Everyone who lives in rural Wisconsin or in a small town knows of the wily raccoon. The fun begins each night after sunset and this time of year, the coon family is out looking for something tasty. The old ringtailed female is followed closely by her five two-month old youngsters as she shows them where to find a good meal.
Their diverse dining habits may take them along the creek in search of frogs, crayfish, snakes or large insects. The young are taught that they don't have to catch what they eat. There may be something good to munch on in the vegetable garden. After that, off they go for a general search around the property where they might come across some discarded garbage or maybe new goodies in the compost bin.
Any night, winter or summer, the whole raccoon family may be seen eating seeds on the bird feeders. Its not uncommon to see 5 or 6 coons all eating together on the same bird feeder.
Not far from where I live is a small community called Coon Valley. A few miles from town lives a couple who devote much of their life to taking care of orphaned or injured wild birds and animals. Sue and Merv Broten are special people whose love and caring for wildlife is an inspiration to everyone who cares for nature's creatures.
This time of year much of their time is spent caring for young raccoons. Often the story is the same. The adult female coon has been killed on the highway and her youngsters are left orphaned. Without a helping hand, they just won't make it. This year the Brotens may be raising 20 to 30 half grown raccoons at a time.
Yes, the raccoon's travels may be them in trouble, especially when they get too close to humans. Personally I find it a treat to get a look at wily old ringtail and I hope there's always a place for them along nature's trail.
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