It’s the cutest time of year in our neighbourhood - baby raccoon season!
Almost every year, a mother raccoon raises her little ones in the space between our building and the next. Raccoons can be destructive and come into conflict with people, but we’ve never had a real problem with this family so we get to just enjoy watching the kids’ antics.
Raccoons can have up to seven pups (this mom has five!) and like most mammals, all parental care is provided by the mother. The mother will nurse her pups for several months, and the family will typically stay together as a group until the next litter is born.
It makes sense for the kids to stay with mom for a decent amount of time. There’s a lot to learn if you’re a little raccoon, especially in a city! Raccoons have adapted phenomenally to city life, and there is increasing evidence that populations in urban areas are better at problem-solving and, in the simplest terms, smarter than rural raccoons. This makes sense! If you’re a raccoon in the city, you can’t just rely on wild instincts to survive. If you’re smart enough to figure out how to cross the street, how to open garbage containers, how to get into a dumpster, then you’re more likely to survive and have kids. As a result, city populations select for raccoons with more brain power.
Here’s mom, watching and probably learning as we speak! I call her Matilda.
These kids will stay with mom for the rest of the summer, learning everything about how to navigate a city. They have already started with the crucial lessons on How to Eat the Humans’ Decorative Plants and How to Knock Over Birdbaths Every Night. They’re off to a good start!