Another Raccoon Mystery

Last night about 9PM The Long-Suffering Wife and I were watching television in the living room when we heard a couple of loud thumps on the skylight in the ceiling right over us. This was followed by a couple minutes of loud scratching and clawing. I assumed that it was raccoons again (they’ve been back almost every night for the last couple of weeks), but it was odd that they were messing around with the skylight. I started to get concerned that they might be in the attic rather than on the roof. That would be a major problem, a real escalation in the Willett vs. Raccoon battle.

I finally grabbed a flashlight and went out into the dark with Jessie. It took all of a second to see the raccoon lying on top of the skylight.


The raccoon’s behavior was really odd. Normally if they’re on the roof and you hit them with a light, they will take off into the trees or into a neighbor’s yard. This one just lay there on top of the skylight.

In addition, you always see them on their feet, moving around. This one was lying down, hugging the curved skylight almost like a human might “spoon” with a body pillow.

I watched for several minutes, moving around to get closer and get a better view, but the raccoon never got up, never got spooked and ran. Part of the time it had its head down on the skylight but it would occasionally look up at me, yellow and red eyes glinting, before laying its head down again.

A couple of times I saw it moving, almost like it was “dry humping” the skylight. Very weird, but it explained the scratching.


Sorry the pictures are of low quality, but the only light was my flashlight and the only camera I had was my iPhone.

After watching for about ten minutes, I was satisfied that at least the critter was on the roof instead of in the attic, so I left it there. I thought about getting the garden hose to scare it off, but then didn’t bother. All it would do is get Jessie soaked as she cruised the yard near me, and she hates water.

It did occur to me later that with the really odd behavior and the fact that it wasn’t leaving the skylight, a place where I had never seen or heard them, it might be sick or injured. Not that there would be anything to do about it — they’re cute, but they’re considered vermin and can carry rabies.

Nonetheless, this morning I took a second to see if there was a dead or dying raccoon still on the roof. There wasn’t. But I could see something else that wasn’t right, so I got the ladder and climbed up there.

On the “uphill” side of the skylight, there’s a piece of metal flashing that deflects water (if and when it ever rains again here) around the skylight. It sticks out four or five inches on each side, and while the east side was normal, the west side was bent down a bit.

20140305-213151.jpgMy first thought was that perhaps the raccoon had been using the flashing to scratch its stomach or something.

Near the top of the roof, three or four feet away from this spot, near the brick chimney, there was a pile of “scat”, aka raccoon poop. Most of it was all dried out from the sun, but there was some fresh, gooey material there as well. I thought it looked odd, since all of the other scat looked like, well, poop, where the fresh stuff looked darker, more liquid, a smear rather than a pile. I remember at the time thinking that maybe the raccoon (assuming that the fresh stuff had been left last night by our skylight humper) had diarrhea or this was some additional evidence that it had, in fact, been sick in some way.

It was only as I looked at these pictures fifteen minutes ago in preparation for writing this that the pieces fell into place.

I don’t know anything, but I think there’s an explanation that fits all of the facts. While the gooey smear was next to the scat, it wasn’t diarrhea. I think it was blood. But the raccoon wasn’t injured. I think the raccoon couldn’t or wouldn’t run away, was lying down, and left that bloody smear because it was giving birth. It is spring, after all.

I’m now so glad that I didn’t turn on that hose. If I’m right, that mama raccoon needed all of the slack I could cut her. And I need all the karma points I can get, even if I luck into them by accident.

Now I’m going to have to keep an eye on the spa in about three months.

Leave a comment

Filed under Critters

Please join the discussion, your comments are encouraged!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.