North East Wildlife Animal Rehabilitation Coalition is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. We are a group of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, and these are the tales of the injured and orphaned animals we care for until they are able to be released back into the wild.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Raccoons Gone Wild!

There is a main feeding station at the back of my woods and various buckets spread throughout the woods along with some den boxes out in the trees. Being the worried mother that I was, I would often visit the main feeding station at night and see who was about. Some hid out longer than others over the winter, but come April everyone was safe and accounted for!

Then something wonderful started happening!! April 3 I found Belle holed up in one of the den boxes. But it was not totally quiet in there....I could hear her new babies chattering away as she fed them! I was a grammy!!

Four days later, the chattering of new babies in another den box. Hoover was a mom! And a week after that, another den box with new arrivals. Brownie was a new mom too. Visits from Whitey and Ringer proved that they also had babies stashed away somewhere. Of the 8 girls released, 5 were new moms. Nel, Lexi and Paleface behaved themselves this winter!

Tragedy struck Belle in the beginning of May. I found 2 of her babies dead in the den box, 1 had minor injuries but was ok. Belle was beside herself when I took the bodies out, then the last kit to check him over. She eagerly grabbed him by his scruff, yanked him out of my hands, and dragged him back into the den box when I returned him. He officially became Stumpy since the tip of his tail had been chewed off a little.

I believe the culprit to be an unidentifed male I had seen at the feeding station right around the same time. Belle also had a minor eye scratch at that time and Hoover moved her litter to places unknown. I think Belle was out foraging (the kits were about 6wks by now), the strange male found the den box, started killing the babies, then Belle returned and caught him in the act, chasing him off and getting a minor eye scratch at that time. Hoovers den box was close enough to Belle's to hear the commotion and decide it was safer to move.

Both did fine after that awful day and one night in June I watched Stumpy crawl down the tree behind Belle and both walked off into the woods, abandoning the den box for a new den somewhere out in the woods.

Ringer was a regular visitor around 3 in the afternoon every day. (When you see raccoon's out in the day time, don't always assume they are sick! Most are mom's trying to eat enough to feed a family!) Then one day she wasn't alone! I think she wanted to show off the kids to me. She was a proud mom!

Throughout the summer the girls continued to visit, eventually bringing all their kids with them. Everyone had 3 kits. They had survived their first winter and successfully gone on to raise their own family! They had become the wild raccoons they were meant to be....even if they do still like a visit from their human mom on occasion. It's what makes all the difficult parts of rehabbing worth while.

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