Young Raccoon With Injured Foot

As I’m watching my multitude of wildlife cameras positioned throughout various places in the backyard, I notice a raccoon raiding my bird feeder.  It’s actually a nightly occurrence, so I’m rather used to the invasion. I occasionally spray hot pepper sauce on the food, but this was one of the days that I neglected to do that.

As I go out to the backyard and shine my flashlight at the raccoon raiding the feeder, I notice a pair of golden eyes staring at me from the trees.  Actually make that 3 pairs of golden eyes staring at me. Two young raccoons were in the trees, as well as a young possum.

Anyway, one of the young raccoons in the trees I recognize. It’s the one with an injured foot. For having an injured (and it appears completely useless) foot, it has amazing strength to climb.

With one hand I keep my flashlight trained on the injured raccoon, and I slowly walk back towards the house to grab my camera. Surprisingly I make it back out with my camera and flashlight in tow and position the lighting towards the injured raccoon.  Keep in mind, it’s pitch dark outside so I have zero light other than my flashlight, and the flash from the camera.

Below is a picture of the injured raccoon. You can see how it’s right front paw just dangles as it’s climbing down the tree. I tried to zoom in on this picture to see if I could find any obvious wound or injury, but there was nothing obvious.

In theory I could try and capture the animal and take it to a wildlife rescue, but I have yet to see a raccoon who has a pleasant demeanor once captured and I really don’t want to get attacked. And no, I’m not going to shoot it to put it out of it’s misery, that’s not really an option for me.

Young Raccoon With Injured Foot

Young Raccoon With Injured Foot

Camille - Awww, how sad! I wonder what could have happened to the leg? Do you have a live trap large enough to catch the little guy? His leg is obviously broken really bad and needs to be fixed. He may be making it pretty good out there right now, but I’m sure that he must be in pain and he is also at a major disadvantage protection wise too. I hope that you figure out what to do and hopefully catch him and take him to wildlife rescue/rehab. They can fix him right up and set him free again!August 22, 2013 – 11:09 pm

Shreela - I’ve always heard that raccoons could become quite nasty when scared. DH found an orphaned baby (before we met) and when Mom never showed back up, he took it in and raised it. It became fairly tame, so of course DH became attached and kept it longer than he originally planned. But it was male, and eventually became too rambunctious to live inside – climbing drywall, playing too roughly, so DH did an extended release.

About 5 years ago, I heard rustling on the back porch where I kept the outside cats’ kibble bowls. I saw a raccoon as I peeked out the window, but instead of running away, it stood on its hind legs and stared straight into my eyes for a long time. I called DH over and it stared at him too. The kibble was gone BTW. DH figured someone in the neighborhood had somehow tamed it a little, but I was too nervous to go outside, so I slowly poured some kibble from a scoop into the bowl as the raccoon watched. I even got a phone pic stored somewhere. We thought that night was so cute.

Then comes the 2011 drought, the same year our neighbors moved and left us their chickens. Around the 3rd night of having the chickens in our backyard, I didn’t latch their gate correctly and of course they escaped. DH was supposed to catch them again that night, since they’re easier to catch in the dark, but before he went out, I heard screaming and saw a raccoon chasing the adult female. By the time I’d gathered a flashlight, the female chicken was gone. DH collected the rooster and one of the younger chickens, but couldn’t find the last young chicken, so he hoped it made it into a tree and went to bed. I heard a scream later in the night, and never found that young chicken again.

That same summer, some neighbors said their outside cats went missing (by this time, I was bringing my outside cat inside at nights because of these reports. But after the chicken/raccoon ordeal, I figured it was raccoons that were hungry due to the drought that were capturing people’s outside small pets. I quit feeding my outside cat outside altogether, which made it easier to bring her inside at nights, but also didn’t lure “cute” raccoons our way anymore. Our rooster survived long enough to decide the neighboring mini-farm was more tempting, since they had many chickens for him. He’s still there, as I learned to recognize his particular crow. I’m guessing maybe not being in drought made the neighboring mini-farm’s chickens safer from raccoons.August 24, 2013 – 4:16 am

texdr - That’s quite a story!August 24, 2013 – 7:25 am

texdr - I do have a large trap, that’s still in the box. I’m still debating exactly what to doAugust 24, 2013 – 7:26 am

Camille - Wow Shreela- I’ve never heard of racoons catching and killing cats- kittens yes, but full grown cats- no! Sounds more like a fox or coyote was coming down during the drought and stealing live food for themselves.
Cool story though! Thanks for sharing that. 🙂August 24, 2013 – 2:08 pm

Shreela - I don’t know for a fact that the raccoons got the cats, but I did see the raccoon chasing the chicken the same night two chickens disappeared after I heard screaming. And I haven’t heard more-than-usual neighbor reports of small pet disappearances since that summer. So with all that, I’m guessing raccoons don’t normally “hunt” unless the situation is dire, like food-loss during droughts. I still think raccoons are cute, super-smart, and can become semi-tame with proper interactions, but they also scare me when it comes to protecting small animals – just in case.August 24, 2013 – 7:54 pm

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