Right after dark tonight, this little fellow paid an unauthorized visit to the suet feeder. Guess that crunchy peanunt butter hanging there for the taking was an open invite, even though raccoons aren't exactly on the A-list of critters we like to feed. He was hanging upside down, trying to get the suet cage open when I caught him in the beam of my flashlight. The sound of teeth on metal had caught my attention.
He sat up, like you see here, and by the time I returned with the camera, he was back to biting at the cage. He sat up again when I shined the light on him to snap this pic, but soon enough he was back at it, this time trying a new tactic. He reached down from the little branch where you see him standing, swatted at the cage with his paw, and managed to hook a piece of peanut butter. Tasty. He batted at it some more, but it didn't take long for the whole thing to fall to the ground.
Raccoons are pretty good at defying gravity. He climbed right down that cherry tree, upside down, more sure-footed than I am on flat ground. He headed for the suet cage, me trying to shine the flashlight on him so I could find him in the pitch-black viewfinder. It wasn't very easy, and the camera takes forever betwen flashes. I moved in closer and closer snapping as often as I could until he did a Greta Garbo and disappeared into the dark.
I went into the Erection to collect my things, and when I came out he was at the suet cage on the ground, biting at the peanut butter through the wire. As I moved closer, still flashing the flashlight and camera flash in his face, he backed away and trotted off. I felt a little bad doing it, but I knew he'd eat it all, leaving none for the birds, and so I snatched up the suet and took it inside and put in on the front porch. Well wouldn't you know it. He wasn't ready to give up, and by the time I got back two seconds later he was searching the area where it used to be. He saw me, looked up and started staring. It was a mean stare, and he didn't look too happy that the suet was gone.
Attack of the killer raccoon! Sometimes it's easy to spook yourself out here all alone in the dark in the night when there's this fourteen pound fur ball, all teeth and claws, capable of suddenly jumping up and landing on your face, and he's looking right at you and demanding with his eyes, "What the fuck did you do with my peanut butter?"
Back away from the raccoon! was all I could think. Of course it was only my imagination, or so I hope. He looked at me for a while, and then, with what seemed a sigh of resignation, he turned around and ambled away into the dark once again.