Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Raccoon Sex!

How's that for a title? I witnessed real live raccoon sex the other morning , which maybe doesn't sound that exciting, but after google searching the universe, it appears very few people have ever seen this happen live.

Here's the story - we heard a shrieky screech outside the window. Just one. And then a minute or so later, another one. The squirrels and raccoons in the lot next door are often pretty vocal, so it didn't really register. But it kept happening, just one loud shriek, then a short pause, then another one. I looked out the window and lo and behold, there are two raccoons on the roof of the old shed, heading down the slope side, just humping away.

It wasn't all that passionate. It was sort of slow and clumsy. But it just kept going on and on for what seemed like forever. Maybe it was a half an hour or so? I'm not sure. I didn't stick around to watch the ending. I just kept reading the paper and doing my thing, noticing at last that the screeches finally stopped at some point and they were gone.

Later that same afternoon, I heard another similar screech from next door and thought - NO it can't be happening again. They've got to have hit the target after all that time this morning! Which is when it occurred to me to google raccoon mating behavior to see if I was in for some extended season of copulation. I tried and tried to find something, but virtually every single site had the same short paragraph that seemed to be copied from the same source.

The gist of it was, nobody really knows. It's hardly ever been seen. They usually do it in the safety of their little dens, and not out in public. I found one description, here, and she must have had similar trouble finding information. She says, "Howard J. Stains published “The Raccoon in Kansas” in 1956. Stains had studied raccoons in the field from July 1951 to November 1954. Despite devoting 2,550 man hours to his work, he observed mating raccoons only once–on February 26, 1954–and it is his work that has been cited in every account of raccoons I have read." Imagine that - 2,550 hours studying raccoons and seeing the hawt sex only ONE TIME!

So I guess I got a rare glimpse. Other descriptions all said they are promiscuous and can be really loud and raucous. Not my little lovers. They were sedate - just humping away steadily, trying to get the job done. I've not seen them since. And I'm really disappointed that I didn't think to take a picture at the time, since I could have posted a rare and historical moment. I just figured with as many of these creatures as there are all over, that it was a common occurrence. Dang.