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O.K., my "two cents" worth. Raccoons are scavengers and junk-food junkies. I mean there is very little they won't eat. As a licensed rehaber I can tell you that a momma and her babies will find food..even if it's bugs. When we rehab them, we are supposed to feed them what they would eat in the wild...if that is not available (live mice or vermin) then we do the next best thing. Our raccoon (which is a pet and we've had since her eyes were not even opened and we bottle fed her) loves crawfish, grapes, peanut butter, dog food, cat food, raisins...and if you have a sucker in your mouth...she'll grab it and run. They love raw eggs (that's why farmers hate them, they raid the henhouse). So, I will tell you that if you feed them, be prepared to have them hang around for awhile. We just released some baby skunks that we found in our pastures (the mother was killed by coyotes). After watching them closely for a few days for any injuries, we put them outside in a pen with cat food and water and a tiny "dog-loo" (dog house). After two weeks, they dug under the fence and left. They prefer bugs and frogs and icky things. But they were too young to fend for themselves when we got them. Yes, skunks and raccoons carry mites, fleas, ticks and rabies...sometimes distemper so you really need to be careful. (However, if you've EVER seen an animal, first hand, that has rabies...you know immediately that they are not normal...we had to shoot a coyote in our barn that was rabid). Our raccoon gets her yearly shots. But I'm like Zem...I can't turn them away. But we have SO MANY animals and food dishes around...they are bound to find a treat somewhere...and we have two ponds so the raccoons hang out down there cause they like to "wash" their food. They have no saliva so that is why they wet their food down if they can. If you have any other questions, just ask.

Jesse Rene' Bell
Claremore, OK
Zone 6

From: "Pamela J. Evans" <gardenqueen@gbronline.com>
Reply-To: gardenchat@hort.net
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Subject: Re: [CHAT] interesting visitor
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 11:27:15 -0500

I would, just set it off at some distance from the house. But like I
said, Jesse's the real expert at such things. I'm just a big softie when
it comes to critters (except for black widows, brown recluses,
mosquitoes and copperheads).

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "Kitty" <kmrsy@comcast.net>
Reply-To: gardenchat@hort.net
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 11:00:23 -0500

Zem, There's no question about your feelings, but I'd like to ask the others about not skunks, but raccoons. I frequently put out a bowl of cat food for a stray cat when he comes by, but he never eats it all. So, when he's done it's still there in the FL room, which I can see from my tv chair, or sometimes it's on the carpet just inside the sliding door which I keep open til I go to bed. Occasionally a raccoon will come and polish it off, but I yell at them when they try to come inthe house and they leave, although not happily. If they come back several times, within minutes, I shut the door. I have also put a bowl on the front porch a few times when the cat was out front.

Last night, a small raccoon came by the FL room but there was no bowl and I told him he couldn't come in. A bit later I noticed my cat watching intently out the front window. Wehn I went to the front door, there were mom and 3 little babies, they left the porch with dashed hopes of finding a meal. I watched as they lumbered off across the street.

I no longer feed birds except in the one expensive bird feeder that closes when weight hits the perch. The raccoons destroyed all other feeders. The plants beneath the remaining feeder have been smashed. I don't like to encourage racoons in my yard because of the damage they do. However, I don't begrudge any animal a meal and I feel badly for their plight. Watching that mama and babies leave with no luck last night was a sad sight. I'm thinking about getting a bag of cheap stuff for them, but fear I'll regret the results.

So what do you all think? Should I feed the raccoon family?


Jesse Rene' Bell
Claremore, OK
Zone 6

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