Racoon

A raccoon caught on a game camera unsuccessfully tries to get at a seed bag on the table. The cat in the chair could care less.

Is your neighborhood feeling more crowded than usual? When something goes bump in the night do you hear “it” scuttle off into the darkness when you open the door? When you shine a flashlight around your yard at night do you see eyes looking back? If so, remember before your neighborhood was developed, wild animals were there. They’re moving back and some are a real pain in the neck.

Raccoons —These masked bandits have long made towns part of their habitat. Rifling through trash cans and eating pet food left outside, they can be a real pest. Raccoons will eat almost anything. Their hand-like front paws enable them to open most containers. I have to tightly batten down the hatches to keep them out of the sunflower seed I store on the porch for bird feeders. Agile climbers, they sometimes even get into attics where they have been known to raise their young.

Paul Risk is a professor emeritus and biologist in the College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. Email: paulrisk2@gmail.com.