Robert L. Peters

15 November 2005

Raising little rascals…

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Four of my small charges…

This past summer I had the opportunity (duty?) of “raising” five orphaned baby raccoons out at my place in the forest. The ritual of evening feeding sessions provided many hours of observation and enjoyment, as well as the up-close chance to observe mammalian developmental processes and juvenile interactions. The five kits had been brought to me by a professor in the city who had observed their mother being killed… he knew I loved animals and offered to supply the food (primarily dry puppy kibble) if I would mete it out and allow them to inhabit the woods around my home.

Judging by the impressive weight gain (from under .5 kg to around 9 kg in five months) and lustrous coats they had developed by the fall, the raising was a success. Particularly gratifying for me (by now feeling like a surrogate parent) was when on one of the last evenings they showed up (before hibernation, triggered by frost) there were suddenly nine raccoons on the deck… it seems they had found themselves den-mates to snuggle with for the long winter.


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