Friday, May 1, 2009

A Late Night Visitor

Last night, as I lay in bed, drifting gently into slumber, I suddenly heard a deep, throaty growl coming from beneath my arm. My cat, Niblet, is our guard cat. As our dogs are heavy sleepers, Niblet has taken it upon himself to warn us of intruders, which would include deer, armadillos, squirrels, etc. Last night, however, Niblet didn't just growl, he jumped to his feet and rushed over to the open door that leads to my bedroom patio.

I always keep the screen shut, of course. Goodness knows what little creatures might creep into bed with me if I kept it open! Niblet stood at the screen and continued to growl. I sat up slowly in bed and looked out the door. I keep the patio light on all night, and it shines onto the little red table like a spotlight. There, in the spotlight, sat a young, lovely, very healthy, female raccoon.

As she sat on the table top digging through the bird seed, I could see her quite clearly, She's not a large raccoon, and even her face looked young. The black mask surrounding her eyes was deep and dark, and accentuated the narrowness of her face. I always thought raccoons had fat, round faces, but not this young lady. She had a dark stripe going down the middle of her face to her nose, and her nose, also black, reminded me of a dog's nose, except that hers was covered with sunflower shells.

At first, I thought she was eating the sunflowers, then I realized she was digging through the shells leftover from the squirrels in search of the chipped, dried corn kernals I add to the dish. She loved the corn, and appeared to be using her paw like a scoop to gather the kernels from the bottom of the dish and toss them onto the table. Meanwhile, Niblet continued to growl with a slow, deep, throaty sound as he stared out the screen. The raccoon would raise her head and stare at the cat, then continue with her snacking. My husband and I climbed out of bed and stood in the doorway, watching the raccoon feast. She looked at us, as well, and apparently did not see us as a threat as she continued to eat. As lovely as she was to watch, I finally had to go to sleep. When I woke up early this morning she had disappeared, along with the entire contents of the seed dish.

I think this is the same critter that hangs out by my next door neighbor's house. He leaves cat food by his back door for the nightly visitors. Tonight, before I go to bed, I will put the seeds away and leave her a little cracked corn. I don't want to feed her too much as I don't want her to start seeing my house as her sole source of food. This may be risky for her--we have two very large chocolate labs.


Anonymous said...

Hello! :)

Darla Sue Dollman said...

Hello Paul! Thank you for reading my blog!