One early morning, a strange noise I had never heard before woke me up from my sweet dreams. Even if I was still sleepy, my curiosity made me start looking for the source of that strange noise. When I looked out of the window, I saw a baby raccoon and its mom climbing the wall of the neighbor’s house! I had never seen raccoons before and got all excited. I quickly grabbed my phone to take a video of this extraordinary scene of motherly love. Here it is:

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When I came home in the evening, I met the mom again – with three adorable cubs! They were climbing a tree and observed me with curiosity. We looked at each other for quiet a while and I fell in love with them. They are incredible adorable with their “mask” and the black and grey tails. But when I happily told my host family about the encounter, they were not happy at all and could not share my joy.

Apparently, raccoons became a plague to house owners in some cities, destroying roofs and houses with their man-like hands and curiosity. They basically eat everything and since humans provide a lot of edible stuff in their waste, the cities became little paradises for raccoons and other mammals. Raccoons are native to North America but you can also find them in Europe, for example in Germany, where a couple was released into the wild in 1934 to “enrich the fauna” and 1945, some raccoons escaped from a farm in eastern Germany and happily reproduced. Today, raccoons can be found in many places in Germany, especially in the south and east. However, Hamilton had some cases of rabies the past years, peaking in 2016 with 200 cases, so the city and the Ministry of Natural Resources started some initiatives to eliminate the virus from the province, like distributing vaccinated bait drops or trapping raccoons to physically vaccinate them before releasing them into the wild again. In Hamilton, raccoons do not have a good reputation …

Wild animals in cities – good or bad?

There are many cities fighting with wild unwanted mammals: I guess everyone has heard of New York’s rat problem by now, but also Berlin suffers from a fast-growing rat population (the show planet e made a great documentary about rats in cities: “Ratten in der Stadt“, only in German). In Great Britain, some cities’ fox population has enormously increased in the past years and also grey squirrels native in North America spread fast, driving out the native red squirrels (which by the way led to a conflict between pro-red and pro-grey squirrel “fans” …). Just like the raccoons in Germany, the grey squirrels where brought to Great Britain from North America and set free into the wild where they could reproduce without problems since they do not have natural enemies. So, do we create our own problems?

However, I did not think about all these problems while watching the mom and her cubs, just purely enjoying the moment and nature’s creation.

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