Beware of Raccoons Riding Possums

All I can say is thankfully you do not need to hear to write a post – although it may play a part in continuity! My ears (and Linda’s) are completely fried thanks to our weekend trip back home to attend the Illinois State Fair. Having grown up in Springfield, it is basically weaved into our DNA as small children that we must make the annual pilgrimage to see The Butter Cow. I actually have fond memories of the fair – corn dogs, ribeye sandwiches, losing my shoe somewhere in the muddy track during a Beach Boys concert, trying to pick up the carney girls (trust me, they live on the wild side and you know they will be gone in under two weeks – no brainer ha), mopping up at the ridiculously shady games (just need to know the tricks.. say it with me… carney girls), local bands in the beer tents and racing pigs. Note, the smart people NEVER ride the rides – don’t believe me, go look at the 2x4s stacked up under the coaster supports …or ask a carney girl when the last accident was when her boss isn’t around. This weekend Linda and I got to relive a lot of those memories (NOT THE CARNEY GIRL PART – those days are long gone..moved up to the beer tent women – kidding of course! Ended up camping there so we could catch all the traditional sights and then attend the Sammy Hagar and the Circle/Ann Wilson of Heart concert – thus the deaf part.

Had a great time and even got into the Disturbed concert the night before thanks to some very nice people checking tickets at the gate. A massive storm came through that delayed the concert. Opening act was dropped and Disturbed started late. We walked by one of the gates and stood there and listened to one of their songs – the ticket takers called to us and just told us to go on in with one condition – “Don’t get into trouble”. We agreed to their terms, thanked them for their generosity and grabbed a seat in the grandstand – which had PLENTY of seats left. Guessing the rain scared their fans away. The next night we attended the concert we paid for. Some quick takeaways from the gig:

  • Ann Wilson was better than expected, but I had very low expectations there – not a huge fan of her. Played an hour, hit the Heart classics, threw in some crappy solo work and then nailed the Zeppelin cover. Suggestion, going back and sitting on the stage while the band does their solo parts is pretty rude – act like you want to be there.
  • Sammy was incredibly good and they covered many of the greats from each of the member’s bands – Sammy from Montrose, solo, Van Halen and his post Van Halen groups, Michael Anthony brought the early Van Halen era and Jason Bonham added his band and, of course, Zeppelin in honor of his dad. Apparently Vic Johnson doesn’t have the legacy of the other members, but he smoothly transitioned through all the other band material.
  • Damn that was loud – after Sammy’s first song my ears were toast, but that made the rest of the night sound incredible or they finally fixed the treble – days later and still ringing although I already have Tinnitus (hey kiddies, your parents are right, turn those speakers down)
  • If you are going to “get in trouble” do not sit at the very top of the grandstand where nobody is – you stick out like a sore thumb and have to give up your expensive bottle of whiskey when the State Police swarm on you rookies.
  • You don’t need to clap after each song in the house music – lady in row ahead of me would enthusiastically cheer after every piped in song. She didn’t look “baked” to me, just living in her own little world I guess – still made me chuckle.
  • How great is it to see an older band – the audience is very appreciative, yet most of their knees are shot so they remain seated so everyone can enjoy the show.
  • Sammy knows how to entertain and you get the feeling he genuinely wants to be there for the crowd, no stage sitting for him – interacting constantly with bandmates, talking to the crowd between songs, signing every damn thing that was tossed on stage and handing it back (mid-song) and of course belting out songs as good now at 74 as when the songs first came out.
  • I forgot how good Sammy can play – having been sidelined by Eddie, he didn’t really get to show his skills with Van Hagar.
  • Lastly, I am not a big fan of the Van Hagar albums. I am on team Dave there, but then I heard them last night with harder drums, unsmoothed vocals and stronger baselines – muuuuuuchhhhh better.
  • Oh, and I guess my only complaint of the night was piping in the keyboards for the one Van Halen song that needed it (Right Now). Just grab Ann’s keyboardist from the bus for that one song and make it as authentic as the rest of the show – small complaint, but it was a surprise

Yikes, maybe that wasn’t so quick after all – what can I say, probably the first real concert we have seen since before 2019. I know, you are really here to see the wildlife, not some old guy’s fair experience. The good news is I do have some wildlife shots to show you!

