21 January 2012

~ Guess Who Came to Dinner? ~

Elvira came calling!
I guess she decided a snack of cat food
sounded delish!
At the end of each day, 
the bowl of kitty chow is put on the top of the fridge,
in the little barn office.
The door is let open "just enough" for the
barn cats to squeeze through!
Elvira has never ventured in there!

I guess on this dreary, foggy, rainy day,
Elvira had nothing else to do.
So she decided to pay a visit.
And have a snack!

Elvira has been coming around for about five years now.
Always at the end of the day, after the horses are in,
and the barn is quiet.
I can always continue sweeping while she chomps away!
Any loud noise, such as Annie kicking her wall, sends
Elvira running out of the barn.
She will wait until all is quiet again and slink back in.
The picture below is the closest I have ever been to her.
And I would never, ever attempt to pet her!
A little fear is healthy when it comes to wildlife!

Last fall, the Tennessee Dept. Of Agriculture
distributed "vaccination packets" for thousands
of raccoon's in the state of Tn. and 60 miles
across the border into each neighboring state.
{There is also an "urban program" for you city folks!}
They are dropped by small planes in wooded and desolate 
areas in Tennessee. 
Like where we live! Ha!
These vaccination packets are wrapped inside fish-meal blocks,
smelling and tasting mighty good to Elvira and her relatives! 
This was the tenth year of this very successful program!
I hope that each year, Elvira is fortunate enough 
to find one of these packets!

Most of us are worried that our pet will 
encounter a raccoon.
But, it is very rare that a raccoon will ever 
attack a dog or cat.
More likely, a dog would be the attacker!
This is a good reason to keep our pets 
up-to-date on vaccinations!
And what about seeing a nocturnal animal
during the day?
Often people believe that a raccoon
{or any other nocturnal animal}
seen during the day is sick or rabid.
Not so!
Nocturnal animals often come out during the day.
A food source will keep them out and about at 2pm.
Like your bird-feeder!
Or seeing a raccoon cross your yard at 10am may just
mean, he is coming in late from an 
all night party!
You would defiantly know if an animal 
was sick or rabid!
In that case call local animal control.

via zazzle

~Raccoon Tidbits~
Their sense of touch is acute!
5 times greater than that of a human.
The "washing" behavior they exhibit when 
picking up an item to eat, is their need to feel the item.
If water is present, they will wash the food.
Their "cat-like" claws make them awesome climbers!
Both their hearing and vision are acute.
They are avid swimmers, but do not like deep water.
A young raccoon put everything into it's mouth;
just like toddlers!
This is how they learn what is edible!
Raccoon's purr like cats!
They are social animals, hanging out with other raccoon's.
Mama raccoons will often band together, raising their young!
They have the intelligence of both dogs and cats :)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Each year,  Elvira brings her Kits (her babies)
for a meet and greet!
And several times she also has brought along another
Mama raccoon and her babies!
Single mama's got to stick together!

Spring 2010

Raccoons don't hibernate, but will become dormant
in very cold, consistent weather
where the temps stay 25 degrees or less for
a substantial period of time.
So in places like Tennessee, we continue to
see them throughout the Winter!

via zazzle

They do like to pack on the pounds 
in the Fall, to get ready for Winter.
This is the way the raccoon body helps
itself, in case food is sparse for them in the cold months!
So if you have a holiday party with plenty of
yummy left-overs,
button down those trash cans!
Those paws will fling open the lid,
and then Elvira and her friends will have their own party!!
We use bungee cords,
 but those rascals have learned how to un-do them!
Now, J is using concrete blocks.
So far, so good!

I need to ask my parents why I never had a raccoon!

Hopefully Elvira will be coming around more.
I know she loves the paparazzi following her every move! 

I hope your week was wonderful!
And that some critter from the 
wildlife kingdom made you pause for second
and gave you a smile!

Now on to a very, dreary weekend here,
in the mountains of east Tennessee!
Ah, but we have a wood-stove!
To keep the house nice and toasty.
And pups to keep my feet warm
and kitties to warm my lap,
and keep me smiling and laughing
at all their antics!
Life is good....

Thank you so much for visiting,
From My Front Porch in the Mountains!
Each and every one of you
make my days a little brighter!


Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

Elvira is VERY cute!

Our neighbors across the road put their trash out the night before pickup.. it's been known to get thrown about by nighttime critters. You'd think they would learn and put it out the morning of pickup instead. :-) Thanks for all the info on raccoons. They are sweet critters.

Beth said...

i had to stopped feeding the birds & hummingbirds because we always would get racoons eating. i know they are cute. but they scare me. i don't want to get bitten. you are smart not to get to close. i will watch from afar. thanks, for the lesson. i feel a lot smarter now. have a good weekend. (:

TexWisGirl said...

so funny. we did the same thing on the bird seed bins - went from plastic to metal (after the coons chewed into them). then bungee corded the tops on (until they ate thru those), then went to concrete blocks set on top of the lids. we go thru months where they'll come in and steal our cat's food in the barn. then nothing for months. then back again. :)

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

I'm glad Elvira makes you smile. I don't appreciate visitors in the night because I have chickens, and also they make the dogs bark bark bark. We have been seeing so many dead skunks on the road, so I'm pretty sure that's what's been passing through lately.

