It’s been a wonderful month for me and wildlife. I’ve been in Florida for a good few months now, but my experience with the native species has been sadly lacking. To date, besides the army of cats and dogs that are scraping out a living along the highways of Jacksonville, the occasional blurred glimpses of the Red Cardinal family that have set up home in the trees near our house, accidentally disturbing the lizards inhabiting our back garden and getting The Hublet to take care of the various dead rodent gifts that the cat proudly brings in, there’s been a distinct lack of Florida’s larger critters
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen quite a few Armadillo’s…but sadly they’ve been pancake flat on the side of the road, slowly cooking in the sunshine. I’ve seen what I suspected was a Coyote…also squished flat, decorated with tyre tracks.
However finally, wonderfully, I’ve seen my first living, breathing, tyre-track-free critter and oh, it was glorious. Sort of.
I was honoured to be able to spend some time watching Raccoons, indeed a veritable army of the fuzzy beasts, a mammally carpet of black and white cuteness. The Hublet and I stood and stared in awe as this furry family munched away, feeding themselves from the little piles of food that had been kindly left for them by the supermarket workers.
Yes, that’s right, my first sighting of Raccoons took place in a Walmart car park. It’s not quite the inspiring natural setting in which I imagined I would glimpse my first beasties, however beggars can’t be choosers and I accepted the moment.
We noticed that beyond the crowd of feasting Raccoons was a lurking army of cats, clearly waiting for their chance to have a turn at the food piles. This made me slightly concerned as, although Raccoons are undoubtedly cute, they are one of the leading reasons for cats contracting rabies, which in turn increases the chances of a well-meaning person petting a kitty and catching the virus.
Regardless of the veterinary issues going on, it was nice to stand still and watch the activities of a large group of Raccoons. They are very cute, look incredibly huggable and have an obvious intelligence in their eyes, which is nice to find in a wild thing and not too common as it’s clearly absent when you’re glared at by a boggled-eyed pigeon.
I’m going to try to go back another day at around dusk and see if I can take a few photos of the furry army feeding away, almost oblivious to the gawping humans onlookers.