Sunday, February 28, 2010

Unruly Raccoons: The Vandals of the Ranch

It has come to my attention that raccoons, although they may look cute and fuzzy in Disney films, are the vandals of life on the ranch. If ever there is a breakin to the feed barn, you can bet it’s a raccoon. Trail camera knocked down? Raccoons. Dog food sack in the back of the pickup demolished? Corn feeder emptied and destroyed? That’s right, it was raccoons! And where one has found trouble, the next night he will bring 2 or 3 of his little friends back to the scene of the crime.

A few weeks ago, we caught this little guy raiding the corn feeder in the north pasture. He climbed a tree and tried to blend in. A 15 lb raccoon in a dead tree, though – there’s not much blending going on. I was pretty sure I was going to get a great picture, maybe even as good as Mr. HH’s cell-phone porcupine picture (another post). But alas, the little guy would not show me his face! I would stand on the left side of the tree, and he would look to the right. Move to the right, he looked left. I got straight away, he looked up, or he buried his face in his paws. I think he was afraid to be identified – he probably has outstanding warrants for vandalism in 3 counties.

Christmas Wildlife 056

And then this week, Mr. HH finally got the pictures off of a trail camera that had been left out for a month because of the snow. Fortunately, the batteries made it the whole time, although the corn supply did not. This camera is actually screwed to the tree, so its pictures made for a great time-lapse video.

See how at first there is just one raccoon, then a few nights later there are two, and then a couple nights after that there are 3 or 4? It’s like escalating gang activity. The feeder is supposed to drop a little corn each time a deer rattles it, but the raccoons and squirrels are climbing the tree and just rattling the tar out of it. Note: squirrels are just like miniature raccoons who are less nocturnal and have poor paw dexterity. Then at about 2:45 in the video, the feeder runs out of corn. The raccoons get so mad they rattle it harder and harder and finally knock the whole thing down. But Mr. HH’s dad came and filled it the next day, which is probably what saved the plastic part from becoming a raccoon chew toy. As much corn as they got out of it, they are probably able to sleep straight through until spring!


Doris Ray said...

Great Video! I really enjoy your stories.

Dad said...

Evidently they also read blogs and are offended by them. Last night we had one climb the pole and balance on the hedge while raiding the bird feeder that is right next to the window. He then walked along the window ledge looking in the window at us. I think he was looking for the person who slandered them on the internet. I guess it was to distract us while his buddy
tried to lift the rope on the hanging birdfeeder and empty it. He kept looking at the TV. Probably wondering how to get to the remote.
Finally your Mom made me go chase them away.

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