Sunday, July 8, 2012

Reigning Kits and Blogs

If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected.  ~  Chief Seattle of the Suwamish Tribe

Have I ever mentioned that I have great neighbours? I'm certain that I have.

One evening, last month, my next door neighbour Lloyd knocked on the door with a message for me from his wife. "Caroline said to get your camera and come to the park. There are some baby raccoons by the culvert."

Less than 2 minutes later we were walking down the path, and looking into the eyes of three beautiful little raccoon kits. The mother was with them but her focus was on her fourth wee one who was making a tremendous racket from inside the tunnel, beyond our view. Apparently the family was in transit and babies #1, 2 and 3 followed their mom fearlessly enough but kit #4 was afraid to manouever his way past some obstacle.

The little scardy kit attracted a small crowd with his loud complaints. The mother looked a bit alarmed at leaving her three babies with all of these human onlookers but soon assessed that we were harmless enough and went into the tunnel in search of her young trouble maker. Eventually it quieted down and I can only assume that they found another exit and were making their way back to the rest of the family on land. That did not happen while we were there, but I know how loyal and capable mother raccoons are and I feel confident that she would not have abandoned her adorable threesome.

In the meantime, these little guys waited patiently but not without getting into a little bit of trouble. They were unafraid of our approach, and even considered following us once or twice. Thankfully, they were easy to dissuade. One little rascal, wouldn't sit still on the small, wet, somewhat slippery concrete lip, and with only a fence behind him and a foot or so of water beneath him (we'd had a huge downpour just hours earlier), he slipped down and landed about ten feet below with a significant splash. I was glad that the water was there to break his fall. He quickly surfaced and scrambled his way up the cement wall. Even young raccoons are excellent climbers. He ran into more trouble trying to make his way back to that small lip though, and down he went again. Splash! One more time up and one more time down. On his last climb, he was arm's length away from me and was beginning to teeter once again. I was able to reach the scruff of his neck and scoop him up and onto solid ground beneath a nearby tree. He would have managed on his own, I'm sure, but truth be told, my actions were at least as selfish as they were protective - I couldn't resist holding him for just a second. The other two soon joined him by the tree. This is where they remained when I headed back home.

An hour later, none of them were in sight. Not surprising because it was pretty dark by then. I'm hoping Mama returned with kit #4 and that the family moved on to learn all about hunting for food. I'm willing to bet on it.

Thank you Caroline and Lloyd for giving me my raccoon fix - and a blog post, to boot!

Below are a few photos which I took that night. They're in random order, along with a selection of animal quotes. I hope you enjoy.


Wee bandit4
An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~ Martin Buber




wee bandits14
It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. Towards this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions of affection and sympathy, and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young towards suffering in all living creatures. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt




Wee bandit8
Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~ George Eliot




Wee bandit6
Lots of people talk to animals... Not very many listen, though... That's the problem. ~ Benjamin Hoff




wee bandits2
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man. ~ Charles Darwin




wee bandits15
It is hard to be brave, when you're only a Very Small Animal. ~ A. A. Milne




wee bandits12
Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other. ~ Dr. Louis J. Camuti




Wee bandit10
Every baby animal is unique and adorable, and there is no greater love than that between a mother and her young. It is the power of this love that explains why humans have always sought the company of young animals. ~ Angela Serena Ildos




Wee bandit7
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contained. I stand and look at them long and long. ~ Walt Whitman




Wee bandit5
The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. ~ George Bernard Shaw




Wee bandit11
If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans ~ James Herriot quotes




Wee bandit3
I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the "lower animals" (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me. ~ Mark Twain

66 comments:

Rita said...

I agree with Eleanor! I refused to pith a live frog and cut it open while it was still alive in biology class in high school!! I refused to cut live amebas or whatever they were, either. I absolutely refused to cut up anything alive. I was the only one. My teacher let me clean rodent cages instead. (My idea--so I could play with live animals while they cut things up).

These little guys are so cute! I hope they were all reunited and live long lives. :):)

Love Mark Twain's quote, too!

Stephen Hayes said...

I've had a few bad experiences with aggressive raccoons but I respect their tenacity and they sure look cute in your great photos.

Daniel LaFrance said...

I have mixed feelings about them and have plenty of experience trapping them too. Before anyone gets a knot in their knickers, I live trap. They're not harmed in any way.

But I'm a softy at heart, and can appreciate their intelligence and dogged determination. Like all little critters, they are cute.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Such wonderful photos and quotes, all of them. My favorite line is the one from Chief Seattle. It is also the one most familiar to me.
(And oh, Eleanor Roosevelt, such an amazing woman!)
I have an early memory of crying on a camping trip because a raccoon stole our bag of treats (no roasted marshmallows for us that night!) then stayed up in a tree watching us -- four upset yet curious children. Six years ago, I watched a mama leading her 3 babies along the side of our house in the dark -- we stared at each other through the window. While they were probably the same raccoons that fished from our pond and played havoc with the fountain, because of you, dear Hilary I think baby raccoons are some of the most adorable of all wild animals.

