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Landfall2004

CRITTER TALES

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by on 08-13-2014 at 01:27 PM (865 Views)
OK--we all have them. Some more than others. And they all get lost on the weather blogs. So, here's a place to put them.

I was inspired to start this blog because the battle between me and my growing resident raccoon family is escalating. It all started because I was blaming the skwerls for emptying my fancy skwerl-proof bird feeders somehow--but I couldn't image HOW they were doing it so fast. (I wouldn't have this problem if I had listened to Squawk.)

Anyway, Monday AM I caught the culprit red-handed. Mama Raccoon was up in the tree, reeling in my hanging feeder, turning it upside down and sideways, and shaking it!!! The babies were on the ground eating the songbird mix with all the sunflower seeds and the rest of the mix!

In reality, this is not so bad, except: #1 That danged food is expensive and #2 If the birds are on the ground eating the leftover seeds, they are easy pickins for the cats!!!

Now, I refilled the feeder Tues. and Wed. AM, not only is my feeder empty AGAIN, it is tangled UP in the tree.





This is going to be a battle..............of wits.

I am going to use 40 lb. test and tie the feeder to the ground!!!! No more pulling it up into the tree! I'll let you know how it goes.

My next battle is how to keep them from bathing in my fountain---the ENTIRE family was in there over the weekend! All I know to do know is to keep Clorox in the water--they don't seem to like the smell, but I don't want to poison the skwerls and cats that drink from it.

Well, have some fun with this. I fully expect to see some tales from GEEP and her menagerie. And Tulsa and her kittehs, and Cone and his bunnies.





Pile on in!



Newest babies



Bath Day!!!!--every day is bath day



They already come knock/scratch on the door if chow is not served by 6PM.

I caught one of the babies hauling off my Tennis Shoe, and they took my husband's flip flop down to the patio walkway, and gnawed on it a bit. Tore the Nerf Football to smithereens.

Curious little buggers.

So, here's some facts we were curious about:

TIME BETWEEN LITTERS / LITTERS PER YEAR: Usually there is one litter a year; a second litter may be conceived, born and raised if the first is resorbed, aborted or lost very young.

LITTER SIZE: Raccoons may produce one to eight young in a litter; three or four is usual. The average litter size is higher in the north of the raccoon's range than in the south. Juvenile females tend to have smaller litter sizes than do adults.

LITTER SIZE: Raccoons may produce one to eight young in a litter; three or four is usual. The average litter size is higher in the north of the raccoon's range than in the south. Juvenile females tend to have smaller litter sizes than do adults.

BREEDING SEASON: There are geographical variations in the raccoon mating season. In general, the mating season last from about January to March, peaking in February. In the most northerly areas the mating season starts later, in February, and peaks in March, but is prolonged until June. In the southeastern states mating also generally starts relatively late and may continue into the summer, while in Florida it may start as early as December. The mating season may be prolonged in some females that return to oestrus after failing to give birth or after losing a litter soon after parturition. In South Carolina, Florida and Alabama some litters may be born in any month. The raccoon breeding cycle is influenced by photoperiod; if exposed to artificially long daylight hours, raccoons may become ready to breed as much as two to four months early.

LONGEVITY / MORTALITY: Mortality is high, with most individuals dying within their first two years of life and few passing five years of age, although small numbers may reach 12, 13 or even 16 years old. Late born litters are unlikely to survive their first winter. Population age structure may vary between areas and between years in a given area. In areas where raccoons are hunted, this is the major cause of mortality. In other areas, collisions with vehicles, starvation, individuals being trapped because they are considered a nuisance, and disease may be more important. The two diseases known to have effects on raccoons at the population level are canine distemper and rabies. While several species do prey on raccoons, predation is not a major source of mortality compared with hunting, vehicle collisions and disease.

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Updated 11-08-2014 at 06:06 PM by Landfall2004

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  1. McBart ender's Avatar
    firsties (self reported)
  2. Landfall2004's Avatar
    Yo, Mc Bart, Engineer--can't you whip-up some raccoon-baffling contraptions fer me?
  3. McBart ender's Avatar
    My mother was having similar problems with her bird feeders. She had been at war for 8 yrs; having spent a small fortune at the local feed store on "Squirrel Proof" feeders, that were anything but. She lays out corn and sunflower specifically for the squirells, but apparently that's not enough. Each spring she would purchase two or three of the latest high-end 'guaranteed squirrel proof' feeders. Heh, yea right. It didn't take long for them or the coons to figure out how to get into them. She finally called me, and in the fashion of any Real Engineer I went WAAaayyyy overboard. ....But it has worked for three years now.

    I had to string a piece of 1/4" steel cable between two trees about 100 feet apart maybe 30 feet above ground. I hung two pulleys on that cable about 20 feet from each tree. Then ran another length of steel cable going through each pulley. I put 20 feet of light chain on the end of each of those cables. The chain is snap-shackeld to a loop secured with a 1/2"x4" screw eye at the base of each support tree. Bird feeders of any sort hang from the other end of the cables up near the pulley.

