First I should start off by saying these are urban raccoons. Although my area is considered rural, we live, quite literally, next to Penn State University and, if all of the independent boroughs and townships that make up the "State College metro" area were added together? We would be the 3rd largest city in PA after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. These raccoons are also heavily influenced by college student behavior because raccoons are smart and quick to learn. So let's just say they are...quirky.
Also, at some point, my husband decided these raccoons all had French names. The very first raccoon we saw on the deck, he named Despereaux. And if you know the TV show "Psych," you know that name. Now? He has given them voices and personalities to match the behaviors.
Our place is also on something of a "raccoon superhighway" so there are at least 30 raccoons passing through the area each night, but not all of them stop. There are plenty of dumpsters to keep these guys fat and happy.
Sorry for the darkness of some of the photos, but we aren't really set up for night time photography. Of the ones that venture onto our porch, there are four that we see but we don't have photos of - Mama Chaos (the twins' mother), Coco (as in Channel) and her kit, Leroux, and Nostradamus who is roughly the size of a small child. Though you would think it would be difficult to tell them apart, surprisingly, it's not.
First up are The Chaos Twins - Jaques and Peppin. They are juveniles, always together, likely born this spring, and won't go fully nocturnal until closer to winter. They like water, mud, and trying to destroy the deck by hanging from the planters and just generally causing chaos. Hence their name. They also leave gifts, usually of the kitchen utensil variety. So far, we have been gifted with a potato masher, two dish towels, a palm-tree shaped bottle scrubber, a pasta fork, and this lovely mixing spoon. They have also left Swiffer dusters, an empty box of raisins, and a rubber squeaky pig, among other things.
The Raccoon Spoon:
The Chaos Twins:
Jaques likes to take a bath in the bird water:
D'Artagnan is a slightly older raccoon and often seen in the company of a super-sized raccoon, Ed has nicknamed Robespierre. D'Artagnan will watch you suspiciously but keep on with his business while Robespierre runs at the first sign of anything that might be trouble, which is funny as he is roughly the size of a 5 gallon bucket. It is also why we don't have a photo of him, either.
Despereaux, the first raccoon we saw, is also a juvenile and still learning how to properly "raccoon" - meaning out at night and sleep during the day:
And last but not least is Little Miss Fuzzbut who is a bit problematic. She is most certainly female and, according to the PA game commission, most likely a failed attempt to domesticate a raccoon. Probably by college students, given her pickiness when eating and preferred diet. She has no fear of people, understands how to work both doors and door knobs and, if given the chance, would happily come inside and make herself at home here. She also naps on our deck off and on all night. Given that our deck has played home to everything from chinchillas to servals (African wild cats) to emus that have been kept and then released by students, we feel this is probably accurate.
Currently, we are working with the game commission to trap Miss Fuzzbutt (Ed didn't give her a French name, for whatever reason - probably because he adores her) and if she is caught, will be relocated to a nearby animal sanctuary as she is clearly having trouble with the concept that she is a wild animal. Currently, she is proving that she is smarter than we are. She is also super cute, though. And very, very small.