When I wrote the post and posted pictures of the Peregrine Falcons, I spoke of other creatures that visited our neighborhood backyards and said that I would try to get some pictures of them well I did not succeed but a neighbor and close friend did and so I will share his story and his pictures with you.
It was almost 4 o’clock in the morning when my friend heard scratching at his back door window and thought that someone was trying to break in. He rushed to the back door, turned on the back patio light and lifted the blinds hoping to get a good look at the burglar and to scare him off. To his surprise there was a raccoon trying to open the screen. My friend was shocked, but said the racoon was not afraid of him and even when he threw water on it the racoon refused to run off, but when he touched the handle of the door the raccoon hopped down from window. I was up that morning around that time and I had not heard a thing. Two of the raccoon’s most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask. Raccoons are noted for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for up to three years.
What my friend realised quickly was that this was not a visit from one racoon, but that of a family of raccoons and they were all over his Patio investigating everything on the patio. We were in the middle of a heat wave on the island of Montreal and my friend like so many in my neighborhood had his air conditioner installed in one of his back windows. Well these curious creatures decided to check out the air conditioner as well and here is the proof positive that raccoons enjoy air conditioning every bit as much as humans do. The raccoon has a body length of 40 to 70 cm (16 to 28 in) and a body weight of 3.5 to 9 kg (8 to 20 lb.). Its grayish coat mostly consists of dense under fur which insulates against cold weather.
Now I have a cat, but my friend and neighbor is a cat lover. He has built an erected shelters for stray cats on his patio and his front veranda and leave food and treats for the cats and I think that this is what attracted them to his patio. I say this because they never once visited his front veranda. When my friend looked down and into the homemade cat shelter he was surprised to find a racoon lying down in it as though it had been made just for him. this night had shown him 4 raccoons already but the night was not yet over.
We have vegetable gardens and fruit trees in our backyards. Apple trees, cherry trees and pear trees line the fences and it was here up in a pear tree that my friend found raccoons 5 and 6. They were stretched out on a branch of a pear tree apparently just taking everything in. My friend is no wildlife photographer and it was dark and his camera was not the best but I can not thank him enough for taking these pictures and allowing me to share them with you. The diet of the omnivorous raccoon, which is usually nocturnal, consists of about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates. While its diet in spring and early summer consists mostly of insects, worms, and other animals already available early in the year, it prefers fruits and nuts, such as acorns and walnuts, which emerge in late summer and autumn, and represent a rich calorie source for building up fat needed for winter.
Turning back towards his house my friend decided it was time to try to get back to bed and to sleep. as he walked back towards his back steps he looked up and across onto his neighbor’s back awning roof and discovered raccoons 7, 8 and 9 . Raccoons engage in gender-specific social behaviors and are not typically solitary. Related females often live in a so-called “fission-fusion society“, that is, they share a common area and occasionally meet at feeding or resting grounds. Unrelated males often form loose male social groups to maintain their position against foreign males during the mating season—or against other potential invaders. Since the latter group does not usually consist of more than 4 raccoons I figure that this had to be a group of females in a so-called “fisson-fusion society.” I have looked for those raccoons ever since hearing about them without success and this is the only pictorial proof that they visited. Due to its adaptability, the raccoon has been able to use urban areas as a habitat. Fruit and insects in gardens and leftovers in municipal waste are easily available food sources. A large number of additional sleeping areas exist in these areas, such as hollows in old garden trees, cottages, garages, abandoned houses, and attics.
Facts about raccoons taken from Wikipedia
Pictures from friend and neighbor
Picture editing by Docdavis15