Have we been sub-letting without knowing it?

We live where the Los Angeles sprawl hits the sea. Not too rural. But this evening, as we were enjoying the twilight on our porch swing, Jerry and I had a very rural visitor. I must have heard something to our right and when I glanced over at the jacuzzi, where our back wall meets our side fence, there was a big, bushy ringed tail and attached to it was a round furry body and a pointed, masked face. Looking right at me.

Jerry's phone 136“Jerry! Jerry!” I whispered to make him look, too. The raccoon looked right at us both and turned as if to jump off the wall, hesitated, then turned back and reached its paws down uncertainly as if to jump onto the jacuzzi cover instead. I was so excited–my brother had a pet raccoon when I was little–but afraid, too. Adult coons can be fierce. I was telling it not to come into our yard while I was telling Jerry not to chase it away. He didn’t know what I wanted, so he took pictures instead.

The raccoon was clearly uncertain about which way to leap. I knew there had to be a reason it hadn’t disappeared as soon as it saw us, especially when we were swinging, then getting to our feet, talking, returning its gaze, aiming a device at it.

Jerry's phone 120 Then I saw why. We had a board leaning against the open door to the area under the tub–and peeking around it was a smaller nose and mask. Then another. And a third. Three half-grown raccoons meandered out from behind it and looked at us curiously. For all we know they may have been born and raised in there. (Our cat Sudoku has been sniffing around and peering behind the board with a great deal of interest lately.)

Jerry's phone 127Mother Rac sized up the situation and without a sound, jumped onto the cover, padded across it and peered over the edge.

Jerry's phone 128

Jerry's phone 132“Kids, time to move.”Jerry's phone 133As one of them started to climb toward her, she balanced on her back feet and stretched both front paws down toward the cub. Cupping her paws behind its ears, she pulled it up onto the level area, grabbing hold of the hair on the top of its head with her teeth at the last minute to help get it up over the edge.

Jerry's phone 134One up, two to go.Jerry's phone 135Two up and leaving–“Wait for me!” The littlest one, seemingly stranded, trotted around to the steps, climbed them and easily leaped to the top of the hot tub and from there to the wall.

Now who do we report a family of four* nearly-adult raccoons to, who can capture and let them loose in El Dorado Park–before they get in trouble and get turned in to Animal Control?

*Is that a fifth one on the fence in the sixth picture?



About Jessica Renshaw

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One Response to Have we been sub-letting without knowing it?

  1. tedrey says:

    Half my life ago, I lived in a semi-palatial estate in a secluded area in Ann Arbor. We rented the top floor. (Joseph Brodsky sublet a room from us!) And racoons sublet the flat roof.

    A tree grew a couple of feet outside the window, and the male ‘coon went up it to court the female (noisily). When he was tardy, she’d go down to look for him. After an appropriate interval, there were tiny squeaks from the roof.

    The first time we saw the babies was the evening when the mother brought the four of them down the tree. (I could have reached out and touched them, but the window didn’t open; maybe she knew that, she sure ignored us.) They reached the crotch of the tree, but couldn’t manage the last six feet, so she trotted off into the bushes leaving them whimpering. Half an hour later she climbed up again, and the coonlets followed her back up to the roof.

    The next night one of the cubs was brave enough to follow her down on her wanderings. The third night, only one frantic coonlet was left behind in the tree. The fourth night all four tagged after Mama into the dark wood.

    We never saw them again.

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