Raccoon found at LaBagh Woods, Chicago IL in May 2022

Hit the jump to find out more about our featured bandit.

In honor of having my ears brutalized, thought I’d change it up a bit and go with a series that I didn’t “hear” either. Ron and I would have probably missed this Raccoon if we were not alerted to it by a young carney lady….sorry, not sure why that is still on my mind, I mean a young lady walking the trail ahead of us.

Raccoon found at LaBagh Woods, Chicago IL in May 2022

Backing up a bit, these shots are coming to you from Labagh Woods Forest Preserve. If you recall, that is where the Canada Warbler was found in the last post. We had finished tinning that bird and after a quick run through some of their bluff woods, we were making our way back to the marsh/pond at the entrance. We met up with the young lady about halfway to the water. She was very nice and asked us what we were taking pictures of. She knew more about birds than what my first impression suggested. She mentioned some of the birds that she had seen on her walk and even alerted us to a rookery that was a few miles past this preserve on Cicero Avenue.

Raccoon found at LaBagh Woods, Chicago IL in May 2022

We thanked her for the tip and then she continued on ahead of us for probably a quarter mile when we caught up to her looking at a large tree on the side of the trail. We brought our cameras on target while she scurried ahead to grab her camera out of the car. This Raccoon was perfectly nestled in the elbow of the tree.

Raccoon found at LaBagh Woods, Chicago IL in May 2022

It never, made a peep – just sat there, tail between its legs giving us cute pose after cute pose. The bandit didn’t even attempt to leave, clearly having no fear of Ron’s presence (if it was a bird it would have been attacking for sure) or the fact the barrel of The Beast was pointed directly at it probably 15 feet away. I swear it was waiting patiently for the attractive lady to come back with her camera.

Raccoon found at LaBagh Woods, Chicago IL in May 2022

I have plenty of Raccoons that stalk my woods. I’ve had countless battles with them over my feeders and one of those resulted in the need for Feeder 2.0 (link here). One managed to figure out a way to thwart my defenses and launch onto one of my feeders causing the non-galvanized wire to buckle under the additional weight. We definitely had words that night, but I knew she was a mother of 4 from previous encounters that week, so she was safe under my Wildlife Tenets.

Raccoon found at LaBagh Woods, Chicago IL in May 2022

One of those is I refuse to harm a baby critter or their parent(s) regardless of the situation – the one exception is Moles which are pretty much hellspawn purveyors of evil and are dealt a heavy hand if I spot them in my yard – woods – fine, even trails – fine, neighbors – fine…cross the tree line and watch Bri go medieval on their asses with an arsenal of scissor traps.

Raccoon found at LaBagh Woods, Chicago IL in May 2022

Our local Raccoons know this protection rule and purposely bring their babies around as soon as they can leave the den. If I surprise them, they raise up on their hind legs, give me an evil grin and point to their babies who are trained days after birth to open their eyes as wide as possible and tuck their paws under their chins on command – if you can still harm them or make them Coyote snacks by taking out their mother after that, you may have lost the “shiny fiddle made of gold”.

Raccoon found at LaBagh Woods, Chicago IL in May 2022

Independent Raccoons or mature males are a different story – they have opposable thumbs and they know how to use them. I half expect them to evolve to a point where they can throw apples and rocks through our windows. From there it is pretty much a progression through the wood tool age to the iron age in which case we’ll look out our windows and see an army of armor clad Raccoons with spears riding Possums. Leader slides off rodent, grabs a bit of dirt, works it into his hands “On my signal, unleash hell”. Honey, I think it is time to move.

