Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Remember the Beatles "Rocky Raccoon"? Well, we didn't choose the name for that reason, though the song was going through my mind at the time, but rather because this raccoon is "rocky" in the meaning of "rough".

I walked out for the mail several days ago and as I approached the mailbox, this raccoon was sitting under a nearby pine and watching me with some fascination. I sort of took a double take, thinking I wasn't really seeing an animal. But when he stayed - rare, indeed - I grabbed the mail and backed off slowly. Clearly a healthy animal doesn't act that way.
Then, Mom called me to the kitchen window a day later and asked me to have a look. The raccoon was slowly ambling across our lawn, every now and then completely stopping, and often falling entirely down. I've seen this before and suspected rabies.
The coon would paw at the ground searching for maple seeds and seemed hungry. Pretty soon he dragged himself to our bird bath (see below) and took a long, hearty drink.

I have a pan of water sitting atop and anchored there with rocks picked up from nearby fields. The poor raccoon nearly lay down as he drank. He literally seemed on his last legs.
When he finished, I watched him work his way to the front and begin slowly to climb a catalpa tree right along S. Clayton Road. He climbed with great difficulty but eventually managed to pull himself into a tree cavity. We didn't see him again that day.
Mom has since purchased a bag of dry dog food and is placing it in a metal pan beside the birdbath. The last two mornings it's been licked clean. I watched one of our many squirrels today. He got a drink but didn't even look at the dog food. Of course we could have a nightly stray dog walk by ... but I doubt it. I've never seen one.
So Rocky is a good name for this poor fellow. I wonder if he simply tangled with a car and is nursing a broken leg? In any case, we'll maintain a safe distance, keep the dog food coming and hope for the best.