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Wildlife Comments (2)

The Buddy System

Sep14

 

It's that time of year again. The orphaned Raccoons that we raised at PAWS during the summer are now starting to head back out the door to resume the wild lives that are their birthright. They are released in small groups—some are brothers and sisters that arrived at the PAWS Wildlife Center as family units, while others are comprised of unrelated individuals that were raised together.

On release day, the world must seem very big and a little bit scary. The last time most of these Raccoons were in the wild, they were tiny infants in a warm, safe den. Whether the groups are genetically related or not, they always stick close to one another at release. It's their own version of the "buddy system", and it seems to boost their confidence, perhaps because there are more eyes and ears nearby to help spot danger. 

On September 11, we released the first Raccoon group of the year at a large natural area managed by King County Parks. The following photos tell the story of the release.

Raccoon-Release-1

The Raccoons are usually very wary when the carrier door is opened. After exiting, they may stay within reach of the carrier for several minutes. This youngster held onto the door while assessing his surroundings.

Raccoon-Release-2
 

It is also common for the Raccoons to climb on top of the carrier and thoroughly assess it before taking an interest in anything else nearby. Such was the case with these two young males.

Raccoon-Release-3

While the two males inspected the top, this female investigated the back side of the release carrier.

Raccoon-Release-4

Raccoons are drawn to water, so we always try to release them near a good water source. At this release, the carriers were set on the bank of a stream.

Raccoon-Release-5

As expected, the water proved irresistible to the Raccoons. This female dipped her hands in the cold water and began feeling around for tasty morsels.

Raccoon-Release-6

The release site had abundant trees and good brushy cover. The Raccoons seemed to approve.

Raccoon-Release-7

As the sun set, a parade of bushy, ringed tails could be seen receding into the distance. Furry, masked faces swung left and right with ears and noses twitching. Night fell and The Wild embraced her six prodigal children. 

- Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist

 

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Comments

Kevin, thanks again for another successful release. Have you thought of making a picture book of release stories? I would certainly purchase one! It's fascinating to learn about wildlife care. And you always do an excellent job of educating us blog readers.

I do not have a type key pad or whatever the heck i really was just trying to find out how i can help this red breasted nuthatch i rescued off the side of the road by bellevue college... tho i do love raccoons and this post is cute its annoying that this is where clicking Kevin's name brought me instead of a place with actual contact info. Since you seem to have experience and a rescue center i would greatly appreciate contact from someone please, all i have been able to learn online is that they eat bugs but will come to your bird bath if you have seeds and i have no clue how he's supposed to drink anything so i hope he doesn't die from dehydration. id appreciate prompt help/advice since this website offers nothing. email me at raccoondevil@gmail.com

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