Raccoon Babies at Play in the Dark

Esau has never understood why I won’t go into the park at night.  But though I’ve been sorely tempted, I’ve been ruled by an ancient taboo forbidding parks after dark, along with cannibalism and incest. But no more.

Last night, lured by the possibility that raccoon babies might be dancing in the night park, we descended the 116th Street steps. The rustling leaves gave me a little frisson, but I had just read the beginning of Marie Winn’s wonderful book, Central Park in the Dark. I mean, she walks in the Ramble at night – the Ramble, for crying out loud. I can handle Riverside Park.

Around 109th Street, we saw low shadowy figures just ahead: the raccoon family. The mother darted up the slope towards the wall, but the two babies bolted down the slope towards the lower promenade. Each ran partway up a tree, froze and waited. After a minute, the babies peeped cautiously around the tree trunks. They must have felt safe, because they climbed back down, and proceeded to chase each other up and down the slope in an exuberance of wheeling and turning. The babies were dancing.


A young raccoon enjoys life. Photo courtesy of Michael Scheltgen, creativecommons.org

The taboo is shattered. We’ll be back tomorrow night.

Explore posts in the same categories: November, raccoons, strange encounters, Wildlife/Natural History

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4 Comments on “Raccoon Babies at Play in the Dark”

  1. What a treat! Would love to see a raccoon in its natural habitat. I have been on badger and bat watches here in the UK.

    • And I have always wanted to see a badger, Caroline! They figure so prominently in children’s fiction from the U.K.: Narnia books, Wind in the Willows, etc. Never seen one in the wild. Thank you for your comment. Raccoons are wonderful to watch.

  2. Tinbergen Says:

    As an animal behaviorist, I have been reading this blog with increasing curiosity. I suspect that our keen ‘observer’ is actually raccoon passing itself off as a man or a woman. Has anyone checked contacted costume haberdashers in the garment district to see if a raccoon has rented a genus Homo suit recently?

  3. Charlotte Says:

    I hate to admit this but now, every time i see a raccoon I’m going to think of you and Esau. In fact, when i drove home last night there was old dopey (the old raccoon that comes by) sitting in the road right before my driveway–thought of you! But dancing baby raccoons! I wish i could’ve seen that–you’ll have to gt one of those night vision cameras the military uses. love the idea of this wild place in the dark.

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