Pretty much all over the board on this post – will get focused again once my hearing comes back. Let me know what pose you liked the best in the comments below. Always interesting to see everyone’s preferences.

47 thoughts on “Beware of Raccoons Riding Possums”

  1. Cute fuzzy thieves.
    We had a mom and babies in the back yard for a while. Not so sure possums qualify though.
    BTW, I once attended a Scorpions concert with foam earplugs. We were seated two rows up from the monster stack of Marshall amps. The guy in the front row, feet from the amps had no plugs and bleeding ears by nights end.

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    1. Possums are just plain ugly and mean, no two ways around it. My tenet still stands no matter how unpleasing it is to the eyes. Every once it a while, a Possum will square off with a Raccoon in our backyard. Quite entertaining to watch and to this date I have never seen a Possum lose – this play dead gimmick doesn’t apply to Raccoons at all, full out aggression. I remember those Marshall stack days – reminded me of Pink Floyd’s Wall. They’ve definitely shrunk those stacks to one 2 foot column as tall as the stadium on each side along with some small stacks scattered about – not sure what they’ve done, but those things crank out far more power than when we were kids. I draw the line at bleeding ears (Linda and I had to request new seats a few years back thanks to being at a node point at the Mark in the Quad Cities – pressure was unbearable. I hate to resort to ear plugs especially since the damage is already done, but more like that and I’ll have to reconsider. Thanks for tuning in from the island.

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      1. Forgot to mention I agree on the scissor traps for moles. Only occasionally ending with two moles.
        Enjoying a few more days on the coast before heading to the volcano for night lava shots. Then home. Stay tuned…

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  2. You want deaf? Late 70’s Motorhead gig at local (read tiny) venue, leant up against the amps all night stone deaf for days, literally! Not great as next morning I was at work having to show people how to drive their holiday boats, any questions folks? Ask as many as you like, can’t hear a damn thing.
    Yep tinnitus kicked in a few years later but I can give a list as long as your raccoon as to the likely suspects.
    BTW since moving to town not seen a mole!

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    1. Holy cow, I’ve never had it that loud before! Next day was probably one of those days where you are yelling during your instructions like a drill sergeant on the artillery line. Add in all those drag races you go to and I would have no doubt you’d be experiencing the perpetual ringing. Admittedly, to do it all over again I’d probably continue to play my stereo (home and car) way to loud – the music I prefer is meant to be felt as much as heard in my opinion. If you are missing the Moles we can arrange to have a couple hundred sent over there – not sure what the Grub situation is across the pond, but we can throw in a few of those so they have something to hunt! We treat for Grubs, but I swear that works against us as those damn Moles get pissed and methodically go back and forth on feeding lines trying to figure out where the food is to the point it does more damage than if they just grabbed a few grubs and moved on. Nature being nature I guess. As always, always appreciate when you drop in B!

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      1. For loud noises, the anniversary of Krakatoa just passed. Estimated “loudness” was 172 decibels…100 miles away!!! The pressure wave circled the globe several times as recorded by weather stations.

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    1. Kleenex, Q-Tips, rags, socks, my shirt…. all options were on the table until the second song when either the ears gave up or the sound guy decided there is a limit to how much treble you can mix in and still keep fans in the seat. “Pesky” is a perfect description for these Bandits – too smart for their own good and the absolutely stupid decision to give them opposable thumbs. They probably look at their paws, wiggle their thumbs and ask themselves how they can annoy me today.

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  3. They say we are wiser and smarter once we retire…I guess you didn’t get that memo? Oh hell, the hearing is mostly (along with knees and hips) the first to let you know you have reached “the age of maturity”. Heart? Really? Can’t believe she is still performing. Seemed older than dirt when I saw her in Houston in the 80’s… wasn’t a fan but was part of my Astroworld concert ticket.
    Now raccoons are just cute as heck as small babies but when they are adults and scare the heck out of you in a dark woods when hiking…well, not a fan of their tactics!!! I think moles are not that bad but then I don’t have acres of lawn.

