Road kill, Flatbush Avenue and Floyd Bennett Field. This raccoon’s jaw shows you the teeth that lets this omnivore eat practically anything, from your garbage to turtle eggs. In our region, cars are the animal’s only “predator.”

7 Responses to “Raccoon”

  1. 1 Melinda February 28, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Great picture! I recently read about raccoons becoming a destructive force in many places because they really don’t have any predators, other than cars like you say, in Where the Wild Things Were. (I wrote a post about the book here: http://melindacopp.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/a-world-without-lions-and-tigers-and-bears-oh-my/) Cars and roads can be so detrimental to wildlife, but I guess in the case of raccoons, roadkill might have a benefit or two, as awful as that sounds.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing!

    • 2 mthew February 28, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Yes, raccoons are one of those species that co-exist very well with humans, who have gotten rid of their predators and provided them with a bounty of food. They are now one of the dominant animals of suburbia and urbania. As a result of this skewing, they are a serious threat to other animals — birds, reptiles, amphibians, — and, because of rabies, sometimes a serious threat to domestic pets and humans.

      My fellow NY naturalist Melissa Cooper has written much about raccoons in Manhattan and you can find her posts on the topic here: http://outwalkingthedog.wordpress.com/?cat=623314.

  2. 3 Out Walking the Dog February 28, 2012 at 11:04 am

    What a photo, Matthew, and what a mouth. Mighty impressive. And perhpas a look at those versatile biting/ripping/chomping teeth will remind people that these “cute” little animals are also quite ferocious and should not be fed.
    Remarkably, NYC contained the recent rabies epidemic with an intensive vaccination program. I love wathcing raccoons, but the unnaturally high numbers of raccoons in cities & suburbs is a serious problem.

    Thanks for referring readers to my raccoon posts for more info. Just this morning, I referenced Stanley Kunitz’s marvelous poem, Raccoon Journal, which I’ve quoted from in the past.

    • 4 mthew February 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      The other photo includes the relatively fresh ejecta of viscera, but I decided not to go with that one since even I couldn’t stomach it.

      As crazy as it sounds, it’s true that some people feed them directly. I’ve seen a older woman in a wheelchair at the W103rd St. entrance to Central Park, who feeds them in the evening, and has them literally crawling all over her. So they’re tame enough to move towards people, and people, drowning in cuteness, get closer to them. Of course, a rabid raccoon will approach as well….

  3. 5 Meemsnyc March 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Last year, I saw 2 raccoons in my yard. Once in daytime. It must of had rabies since they are nocturnal. Also, once I saw one on my front porch. The thing about raccoons, they don’t scare away easily.

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