byon 08-13-2014 at 12:27 PM (6651 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!
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.
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.
GESTATION PERIOD: 62 days or so.
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.
UPDATE: November 2014- January 2015
Well, the Mama coons have pretty much chased off last season's babies and now I know why. The "Big Kahuna" is back. He is one hulking large male raccoon, and he has some reddish-brown fur. If you look closely at my pics, you can tell which are his progeny. Anyway with the return of the males, there is lots of noisemaking and "activity" in the treetops--and I mean tree TOPS. These guys are good, they corner the females! Anyway, I guess this means a new herd of babies in about 2 months. Geesh!
UPDATE Late February 2015
My females are looking a bit rotund--even last year's baby female, and they are holed up under my house during this cold weather. I guess I will have to postpone getting the house tented for termites AGAIN. Gonna have to wait several months for the Mamas to bring the babies out, fix the screening, then have a professional critter catcher go under the house and be sure they are out!!!
UPDATE Late March 2015
Well, my raccoons are looking quite rotund and their nipples are hangin' low---any day now. Late Jan to late March---yup, around 62 days. So now we have Stubby, the skwerl missing one lower arm and most of his tail, Limpy, the male raccoon who must have been hit by a car and has a permanently broken back leg--and now, the Chubb's (plural) at least 2 VERY pregnant females.
UPDATE Jan. 2016
My, I have been remiss. It was kind of a busy year last year. I think we had some thing go thru our raccoon colony that looked very similar to distemper, and there were a few lost. It wasn't rabies, NONE of them had the typical symptoms.
Anyway, we still have Limpy and his wife, Notchy ( she has a notched ear). They groom each other and eat together all the time. Limpy has started using his crippled foot more and is almost NOT Limpy. Notchy is very obviously PG and another female is toting around 3 babies. Then we have a newcomer, Junior, who seems to be a late-adolescent male. He still plays with stuff like a baby, but he is pretty large.
On the skwerl front, we are up to about 12, and Stubbs is still around--fat and sassy.
We had new wire mesh put on the ventilation openings on the skirt of our house to "exclude" any critter from living/having babies under there. It is time to termite tent again and I didn't want any skwerls, racoons, or cats to be asphyxiated/poisoned. I feel bad that there isn't much I can do to save the Bahamian Curly-tails that live under the steps. They will probably be scared further under the house when they put the tent on.