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Where We Left Off:
It appears that some older members of the Chipmunk Mafia have been assassinated by predators! There’s some goods new: two young chipmunks, believed to be Munka Kelly’s children, have been spotted.
Eyes in the Night:
Oliver, Gus, and the human staff have been impressed with the GardePro trailcam. There are some settings I should check—mainly the file names which on the Browning camera have the date in them. Having this second camera in a busy location has opened up a new world of our investigations. We can finally confirm wildlife, free-roaming pets, and cryptid sightings with more than scat analysis.
Trailcam 1 is still setup at Fort Winchester. We have only seen partial views of raccoons from that camera. Cam2 has given us some great night footage of the trash pandas waddling through the grass looking for food. There appear to be four in total who regularly visit. There’s a trio that’s always close together; then there’s a solo one. My observation skills are limited by human eyes untrained to see specific differences in each raccoon, but I still believe there are four.
What’s rather interesting is that the same corner of the property where these raccoons appear is also a spot for a lone opossum. It also has an adorable waddling walk, but it’s easy to tell the difference from a raccoon. Some nights are producing less clear videos and images, but because this location is so popular, we have a lot of clips to choose from.
When Gus is in that area, he sniffs around. He doesn’t show concern about raccoons and opossums other than gleaning information from their scents. There are also free-roaming felines that come through this area and we find that unacceptable. One cat has a collar. The others don’t.
You might be aware of Linda Belcher’s love for her alley raccoons behind Bob’s Burgers. Besides the Belchers (and Teddy and Ginger), there are other pop culture raccoons that aren’t as famous. Housebroken’s masked bandits appear in Honey and Chief’s house and around their California neighborhood. The group therapy clients’ raccoon frenemy is simply called Raccoon. He’s known for his dexterity which impresses the hell out of the other animals in group.
In the cities or suburbs, raccoons have that reputation for digging through dumpsters. It seems our raccoons don’t need to actually be “trash pandas” because they find enough to eat in their natural setting. I’m not saying they haven’t tried to pull out a tasty treat from the caged compost pile—someone has.
On top of that, raccoons are usually only mentioned in conversations about rabies. I’m not downplaying rabies. That is a horrible disease that spreads easily. Here are more raccoon facts from the NJDEP-F&W:
Raccoons bear one litter of young per year. Breeding occurs from January to February. Young are born in March to April after a gestation of about 60 to 73 days. The usual litter size ranges from one to eight young with three or four being most common. At birth, both the ear and eye canals are closed and do not open until the animal is about three weeks of age. The young raccoons are weaned at between two and three months of age but continue to hunt with their mother and are under her care for about one year. At this time the year-old young will disperse from its mother’s home area. Most young only move a mile or two at this time but there are records of young males moving as far as 150 miles. Females first mate at one year of age while males do not breed until two.
What Gus, Oliver, and I have observed from studying the trailcam images is that the visitors keep to their own kind. Opossums aren’t mingling with raccoons even though they’re also nocturnal. The fox runs through all on his or her own too. The other smaller critters might be afraid of being eaten that fox. The deer (and Jersey Devil-Deer) and the bears are the largest and they also don’t intentionally cross-species mingle. Unless there’s a local issue for the animal community to debate and perhaps, vote upon, the nocturnal creatures are a segregated lot.
Off-world, things may be different especially because Earth’s day and night don’t mean anything to other planets. The Guardians of the Galaxy is a team of misfits that would fall into the anti-hero category. They’re definitely heroes, but they have been known for thievery. Two of their members are Rocket and Groot, best friends forever.
Rocket is often called Rocket Raccoon (though originally he was Rocky) because that’s what he looks like to the people telling the stories. He will however, quickly correct anyone who calls him a raccoon. Rocket is a weapons expert and strategist. I personally have not watched Guardians III because I was warned that it has a lot of torture of Rocket, my favorite character of the team. His origins were told and retold through the medium of comics. It’s a heartbreaking scene and I’ve only read three panels of it!
So this got me to thinking…
What if our nightly masked bandits are part of Rocket’s species and not Earthly raccoons? What if they, too, are from Halfworld or some other place? How crazy would that be?
Gus and Oliver studied the footage and have assigned me to be in charge of keeping the cameras running. If I notice any of the raccoons fashioning tools or weapons, I think we would have some groundbreaking information to share with the science world.
P.S. – I already have a suit ready that might possibly fit a juvenile Halfworlder Raccoon.
A native of the Keystone Quadrant, Rocket Raccoon began his life as a protector of an unidentified humanoid race known as the Loonies. They came to the planet hundreds of years prior when psychiatrists, searching for a place to house and study their criminally insane away from the contempt of everyday society, founded an asylum on planet Halfworld. Wanting their new environment to be as friendly as possible, the founders brought furry creatures to comfort their patients while they built robots to help care for them. For years, the psychiatrists studied patients on Halfworld before returning home and leaving their patients under the sole care of the remaining robots. As time passed the robots became sentient and longed to leave Halfworld. They genetically engineered the Earth-like animals, creating humanized caretakers to function in their stead, and withdrew to build a ship capable of breaking through the force field surrounding the planet—another security measure left behind by the founders. —Marvel.com
We opened an investigation into the four raccoons who visit the estate and surrounding woodlands on a regular basis. It appears that three of them stick together closely while the fourth is a loner, perhaps not a team player. These critters keep their distance from other nocturnal creatures. They don’t mix with others. Further investigation and research will hopefully tell us if these are terrestrial raccoons or genetically engineered creatures from a place like Halfworld.
Case Status: Open