My name is Rita. My family and I live around College and Shaw in Toronto. And I sure do love the city this time of year.
Dips in the pool after sunset … Snacking on leftovers from an epic BBQ … Starry nights lounging on the new back deck …
The panicked screams of a human as I brush up against their legs.
Aaahh, spring. It’s this raccoon’s favourite season.
I always hear people talking about autumn. And yeah, autumn’s fine. But we raccoons are colour-blind. So, the whole leaves-changing-colour thing is lost on me.
No, I’m all about the spring. Give me a freshly planted garden to uproot, and a couple of dozen male raccoons to shag and I’m happy. It’s the perfect time to make a little mischief and to re-establish one’s presence in the neighbourhood.
Speaking of neighbourhoods, I really am partial to College and Shaw.
It’s a happening area with lots of young families, a vibrant nightlife and some excellent schools … that I can climb.
Not that it matters. As long as a neighbourhood has enough food and shelter to pilfer, we’re happy.
But you, human people of Toronto — you are apparently not so happy.
You seem not to want us around. You recoil in our presence, or chase after us with a stick.
One of you threw a tomato at my son.
A rotten, albeit delicious, tomato. No wonder he wears a mask.
Last week, I was on top a garden shed and a woman yelled such a blue streak of expletives at me. I nearly fell off the edge. I mean, really! If you can no longer sit and poo on someone’s roof without being cursed at, well, we’ve really lost all civility.
So what can be done?
I gather you all are not going to up and leave. And there’s no way in hell I’m living in Barrie or Orillia. So, maybe if you just get to know us a little better, we’ll find some peaceful co-existence?
Here are seven fascinating factoids that you may not know about the Procyon Lotor (sheesh, humans, that means raccoon):
1. Raccoons have remarkably human-like hands.
It’s true. You should see how fast I’m typing this article.
2. Raccoons can vocalize in a number of different ways.
We can purr and whistle and squeal. If we’re upset, we often growl and hiss. When I’m upset, I tend to just stare off at the horizon and say very little.
3. Raccoons are omnivores.
That means we will eat anything. You name it, we eat it. Macaroni? Yep. A chef salad? Love it. Pork-pie? Sure. A pork-pie hat? Why the hell not? We’re not picky.
4. Raccoons are picky.
Meaning we can pick our way into anything. There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching a Torontonian try to protect their garbage bin from us.
You go ahead and tie your little ropes, funny man. No stretch of hemp or pile of cinder blocks will stop us from getting to that chicken bone. We have mad dexterity. And don’t bother shaking cayenne pepper on top of the bin. We’re not afraid.
Cayenne pepper is just seasoning for the chicken bone.
5. Raccoons do not necessarily like the song “Rocky Raccoon.”
Look, I’m as big a Beatles fan as the next girl, but that song is ridiculous. “Her name was Magill. And she called herself Lil. But everyone knew her as Nancy.” Not your greatest hit, Paul.
6. Raccoons have high IQs and the capacity to think critically.
The capital of Angola is Luanda. An object in motion stays in motion. The first seven digits of Pi are 3.1415 — wait, did someone say pie?
Where’s the pie?
7. Raccoons are here to stay.
Every spring, you humans come up with different ways to solve the “raccoon problem” in Toronto.
It. Will. Not. Work.
Shine bright lights on us. We’ll just shimmy to the side. Try trapping us in a box. Shimmy. Spray coyote urine in your backyard? We will look upon you pityingly … And then shimmy to the side.
There is no shimmying around this situation.
Like the feeble garbage bin, we are a fact of life in Toronto, and you best get used to it.
And with the amount of action I’ve been getting this spring, there’s going to be a whole lot more of us on the way.