    (I'd draw a sketch, but have no way of posting it here. I can E-mail you a diagram if you want.)

    To re-fill the feeders the chain ends are released to lower the feeders. After filling, the feeders are raised by pulling on the chains, then securing them to the snap-shackles. She reports the squirrels are quite frustrated now, but are content to eat the corn and sunflower she lays out for them. She enjoys watching their frustration as they try to figure it out. She reported a couple of them pawing and gnawing furiously at the snap-shackel. If they ever figure that out it can be replaced with a padlock.
  4. Landfall2004's Avatar
    OK--almost time to take out the heavy artillery.

    I tied the bird feeder to the bench nearby, so the raccoons could not reel it up into the tree. I used 40 lb. test and you couldn't see it.

    Evidently they yanked and yanked until one of my knots gave way (that monofilament is slick.) I thought I used a fisherman's knot, but maybe not. I pulled my bird feeder out of the tree AGAIN, and tied a better knot ( I hope.) If this doesn't work, WIRE is next. If that doesn't work, gonna have to get some of McBart's aircraft cable!!!!!

    I also caught the 3 babies in my fountain last night. Pictures one of these days.
  5. McBart ender's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Landfall2004
    OK--almost time to take out the heavy artillery.

    I tied the bird feeder to the bench nearby, so the raccoons could not reel it up into the tree. I used 40 lb. test and you couldn't see it.

    Evidently they yanked and yanked until one of my knots gave way (that monofilament is slick.) I thought I used a fisherman's knot, but maybe not. I pulled my bird feeder out of the tree AGAIN, and tied a better knot ( I hope.) If this doesn't work, WIRE is next. If that doesn't work, gonna have to get some of McBart's aircraft cable!!!!!

    I also caught the 3 babies in my fountain last night. Pictures one of these days.
    Thought about the fountain issues last night. How about a "separate but nearly equal" type thing. Go buy them a Wall-Mart kiddie pool at end of season blow-out prices. $3 -$7 You know, one of those cheep plastic bowls about 8" deep and 3' around. Place it over closer to where they live, and maybe throw some orange or apple next to it. Hopefully they will use that instead of your fountain.

    Any level of chlorine in the fountain that would offend them would probably hurt the birds.

    Oh, and feel free to post that sketch I sent you. (just include the notes page as well.)
  6. Landfall2004's Avatar
    Well, so far, the new knot is holding. But I still have wire in reserve...............
  7. Landfall2004's Avatar
    The bird feeders are holding up OK so far. The skwerls are more of a problem than the raccoons now.

    This AM, not only was Mama Coon taking a bath in my fountain, but then she came and knocked, knocked I say, on my back door wanting more cat food. The nerve!!!!
  8. NavarreMark's Avatar
    We have consensus between model runs. The Behcon model is still showing the land cane developing over North Carolina and going out to sea.

  9. NavarreMark's Avatar
    The 06Z GFS obviously hasn't had the upgrade.

  10. NavarreMark's Avatar
    I just realized that I have been trying my FBM trade in the Critter Tales Blog.

    How the he11 did that happen.

    I'm lozing my touch.
  11. PcolaDan's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Landfall2004
    The bird feeders are holding up OK so far. The skwerls are more of a problem than the raccoons now.

    This AM, not only was Mama Coon taking a bath in my fountain, but then she came and knocked, knocked I say, on my back door wanting more cat food. The nerve!!!!
    I have had squirrels do that before. I mean seriously, stood on hind legs, then knocked on the sliding glass door, then looked in like, "WELL!? We're hungry out here!".
  12. Landfall2004's Avatar
    Dan, mine either go on the rocking chair outside the living room window, climb on the top and look in the window at me, or they go on the very top of the fountain, stand up, and look at me when I am standing at the kitchen sink. For rodents, they are not so dumb.
    Updated 11-04-2014 at 03:47 PM by Landfall2004
  13. Landfall2004's Avatar
    I wish I carried a camera around my neck at all times--you should have seen the raccoons tonight. Two of them were having a tug-of-war over the food bowl. Not just back and forth on the ground, this thing was picked up, level, with the food still in it, getting pulled back and forth between them!

    PS Anyone who wants to buy stock--I am buying two big bags of Friskies Cat Food on Saturday.
  14. Landfall2004's Avatar
    Well, as life moves on, my baby raccoons are growing up. They are getting gangly and long legs---just like puppies. Same thing is happening to the grandchildren!
  15. McBart ender's Avatar


    ...and the cat's in the cradle with the silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon.
  16. Landfall2004's Avatar
    McBart, did you buy your stock in whatever company makes Friskies, yet?
  17. McBart ender's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Landfall2004
    McBart, did you buy your stock in whatever company makes Friskies, yet?
    I'm sure I've got a small piece of it somewhere hidden in one of those incestuous mutual funds. You know the ones; they cross invest in multiple stocks and each other like the financial equivalent of Kudzu.