Nadezda said...

Interesting story, Hilary!It is well that ends well.

Andy said...

As always Hilary you have given me some great photos to enjoy. The raccoons look cute but they can be very destructive.

CorvusCorax12 said...

they are so cute...little rascals

Brian Miller said...

smiles...thought of you the other day...and your buddy coon...we had a huge one get on the porch the other day...the door was open to catch a breeze and he poked his head into the house....shooed him off and he ran down the porch, turned our backs and he ran back up...did it 3 times...

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Those little guys are adorable. I am glad you had the chance to not only see and photograph them but also to lend a helping hand.

Crabby McSlacker said...

So adorable!

I shall have to keep this in mind the next time they pry off our trash can lids and spread garbage all over the street.

You're so talented at capturing the personality in those mischievious little faces!

messymimi said...

Beautiful. And i agree with Mr. Clemens.

Leah J. Utas said...

They are so cute. Thanks for this. At first glance it looked like the one in the first pic was wearing a white tie.

Hilary said...

Love the pictures, but the quotes are awesome, especially the last one.
Love Mark Twain.

DJan said...

I never had to cut up any animals in class, but I knew some students who did, and they had to reactions: some of the boys loved it and most of the girls hated it. I love your cute little raccoons, Hilary! They are adorable, as almost every little baby is, everywhere. Thanks for the quotes, I read and appreciated every one.

Country Girl said...

What a wonderful find! Great photos to boot.

Dianne said...

the quotes are wonderful, they make me feel aligned with animal lovers everywhere
I get teased here in no soul land for my love of and protection of all the critters

your photos are fantastic
they have such sweet sad looking faces with an innocence that tugs at the heart

Kerri said...

They just steal my heart!!!! Oh what sweeties!!

Out on the prairie said...

They look pretty young.It is always a thrill to get close and in your case even touch wild critters.

TexWisGirl said...

they're so sweet and innocent when they're young - and so crafy when they're older! :)

CiCi said...

What a fun time this morning to walk through your photos, felt like I was there in person. Like you, I believe that the mom found a different way around and brought #4 with her.

Red said...

No wonder this little guy fell off the ledge. There wasn't much room there. Yes, it's good your neighbors called you because you got some awesome pictures.

ellen abbott said...

so cute!

ds said...

Wonderful photos and quotes! Those little guys are adorable. Hope they were reunited with their mom and sibling and are off cavorting in the woods together.

Bossy Betty said...

What a treat and what a nice neighbor to come to get you for a photo session with these lovelies. Great pictures and quotes, Hilary!

photowannabe said...

Totally delightful Hilary.
Those faces are so innocent looking.
I hope Mama came back for her little ones.
Your pond and area around it has some wonderful critters.
Keep snapping.

sage said...

what great shots!

Mental P Mama said...

Thanks for the fix!! And I love every single quote!

June said...

Oh you lucky dog, to cuddle a baby raccoon!
I have the very greatest respect for animal mothers. [Almost] Infinite patience, neverending diligence, complete devotion.
Wonderful pictures, of course. They're such cute little animals, perfect miniatures of adult raccoons.

Linda said...

A great series of photos, Hilary. I'm glad your neighbor alerted you to the opportunity.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Oh my goodness. The cuteness is unbearable. Glad you found a way to hold one and help the little rascal at the same time. What a sweet series. Gah!

She Writes Here Now said...

The Hoff quote is fabulous. I saw a documentary on raccoons. They are incredibly adaptable and evolving all the time. And they are cute :)!

Rob-bear said...

Those kits are so cute! Adult racoons would be cute too, if they were not so destructive.

Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos and thoughts.

Reb said...

They are just darling. I am glad you have such good neighbours.

yaya said...

They are adorable! I have never found any raccoons here at the Pines. My friend Donna woke up one morning to all her kitchen drawers opened and bread and cereal and containers scattered all over...she then saw the little paw prints and realized she left the sliding door open....the little rascals came through her screen! They also ate the bowl of dog food near the door. They left as quietly as they came!

missing moments said...

What a great neighbor to make you aware! Your photos are awesome and they look so cute! I'll think kinder thoughts when they empty my garbage cans!!! Love that Mark Twain quote. Isn't it so true!

lime said...

what an adorable and impish looking threesome!

cloudia charters said...

Your excellent photos
and deeply touching quotes
have made me cry
in the best way.
Thank you
for always showing me
how good a post can be!


Wishing you a pleasant week with
Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

> < } } (°>

Shammickite said...

Naughty little faces!
All baby animals are cute and lovable when they are babies, the trouble is they grow up to be adults, and adult raccoons can cause a lot of trouble!

Slamdunk said...

This is timely Hilary. We just saw some raccoons today that were being helped at a local wild animal rescue facility near us. The kids would have loved to see little ones like these.

