Saturday, January 28, 2006
Neighbor in Need or Devious Predator?
Sometime in late November, early December, we became aware of how frequently racoons were visiting our yard. I think I've mentioned in previous posts the challenges that critters like racoons can pose for the small scale poultry enthusiast. Like all animals, racoons need to eat--and when they get the chance to eat chickens they will not hesitate!
We were particularly alarmed when we began seeing racoons in the daytime, as this is supposed to indicate that the racoon is sick. However, the visitor in the picture was very persistent about his visits to our cat dish--and typically showed up mostly in the day. We noticed this racoon only had use of 3 legs, with a back paw always being favored, so we began calling this racoon "Limpy".
Limpy comes for the cat food, as do the squirrels and occasional possum. Poor Limpy doesn't move very fast, even when we chase him off--and sometimes shows up with large gashes in his back, which we suspect come from being cornered by dogs or possibly other racoons. We have felt rather guilty chasing off a racoon so visibly injured, and with a rather uneasy feeling we do allow Limpy to eat from the cat dish sometimes...I hope we don't regret this in the future.
Did I mention we also have some of the fattest squirrels I've ever seen in my life? I think between the steady stream of cat kibble and chicken feed, they are living off the fat of our land!