    Friskies™ is made by Purina™. Do you remember Ralston Purina? Well..... Ralston Purina's animal feed business became the subject of an acquisition bid by Swiss-based Nestlé, whose Friskies brand was the other leading U.S. brand of pet food. Nestlé S.A. and Ralston Purina announced in January 2001 a definitive merger agreement. Under the agreement, Nestlé acquired all of Ralston Purina's (NYSE: RAL) outstanding shares for US$ 33.50 per share in cash. The offer represented a premium of 36 percent over the closing price on Friday, January 12, 2001. The transaction had an enterprise value of US$10.3 billion.

    Nestlé acquired Gerber baby foods, and some soda and alcohol companies. They are now the largest food company based on revenue.
    Updated 10-08-2014 at 07:04 PM by McBart ender (YUP! I've got a ETF-SPDR (spider) that's weighted in S&P500 'staples'. It holds a significant position in Nestle.)
  18. Landfall2004's Avatar
    Interesting about Nestle! Yes, I know exactly what you mean about mutual funds. Mine perform pretty well. Looks like they have the market cornered.
    Updated 10-08-2014 at 09:19 PM by Landfall2004
  19. McBart ender's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Landfall2004
    Interesting about Nestle! Yes, I know exactly what you mean about mutual funds. Mine perform pretty well. Looks like they have the market cornered.
    Yea, stocks and stock based funds may not be the place to put new cash right now. They are a bit overvalued. I'm still holding, but not going to put new cash into there right now.
    Updated 10-08-2014 at 09:26 PM by Landfall2004
  20. Landfall2004's Avatar
    My faves were the insured, tax-free muni's---but I think they are all done now They were paying 4.85-5.25% during the downturn
  21. McBart ender's Avatar
    Those sure helped.

    I hadn't looked lately. Can you not get them anymore?? (Though personally I'd rather trust companies that municipalities. Didn't CA default on some of those?)
  22. Landfall2004's Avatar
    My broker has not offered them, so there must not be any worth their salt................I think I heard or read a market report about rates being 1%ish anyway.

    McBart---BunkerMail
  23. McBart ender's Avatar
    Got the Bunker-mail. I'm okay with any of that. It's all good.
  24. Landfall2004's Avatar
    It's been a month since I updated. The baby 'coons are almost adults now and I think the Mom's are weaning them. I hear some ferocious squabbling. It sounds like a wicked brawl, but so far, not one of them shows signs of any any injury---must be all vocal.

    They finally did it---broke my fountain!!!!! It was 10 yrs. old or so, made of some heavy molded poly resin, but was beginning to get some strange cracks in it. And if it each tier was not "twisted" on the right way, it could come apart. So, one night, there it was, in pieces. Looked back on the sec. camera digital DVD and there they were!!!! Climbing all over, trying to get water. So, now it has been replaced by a smaller gray fountain. Won't show the dirt, and the gray matches the porch deck (painted dark for the same reason--raccoon prints!!!!)
    Updated 11-06-2014 at 11:04 PM by Landfall2004
  25. Landfall2004's Avatar
    Almost forgot-- today, we were watering the plants and had a hummingbird come and played in the spray!!!! It was so cute. It seemed to be enjoying a bath. It would fly thru the mist, go sit on the ground an fluff and spread its wings, and go back for more. Adorable!!!! And the grandbaby had never seen a live hummingbird before, so she was enthralled.
  26. Landfall2004's Avatar
    OK, I have to backtrack. 2 entries ago I mentioned that I thought the mama raccoons were weaning the babies. AND last night, the "Big Kahuna" graced us with his presence. He is the redder male raccoon that we believed fathered many of these babies--and he is huge. It took some pictures so I will try to get them on the blog soon.

    Anyway, today, I believe I interrupted a "romantic interlude" occurring 30 feet up in the ficus tree. The romancing went on for at least a half an hour. The female didn't sound like she was having very much fun, to me. SO, now we know why the mamas were chasing the young'uns off, and why the males have started hanging around!!!!

    And we know there will probably be a continuation of this story..................in about 63 days. Actually, it will be longer than that. Mama won't bring the babies around until they are a few months old.

    Buy your stock in cat food now.
    Updated 11-06-2014 at 10:51 PM by Landfall2004
  27. hurricat's Avatar
    Sounds like you are running a raccoon sanctuary over there
  28. Landfall2004's Avatar
    Introducing "The Big Kahuna" ***Note his coloration***





    Most of the Famn Damily was here:



    They just couldn't wait to try to squeeze into the new fountain:



  29. McBart ender's Avatar
    LF, Your Coons are right on the breeding projection we worked out. When can the 'youngens' begin procreating?

    Your yard some time early next Spring will look about like this.
  30. Landfall2004's Avatar
    Funny, McBart, real funny!!!

    (Secretly, I am afraid it is the truth!!!!!)
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