An Empty Nest?

No, not us. We already know that we’re empty nesters.

No, I’m talking about Rocky and Raquel, the raccoons that live in our neighborhood, often on our roof under the eaves from the garage.

You’ll recall that Raquel has been cruising about (pictures here, here, and here) for the last couple of months with at least three kits. But ever since we got back from our New York City vacation about two weeks ago, I haven’t heard any of them gallivanting around on the roof.

Tonight when I went to take the trash out, I spooked something large on the roof right outside the door. It was well after dark so I could only see an outline for a second when it was silhouetted against the sky, but there wasn’t much doubt that it was a large raccoon. Later, I’ve heard some movement on the roof, both over by their garage hidey-hole and by where they drink the water that condensates and runs off from the air conditioner.

But I’ve only heard one animal, not three or four.

I’m speculating wildly, but I think it’s probably Raquel and that the kits are grown enough to all be off on their own.

The question is where “off on their own” is. Given that we’ve had this cycle going on for years here, you would think that almost every house would have their own raccoon tenant. But while we do see a lot more than I ever expected to see in the LA suburbs, it’s not exactly a crowd of trash bandits.

I suspect the other half of the circle of life is at work here. We have some big hawks that could easily pick off a cat or a small, young raccoon. We have dogs in almost every back yard and while most of them are just, well, dogs, one of them has got to get lucky and catch a critter every now and then. We have our share of coyotes who roam the area from time to time and they could take down a full-sized raccoon, although it might be a pretty equal battle.

But I think that the biggest “predator” is probably the automobile. One will occasionally spot a raccoon carcass out there among the other suburban road kill. I don’t know what the average life span of a suburban raccoon is, but I’ll bet it would be a lot longer if they learned to stay out of the streets.

Time to put the TrailCam back out there.

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Filed under Critters, Los Angeles

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