Random Wildlife EncountersApril 11, 2009
I’ve just had a bit of a fright. After making sure the kids were sleeping, I went out to the garage to retrieve the Easter goodies (we don’t hide things in the house, a lesson we learned one pre-Christmas day here when my daughter asked “Why are there a whole bunch of Littlest Pet Shops in your closet, and can I have them?”)
I noticed the door had blown open in the wind, which happens when I don’t lock it, but I thought nothing of it as I flicked the light switch. But as I was reaching up onto a high shelf to grab the bag of candy, I heard a sound from the darker depths of the garage. Looking, I saw nothing. But then, a moment later, a pair of eyes twinkled at me from the darkest corner, where I keep the snowblower.
“Whoah!” I cried, stumbling backwards. The candy bag hit the cement floor. Have I mentioned before how skittish I can be? Anyway, a moment later I saw a second set of eyes shining in the light from the ceiling bulb.
I whirled. “Get outta here!” I cried. Nothing happened. I grabbed the nearest object, which turned out to be a broken plastic street-hockey stick, and banged it against the wall. “Go on! Get!” Nothing.
After a moment, two small raccoons sauntered out of the shadows and ambled past me towards the door. One of them gave me a sidelong glance as they padded along, as if to say “You know we’ll just wait out there and come back, right, asshole?” Meanwhile, I was thinking about that accidental eunuch, Russian Alexander Kirilov.
They vanished into the night. I grabbed what I needed and came inside; this all happened just minutes ago.
These may be the same two raccoons I surprised our first night in this house, when they were digging through the trashbins. We moved the garbage and recyclables into the garage the next day. I have found evidence of other visits; on other nights when I’ve forgotten to lock up, I’ve noticed a trashcan knocked over, and wondered if it was the wind. Probably not.
Raccoons are cute and all, but they’re just so brazen — they know their role, their work as sneak thieves, and they know they’re unlikely to be shot over kitchen scraps. They’re like crows and seagulls; the smartest animals learned a long time ago to embrace urbanity, not hide from it.
Stupider animals, like the turkeys who showed up earlier today, run when they see humans. But then again, I’ve never served raccoon at Thanksgiving. So there’s that.