Surrounded by open woods and fields with a creek, raccoons are common through spring into fall. But early summer is raccoon kits time.
Raccoons are so cute in pictures. They have these furry, triangular faces with a black masks. They have striped tails. They have big eyes that look at you.
Pictures are one thing. Living with raccoons is another.
Raccoons have hands. They are strong. They climb. They are vandals.
If a raccoon gets into a room with ten bags of feed, even feed it doesn’t like, it tears open every bag and dumps feed all over the floor. If a raccoon gets into a hen house, it kills every chicken it can catch. If a raccoon gets into a garden, it digs up every plant in the area it’s looking for grubs in. If a raccoon gets into corn or a fruit tree, it will take every piece or, at least, a bite out of every piece.
Raccoons do have one weak spot. They love marshmallows.
Every spring we get out the livetrap, bait it with marshmallows and start catching the raccoons. Livetraps are the best choice as traps can catch a wide variety of creatures such as gray foxes and pet cats.
An ardent animal lover can point out that most of these raccoons are mothers trying to feed their families. What the raccoons destroy are ways we are feeding our families.
So, we relocate the raccoons. They return in a few days to rescue their little ones. We get a few days respite from their ravages.
The livetraps are now set aside for a time. Raccoon kits time has begun.
Raccoon kits time means the kits are big enough to follow their mothers around. They are not big enough to survive on their own. They are big enough to tempt predators.
Besides, trapping the kits without their mothers or the mother without her kits leaves them crying for each other. They will stay around the trap trying to reunite even when approached.
In a couple of months, about the time apples become targets, the livetraps will again be set.
Some of the wild residents are found in “Exploring the Ozark Hills.”