/Raccoons with orange tails 

Raccoons with orange tails 

By Jim Poling Sr. 

Raccoons love me.
Why wouldn’t they? I give them bedtime snacks and a nice place to sleep.
about at night, tearing down bird feeders and chewing up hummingbird
sippy cups, is exhausting work. So, it’s nice that a raccoon can find a
place to get a bite to eat and take a nap.
A raccoon can just step
into the little room that I provide, grab a snack, then curl up and
stare up at the stars. The napping room is a bit confined but it’s airy
and quiet if the raccoon ignores the noise of the door clanging shut and
locking behind it.
The room is actually one of those ingenious wire
cage traps. Tired from a night of raiding, a raccoon walks in to
retrieve his snack, then steps on a release plate that snaps the door
It’s all quite safe and humane. And, in the morning, a cheerful
human comes by to say a few kind words and take it for a car ride. A
long car ride to a new forest home many miles away.
I’ve just
completed my fourth raccoon transport this week. On four consecutive
nights raccoons have stopped by for a snack and a nap. On four
consecutive mornings I have given the guests a cheery “good morning” and
transported them to a new home.
Four raccoons in one week raises the
question of whether I am catching the same raccoon over and over. They
look alike with those black masks, and their bushy fur coats make it
hard to determine differences in size.
However, I am not catching the
same raccoon over and over. I am sure of that because I spray the tail
of each one I catch with fluorescent orange paint. So far, none of those
in the snack and nap room have had orange tails.
Several years ago, I
had a raccoon spend the night in my snack and nap room. In the morning I
painted its tail and transported it to the end of our lake, a journey
of about one mile in a straight line.
Several mornings later I got up to discover the same raccoon with an orange tail napping in the little room.
did some research and discovered that raccoons are good swimmers,
capable of staying in the water for four hours. They also have excellent
memories, especially when it comes to geography.
I set up the snack
and nap room whenever the raccoons get silly bold with the bird feeders.
I don’t mind if they take the occasional nibble at the feeders, but
when they start going smash and grab crazy every night I set up the
 Some folks find raccoons cute and cuddly, which I guess they
can be if they stay out of the bird feeders. Some folks even find they
make good pets.
One of the most famous raccoon pets was Rebecca, who
lived at the U.S. White House during the 1920s presidency of Calvin
Some Americans were still serving roasted raccoon for
Thanksgiving dinner back then, but when Coolidge first met Rebecca he
decided to adopt her instead of eating her. She became a member of the
White House family, accompanying Coolidge on walks, taking part in the
annual Easter egg roll and getting an engraved collar as a gift one
History records Rebecca as one of the brighter occupants of the White House but not the only one to have an eye mask.
raccoons have black fur eye masks that reduce light glare and help them
to see better, much like athletes who wear black stickers beneath their
The current U.S. president has a white eye mask, the result of
using eye protection cups during his daily face tanning sessions. Some
have speculated that the ultra-violet rays from a tanning machine have
resulted in the president’s much-reported poor memory.
however, remember everything. Studies have shown that the little
critters can remember solutions to tasks for up to three years.
why they always know where the fullest and tastiest bird feeders are
and how to get into them with those long, nimble fingers.
Right now, I’m hoping that the raccoons with the orange tails have forgotten where I live.