And, having extra eyes to give you a scoop for the blog is essential--I am thankful for the folks who send me a heads-up for a potential post.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

My brother found three little babies once. So very beautiful as are these photos.

Jenny Woolf said...

We don't have raccoons in England and so I am sure I'd feel differently if I was bothered by them all the time, but I just adore their little faces and they crack me up when I see films of them being mischievous. I loved your photos - thanks.

Bob Bushell said...

Astonishingly brilliant photographs, I love 'em. And with beautiful quotes, it makes me cry with pleasure.

Zuzana said...

Hilary, I think a raccoon must be your scared animal of some sort as you keep having these rare encounters with these cuties. I have only seen a raccoon once in my life, one that lived on my porch for a few weeks while I lived in NC.;))
Lovely photography as always,
gave a great Monday,
xoxo

SueAnn Lommler said...

The kits are adorable. Great pics of them!! And I loved the quotes. So true...each of them!
Hugs
SueAnn

Friko said...

Ah, that's cute. Both the story and the photos.

I particularly enjoyed the raccoon with two heads.

Pauline said...

As always, marvelous photos and matching quotes. Reading here is like going through a favorite book.

We humans could teach racoons a thing or two about being destructive.

ethelmaepotter! said...

What handsome creatures raccoons are, dark masks worn in an absurd attempt at camouflaging their impish charm. Those dark almond eyes cannot be hidden, and you have captured them here as a perfect complement to your tale - Mom appears worried, the kits seem a bit fearful before twinkles of mischief appear, and then they're relaxes, albeit yet a bit wary.

Eleanor Roosevelt was such a wise woman. How sad that live animals are still being for such purposes and far worse.

Sharon Wagner said...

We took in abandoned baby raccoons a couple times growing up. It was an unforgettable experience feeling their paws on your skin and in your hair. They love to feel everything! Actually the first batch was so small they were fed by the family cat. She'd just had kittens. But now all I have are cats!

ladyfi said...

Now those are some good neighbours!

Great shots of the racoons!

Daryl Edelstein said...

SO sweet ...

Barb said...

Cute little tight-rope walkers! They have such glistening, inquisitive eyes. Great captures, Hilary.

NitWit1 said...

I love the little 'coons but they surely like our gardens and garbage.

Right now we have some varmint making horrendous open ditch/tunnels all through one of our expensively rernovated front beds. We don't know what it is, except armadillos make cone shaped holes, unless one was mad and rotor-rooted a long opwn furrow row, which I have never seen. We have a ground hog in the area, too but don't exactly know how they feed. He/She is a humongous fat groundhog. He is living under a vacant, soon to be demolished house.

Lisa Gordon said...

Hilary, they are absolutely adorable, and how fortunate you were to be able to photograph them.
Wonderful images!
I hope you've had a great beginning to your week.

CINDY and BUDDY said...

Hilary, Photos are Quotes are Wonderful! I was lucky to get a picture of my Resident Squirrel one day. I was working on my wood bead curtain and noticed him(I thought was a he) at my glass door to the porch. You must see the photo in my blog. You will laugh when you read my comment too! www.craftflaire.blogspot.com.

Mage said...

Goodness, you have stirred us all up with your wonderful pictures. :)

Jo said...

What a great experience for you! I know how much you love raccoons. I loved the story, the action shots, and oh the quotes! So poignant.

Here in the garbage-rich city the raccoons are enormous, brazen, and sometimes as surly & touchy-feely as the people. They're cute & freak me out.

Linda said...

Those little sweeties are so adorable. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Kerry said...

Oh my gosh. They're adorable, with those little dark eyes and masked faces. No matter how many bad experiences I've had with raccoons (marauders, thieves, fighters-of-cats) I still love these guys. They're very adaptable, clever little rascals. When I was a child someone gave me one as a pet; he learned how to unlatch his coop and raid the hen house for eggs. My dad let him loose in the woods but he waddled back the following week, so he was taken further away & had only himself to blame.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Raccoons kinda scare me, but I have to admit those little guys are cute!

beth said...

i know they're destructive things, but holy crap they're cute !!

SandyCarlson said...

Those kits are gorgeous. Thanks for this post, my friend.

Hilary said...

Thanks everyone for such kind words. I'm glad that my little raccoon buddies made you smile.

I do know first-hand how destructive they can be. I also know first-hand how incredibly intelligent and comical they are. They're wonderful creatures and are worthy of our respect.

I'm glad you enjoyed them. I know that I sure did. :)

Betty Manousos said...

oh those little rascals!

as always, i totally enjoyed your high-quality images!

nicely done:)

Betty Manousos said...

...and what a great story!
i loved this post:)

Anvilcloud said...

What a marvellous little adventure for you. The raccoons that I have encountered in Vancouver in and near Stanley Park, leave me quite cautious as they were extremely bold. We saw one chase a woman and her little dog down the street. It was a little scarey.

Dave said...

A nice blog and photos of these kits Hilary. Well done and thanks for sharing - Dave