Friends were assessing how to fix a vent to Beth Parks’ Gouldsboro home on Sunday when they came across a surprise: baby raccoons huddled together beneath her deck.
A former wildlife biologist who now authors books, Parks said she immediately recognized the chirping and chittering sounds the four kits made. The tiny newborns – they hadn’t been born long enough for their eyes to open – had no trouble at all being loud, she said.
“They are the loudest little things and the noise they have coming from their little throats is absolutely earsplitting,” Parks said Tuesday. “People hear these things and they have absolutely no idea what they are. I just find it fascinating because they are so loud.”
Parks caught the mother raccoon and Parks’ friends moved her brood to their Gouldsboro farm abutting several hundred acres of woods. The mother went into the Havahart Trap used to capture her, and the babies were placed in a bait bucket.
“We have moved a lot of raccoons, and so have they,” Parks said of her farmer friends on Tuesday. “They are very familiar with how to do this safely.”
People who lack extensive experience raising newborn wildlife should not do what Parks and the farmers did. They should call local animal control officers or nearby animal shelters, and have them do the transplanting, Parks said.
“You have to know what you’re doing,” Parks said. “If you transport coons or any other animals, they don’t have shelter against the weather and they don’t have protection against predation.”
The mother gobbled down a can of cat food at the farm and immediately began nursing her young — a sign that the human intervention hadn’t broken the bond between them — before the raccoon family was placed in a vacant lamb birthing shed, where they will be warm and safe until they are ready to live in the wild, Parks said.
“These critters were the sweetest raccoons I’ve had yet,” Parks said in her Facebook posting, calling the experience a “success all the way around. Happy homeowner, happy farmer, happy raccoons, no deaths.”