Enjoy your toasty house, your fur babies, and have a nice weekend:-)

Marilyn said...

One little raccoon was in my big dog's house and BooBoo just barked and barked, but it never did leave. Of course, it was raining outside so it was a smart little thing. All my dog did was get wet!♥♫

Bianca said...

That sounds great to have such a cute raccoon around. Don't know the animal myself, they don't live in Europe. But if they would, I would love to have one come to enjoy my boys food to.
I also didn't know the purr like cats do. I learned a lot by reading your post today!

Have a great weekend (over here it's saterday 1.34 AM so I'm already IN the weekend ;-D) give those pups and kitties a big hug from over here and untill next time.

Deb said...

Smart little critters but I must admit they scare me. We had some that came around when we lived at the lake. I was sitting on the front porch one night and walked up within inches of my leg before I realized it. My squeal scared it off. I think it was going to climb up and sit in my lap. Hillbilly calls me Ellie May because I attract the critters. Ha!

Gaelyn said...

Elvira is a delight. I lived where the racoons came thru a cat door for a regular cat food buffet. I even saw one, of the many, cats watching it from the top of a box only 10 feet away. Smart kitty.

Hope you stay warm. Love wood heat. Just not practical in my RV. ;)

Donna said...

Elvira's story made my night!! We have raccoons here too :) My husband has several game cameras in our pasture to see what critters come through. He actually feeds the deer corn (no shooting them) and the raccoons eat the corn! We have foxes, opossums, coyotes .. a little of everything passes through. You never know what might show up!
Stay warm with all the critters!

Country Dreaming said...

Pretty cute!
Do something fun this weekend.
Is the weather causing the drearys?


Amy said...

Hello my dear,

What a wonderful guest you had visiting! She´s lovely and so were her children :-) Loved reading the facts about racocons also. Here is another one which I never knew until I moved here, but there are no raccoons in Norway!

Enjoy your wood stove and cozy home in the beautiful Tennessee mountains! A big hug from me, sitting in a chair in front of my fireplace here in the woods of Norway :-)))

Ann On and On... said...

When I was about 6 our neighbors were bottle feeding kits and I got to help. I think there's a photo somewhere of this. Anyway, this fun post brought me back to that special time.

Lynne said...

Elvira . . . another book . . . or a chapter in a book titled
Front Porch Animal Stories . . .

Misha . . . you are a writer . . .

I double check before opening the door when the temperatures hover in the high thirties, when I take Snickers out for a middle of the night "trip". I am watching out for skunks, possums, and raccoons!

Yesterday after our afternoon walk, (really spunky in the afternoon) I unhooked her a few yards from the driveway leading to our house. She ran up the drive, stopped, looked . . . and went leaping through the snow . . . ears flying . . . face of snow, trying to catch a squirrel . . . disappointed, she took off, found a clear path and up to me in the driveway to tell me, "no luck this time mom!". Such a "hoot" she can be . . . I should try a video.

Hartwood Roses said...

Dreary here, too ... but at least the sleet appears to have stopped.

When Kimba, our outdoor cat, was alive, we had a huge possum that would waddle onto the front porch (where the food was) to have him a cat food snack every evening. This was the absolute biggest possum I have EVER seen. He didn't mess with anything, and didn't go near Kimba's bed on the other side of the porch, so we left him be and let him have his nightly snack.

Sometimes we had raccoons in the cat food, though we never caught them in the act. I could tell they'd been there because the water dish would be full of cat food, like soup.

Karen said...

I used to want a raccoon as a pet too, but I do have a healthy respect for their wild nature. Great pics, awesome that she comes to visit now and again, for so many years!

We've got snow, and I am not looking forward to mucking stalls today.

Donna said...

Thanks for teaching me about raccoons! I know we have them around here, but I've only seen one bound across from my office window to the construction dumpster that was across the street right after we moved in. He went a dumpster-diving! Must have been some leftover food in there!

I love my dogs said...

A few years ago, we had a racoon that tried to take over our dogs' house in the backyard. I called animal control and they caught her. She was pregnant and looking for a nice warm place to have her babies. Our dogs were just sitting outside the house barking, but didn't try to go inside.

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Good Morning Misha! What a wonderful post...love the photo's of the footprints and Elvira and her babies etc. We had a big fat old raccoon in our barn before it burned but he disappeared when we got Shep...I don't think many animals would risk meeting him face to face. My step family in Canada had a young raccoon that they found near their home back in the 60's. They named him Bandit ;) One day the boys came to our house and asked if I could babysit Bandit while they went up town so I said SURE! He was so cute and he purred and did his little 'trill' and rode on my shoulder as I took him for a walk. He nipped my ear with those sharp little teeth but it wasn't so bad. I brought him in the house and put him on my Nana's bed...she wasn't too thrilled and was worried about her chenille bed spread which happened to be her best one but I assured her Bandit would be careful. Well lo and behold he looked her right in the eye and peed on her beautiful white bedspread! Nana wasn't too impressed. I never got to babysit Bandit again. I hope your day is a good one!
Maura :)

Amish Stories said...

I hate when i would see a raccoon as road kill on the side of the road, and thanks for the info on them because i knew very little other than they were cute. Richard