubs a little higher in the tree. She alternated sounds of growling at me with purring and reassuring calls to them. They really just seemed confused until I began to sound menacing, then they understood what she was calling about and moved higher. Iâ€™d gone in to get the camera but didnâ€™t have the flash set so the pictures were black. Rodger finally came out and the Mother was behind the far Fir tree callingâ€¦..
Tucker managed to slip out the door and immediately picked up the scent so took off after the Mother, as we were trying to call him back. The Mom fiercely stood her ground, and with some luck, Tucker remained very aware of his physical limitations of old age so backed away from her fierce hissing and growling without an injury. We got him back, and decided in view of the still very juvenile age of the babies to leave them alone.
We realized this Mother wasnâ€™t going to go any further than the 20 feet from the kids without a confrontation. After the dog was placed inside, the Mother came up the lawn in front of us with all the determination she had to protect her young. Calling all the time in that soft purring/clucking sounds, she marched to the tree and climbed up to the kids WHO, by now, were markedly relieved to see her. They began to cuddle all around her and one actually tried to suckle for what would probably be security. She had paws on them, and quietly began to wait us out. The picture is terribly poor, but cute showing the two pair of eyes and one juvenile underneath the Mom now wishing we would disappear:
We retired to the living room window to see what would play out. Within a couple minutes the Mother returned to the ground and began to walk away calling to them to comeâ€¦.they got to the lowest fork in the tree and it appeared this was their first time trying a descent since they could not bring themselves to climb down that last four feet. They just moved back and forth crying to her. Mom finally walked back and up to the fork, returning back to the ground calling louderâ€¦I assume saying, â€œCOME HERE NOWâ€¦.You HERE ME?â€. . . . . .They didnâ€™t get it that time. She climbed a third time and descended calling constantly so much that one finally got the drift and got himself off the lower trunk very cautiously and slowlyâ€¦ Curiously, and cutely, this baby whoâ€™d now conquered the descent just couldnâ€™t seem to abandon the twin. Once free, he moved to Mom but came back and went right back up the trunk to his twin. Mother was unhappy and moved further away calling but they didnâ€™t move. She came back ONCE again, calling loudly and the one came down. This time she literally put her mouth around the scruff of his neck and dragged him off into the night â€¦â€¦pausing to call loudly to the second one who by now was very scared and alone.
She kept moving on slowly, and finally stoppedâ€¦..somehow she ordered the one pup to stay still and returned once again so that the last baby came down the tree and they all moved off across the street.
She gained our respect for now, but Iâ€™m still imagining if Iâ€™ll keep my distance in six months when these two kids become the pest of the bird feedersâ€¦â€¦.??
Well. That was OUR Saturday night fun. What did you do?
Mark & Rodger.