A Friend? Or a Fiend?

A Cute Little Varmint

Yesterday, at about 10:30 in the morning, my mom suddenly yells from our vegetable garden, “Come!  Come quick!  Hurry!”  To which we all sprint out of the house assuming the worst, thinking something terrible had happened.  Katie, my sister, made it outside before me and yelled back, “Get your camera!”  What in the world was going on?  And why would I need my camera for it?!

But I did as she asked and raced back inside, grabbed my camera, and leaped back outside, only to catch this cute little varmint scurrying up a tree in our yard.

My sisters and I stood there Ooo-ing and Ahh-ing over it, the adorable rascal, as my family tried to figure out why in the world this raccoon was out in the middle of the day.  After all, such creatures are nocturnal, so this was a bit out of the ordinary.  My mom didn’t know what to do about it, since she heard it while she was working and saw it run by, while my dad’s response was, “Shoot it!”

Ever the hunter, we figured this would be his response.  However, it brought up some conflicting feelings towards this little creature.  It looked fairly young and was quite cute, causing Ashley, Katie, and I to want to name it and keep it as a pet.  At the same time, though, we know that raccoons are scavengers and that (s)he’d probably eat all our vegetables from the garden, not to mention the fact that s(he) might have rabies and we didn’t want our dogs (our ourselves) to contract it.

Our Raccoon (close-up)

This reminded me of when I went camping about a month ago.  We’d decided to leave the campsite to take a walk around dusk and when we returned, our neighbor was in our campsite.  She told us she was fending off the raccoons who’d come up and stolen some of our food.  It turns out, they took all our bread and got into the animal cracker package!  We quickly stowed our remaining food in our cars and sat down around the campfire, only to eventually hear their click, click, click and see them all over our picnic table.  It was a mother with four little raccoon cubs, and the babies were so adorable.

It’s a strange feeling, to both dislike an animal because it ate all your food and at the same time feel affection towards it because it’s cute and, frankly, because it’s another living creature that needs to eat also.  Just next time, I’d rather it not be our food.

 

Just to follow up for all the animal-lovers out there, my dad did not shoot the raccoon.  It climbed down the tree and ran into the woods, and so far our vegetable garden is still intact!

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