Monday, May 10, 2021

Covid Affects Wildlife Visitors?

Hubby continues feeding the wildlife in our north yard. His usual breakfast guests are birds, raccoons and box turtles.

We have seen several changes among the raccoons since COVID. The number of early morning raccoon diners has diminished from as many as 16 to about four or five. 


We have been watching one of them for several weeks as its coat has gradually changed color so much that we are calling it Blondie.


Blondie, left, visits Hubby's diner.

COVID-19 has probably shut down the raccoon hair salon, and Blondie can’t get a touch up to sport the hue of its pre-Covid self.


Another change is escalation of physical skirmishes. We have seen brief altercations between two raccoons before, but the losing combatant would retreat a short distance then continue chowing down.


That has dramatically changed. I haven’t researched it yet. My guess, though, is that it is probably also due to COVID-19, since so many changes these days are required by the powers that be. 


Just as in the human population, the dominant raccoon is either an elected raccoon official, an appointed enforcer or a private critter citizen who has assumed the role of shaming others into compliance. 


Of course, the raccoons are all compliant in the mask department. But up until the enforcer/shamer appeared, they would often be bunched together. Most times they were even bumping into each other as they gobbled the dry dog food Hubby had tossed out.


Lately, though, the enforcer/shamer attacks the raccoon diners. It drives most, if not all the other raccoons away, effectively creating social distancing. 


And surprise, surprise, it secures all the food for itself.


UPDATE: My researching of blonde(blond) raccoons has so far only turned up mentions of blonde raccoons that were born blonde. I have found one mention of aging raccoons' coats fading but nothing about a regular gray raccoon gradually turning blonde. 


Blondie remains a puzzle for me, and she has not shown up lately. The diner visitors lately continue to number four or five and have been a mostly peaceful lot with no unusual squabbles at feeding time, regardless of coat color. 

 

-30-  


9 comments:

  1. Hmmm, fascinating. I wonder if the Blond is sick...Seems the raccoons are a lot like humans in their behavior..squabbles and trying to One up their peers...good comparison.
    We have lots of birds in our trees that are getting a bit tipsy on the mulberries. they are too fast to photograph though.
    Hope your week goes well. Ours will be busy...finishing taxes, having our small group over for the first time in many months, Dave 's healing is slow but we take it one day at a time, Dr. appt. for him and PT for him too this week. Maybe a little "me " time for me too.
    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a mystery! Wondee if he could be an albino? Or maybe just some kind of genetic variation. I do know that cats get covid, but I don't know about raccoons.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Laughed out loud at the blonde raccoon needing her roots touched up. Concerned however at the change in their behavior. That enforcer sounds like he needs an attitude adjustment.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have not seen a blond one either, and I wish ours would go find another neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You have real live entertainment and all for the price of a some food. I like it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your raccoon story reminds me of the vintage book I am giving Quad grandson Harrison for his birthday - Rascal by Sterling North - a memoir of his pet raccoon. Have you read this? It is precious!!! For adults as well as children.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As a first time blog visitor, I enjoyed this post about the raccoons visiting in Covid times.and it is puzzling about the decline in visitors especially when there is free food.
    Thanks too for your recent and comment on my blog post.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hope the blond raccoon is OK. While we have them here in the canyon, the only one I've seen lives under a friend's house. There were plenty of them in Los Angeles though, they ate all the fish in our garden pond at one point and when out dog tried to fight them off, he was the one in trouble.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have never seen a blonde raccoon either, but I seen a skunk that instead of a white stripe, it had blonde stripes. There is a pic of it on my blog somewhere.

    ReplyDelete