I’M RACCOON AND I’M VERY PROUD,
FOR I STANDOUT IN ANY CROWD!
I’M RECOGNIZED WITHOUT FAIL,
WITH MY BLACK MASK AND RINGED TAIL.
BUT DO YOU KNOW WHAT MAKES ME MAD,
AND AT TIMES, MAKES ME VERY SAD?
WHEN MY FRIENDS TRY TO CROSS AND BEAT,
A FAST CAR SPEEDING DOWN THE STREET.
SINCE RACCOONS ARE ACTIVE MOST NIGHTS,
THEY ARE BLINDED BY THE HEAD LIGHTS.
SOMETIMES THE DRIVER IS TO BLAME
BUT THE OUTCOME STILL IS THE SAME.
SO I GET HEARTSICK AND FEEL ILL,
WHEN HUMANS SAY THE WORDS “ROAD KILL.”
Today’s post centers around an animal most are very familiar with, the Raccoon, for they live in many of our neighborhoods as well as in the wild. Because of their reputation as a thief and their black mask-like coloring on their face, they are often called the “masked bandit.” Children think they are so “cute.” But if you have been visited by raccoons in your yard, in the middle of the night, you know they can get into a lot of mischief, and even be destructive. Since they are very social animals, if you see one raccoon there probably are more close by.
Since raccoons are creatures of the night, we don’t normally have the opportunity to see them during the daylight. Unfortunately, many times I have seen raccoons after they have been hit by a car and are lying along the road. This happens so often, not only with raccoons, but with all wildlife such as skunks, deer, snakes, even bears and moose. To my thinking, it is very sad and wish something could be done to reduce the occurrence of what most humans call “road kill.”
This Memorial Day holiday weekend is the threshold of Summer. This results in more vehicles on the road traveling to vacation destinations. I sincerely hope you will be vigilant, especially at night, of the animals that need to cross the roads to get food and water or return to their families.
With this in mind, I want to share the good news that I have learned about the many wildlife crossings (bridges, culverts, & underpasses) that have been, and are being, constructed across the U.S. and Canada. Those of you who know me, know of my affection for Montana. Montana now has 41 wildlife and fish crossing structures. California is now in the process of raising the funds to construct a wildlife crossing at the US101 freeway in Los Angeles. The 165 foot wide, 200 foot long bridge connecting the Santa Monica Mountains (Agoura Hills) on the South with the Santa Susana Mountains to the North. Thanks to my friend Beth Pratt and the National Wildlife Foundation, who have devoted much time and energy to this cause, it now appears that this will become a reality and wildlife (including the raccoons) will benefit greatly.