Marja-Leena Rathje
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urban wildlife


I had some excitement at the home front this afternoon. I was in the kitchen about to prepare some vegetables when I spotted some kind of bushy furry creature crawling along the garage roof. I couldn't believe my eyes - a raccoon! It sauntered up to and along the edge of the solarium glass, a rather treacherously steep and slippery path. A couple of crows came by to raucously scold it while I dashed for the camera. I took numerous photos of its adventure from indoors, but there was too much reflection for good pictures. Once it hit the end of the line, I was able to go out on the deck and capture a few better shots like this one. I was feeling sorry for it then as it was trying to find a way down or up, a bit nervous seeing me. When I went back inside it returned the way it came, going around to the far side of the garage from where it made a leap to the woodshed roof and from there down into the neighbour's garden.


We haven't seen too many raccoons around for some years so they must be coming back again. Did I ever tell you about the mother raccoon that spent the winter in our attic during our renovations and had a baby there? Our youngest was a baby then too, and the two would set each other off with their crying.

Marja-Leena | 16/04/2008 | 12 comments
themes: Home, Neat stuff


Oh, oh, fantastic photos, Marja-Leena! I love raccoons.

Easy to say that, I know, when I've never lived with one except on holiday one summer when I slept in the spare room of friends' holiday home in Croatia - a half-converted attic open to the roof-beams, where lived a family of raccoons. We spent the entire holiday trying and failing to remember the English word 'raccoon'. My friends knew the name in Croatian and Italian (the local languages in Istria) and in their own native languages of German and Swedish, but neither could remember it in English,and neither could I, no matter how hard I focused on the many North American novels I'd read where raccoons featured.

I love the story about your baby and the baby raccoon.

So cute! I know they can be pests, but I love raccoons. I saw a pair of them once out where I used to live, stopped staring in front of my headlights; when I let the car roll forward again they ran off.

What a charming creature - look at those hands. I can't believe that folks we knew used to go out raccoon hunting in the Tennessee countryside. They once asked us to go along and were astonished that we declined the fun.

Jean, thanks. You have surprised me with your story. I knew that the raccoon is native to North America, but didn't know that it's also found in Europe, learning from wikipedia that: 'Since the beginning of the twentieth century, they have also been widespread on the European mainland and in the Caucasus region, after having escaped from fur farms.' Our relatives and friends in Europe have never mentioned it, maybe it isn't found in the northern regions.

Leslee, I think they are cute too, when they don't behave like pests. Our only personal experiences of pest-like behaviour was the nesting in our attic (the smell and waste part) and when they tear holes in our lawn digging for grubs, (though even that doesn't bother me too much because we don't have a great lawn).

Anna, I'm glad you noticed the hands, aren't they so human looking?! Raccoon hunting?!!

What a beautiful creature. You have racoons and we have Possums in the roof!

Aw he or she is so cute. Glad you were able to snap a couple pictures of it.

Yup, they're charming, and can be quite obnoxious and even vicious when they care to be. You got some good photos of them!

Hi herhimnbryn! Your mention of possums got me wondering if we have any here in British Columbia. I was surprised to learn that we do in a few areas. I don't think I've ever seen one anywhere. One real nuisance we have is the skunk - do you have it in Australia?

Cathy, I'm glad I did get a couple of good photos.

mb, I know of some cats that have gotten into fights with raccoons and looked worse for it.

Great photos! I didn't realize they racoons were so adorable.

I've heard they can be rogues, but so lovable looking! I love the hands too.

Jean's story really surprised me, I didn't know they lived in Europe, there aren't any here!

I've never seen them anywhere else in Europe - their faces and behaviour were familiar to me only from American novels. It was in a very quiet, undeveloped part of Croatia. Rather fun living with them for a couple of weeks on holiday, but longer would have been another matter. They threw things down at me from the rafters!

Hi Elise! Yeah, they really are cute. I presume they are not found in your area of Alaska.

Lucy, and Jean, seems I've started a mini-survey here of where these creatures are! They are very adapted to urban living here in North America. They are very clever in opening garbage cans. At the previous place we lived in, on a hillside, we found our garbage cans had been rolled over to the more open yard next door, then rolled down the hill and across the road into the park! We had some very strong ties to hold the lids down, and thankfully they held that time for we would have had a mess everywhere! Another amazing thing they do is roll up newly laid turf to get at the grubs.