Backyard Wildlife

photo credit to:: http://www.flickr.com/photos/debbieohi/

I woke up last night at 3:30am to Oslo angrily barking at the door. There was a raccoon (a BIG cute one!) trying to get into our trash.

We live in a basement suite and have a big backyard, but this was our first encounter with backyard wildlife. There’s squirrels of course, and there has been the occasional skunk in the neighbourhood, but never in our own backyard. I put Oslo away (Jersey, apparently, is totally fine with Raccoons eating our trash and wasn’t bothered in the least) and secured our garbage bin a little better.

I have mixed feelings about these furry guys. For one, it should be noted that I am a lover of all animals– “pest” or not. I have a very deeply rooted belief that these guys have an inalienable right to live their lives, raise their babies, make their dens & scavenge for food in peace. When you live in a city, that means that your attics, crawl spaces,  garbage bins, or backyards will sometimes become collateral damage. It’s just a fact of life. Just like we’re just trying to live OUR lives, the raccoons are trying to do the same. So cut them some slack and leave them alone.

BUT! With that said, I also realize that these guys do occasionally carry diseases, they can be quite aggressive when provoked, and feeding them (or having a consistent food source on your property like a tasty garden or an easily-accessed garbage bin) will only encourage them to return to your yard.

My tips? Avoid these guys when possible, give them a little space, contain your garbage well… and remember, they’re living, feeling, intelligent creatures who are just trying to feed themselves and feed their babies. Not so different than us, really. A little respect & compassion goes a long way. My apologies go out to last night’s raccoon– Sorry my dog scared you, and sorry that I took away your easy meal. I hope you found something tasty to gobble up somewhere else.

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