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    1. Really!?! now you tell me ha! Yeah, half of Heart is still out there fleecing their fans for ticket money. She is 72 (Sammy is 74), but she still has control of her voice. Problem is she thinks people are there to hear the songs she wrote during the Covid shutdown – we are not. You are also 100% correct on the baby Raccoons – again, it’s the devious parental training of wide eyes and tucked paws. Every once in a while I’ll round a turn on a trail run and find myself standing face to muzzle with one of the adults – by then they drop the big eyes and cute pose and opt for the snarled muzzle and raised fur. Basically just stand there until it figures out it can leave anytime it wants. Note, I have thought about putting a line of Moles on tiny pikes at the tree line as a warning – Linda felt that was crossing a line hehehehe…so here I sit looking out at my den’s window at the latest Mole probe with a shiny scissor trap strategically placed on top.

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        1. Well, I have to admit, there is at least one animated zombie (umm, “half” a zombie) impaled on a pole for this year’s new addition to the trail. It is quite disturbing – hope it scares.. oops, l mean, let’s hope it doesn’t scare too many people away hehehehe.

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          1. Yeah… have you ever been to a therapist? You and my brother would get alone wonderfully as he is a crazy Halloween guy too. In fact scared the heck out of his grand daughter one Halloween and she shivered all night! I felt so bad for her.

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          2. 🤣🤣🤣 no don’t need to. I’m perfect fine. Well least his Granddaughter will grow up loveing Halloween. I was very scared of Halloween when I was A wee Child Now we loved it. My eight year old loves loves Halloween 🎃🤣🤣 Have a great day 🤗

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          3. Perfect, another person being raised to like Halloween!!!! I fear some day the commercial world is going to successfully kill my favorite holiday so they can push their Christmas stuff even sooner (Hobby Lobby already has their Xmas stuff out). Stay calm and haunt on!

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          4. Ha, now you sound like Linda…or rather my 7th grade teacher that felt obligated to comment to my parents on the types of books I was reading at the time (straight up horror). Parent’s rightful response – he’s reading well beyond his age, knows right from wrong, what’s the issue. Brothers still tease me about that. I assume you know the reason we call the event Trail of Tears – has no historical reference, rather in our first couple of years, we made several kids cry – badge of honor (note, parents are responsible for how far they take their children into the forest, we design it to get scarier the further you go), so technically their parents made them cry ha!)

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          5. Yep – which is super easy for me to say as we do not have kids ha – bring out, we scare the crap out of them and then send them home with the parents to stay up with them all night with the lights on in their room hehehe.

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  4. Brian, I didn’t visit your blog for a while. There is so much is going on in my family. My husband became very ill and our life has changed so drastically.
    You were lucky to meet this lovely raccoon and photographed him. I was able to photograph a raccoon only once in my life. Several years ago and since that I wasn’t around raccoons anymore.
    Fantastic photographs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So very sorry to hear Kaya. You and your husband will be in our thoughts and prayers. Trust me, you are probably better off not having many encounters with these overgrown rodents. They are certainly cute when they want to be – especially the babies, but they turn downright nasty once they mature. At least the Coyotes know to keep their distance, where the Raccoons will walk right up to our window to see what is going on inside – drives the dogs batshit crazy. Life in the country – still love it! Don’t worry about keeping up with the blog, we’ll always be here when you get back.

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  5. Wow, what a face! This little guy is precious! And your humor has started my day with lots of chuckles. I love Sammy H. Saw him with the band when he first replaced DLR. He’s an amazing talent & a great guy. What a fun fair to have these great musicians! 🌞

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    1. Don’t be fooled, that is just its resting cute face – when the camera leaves it turns back into demon-rodent and terrorizes the local kiddies. Sammy is an excellent showman and incredible vocal range … even at 74. The Circle is top shelf on the instrument skills, as well, making for an wonderful night…and days of ringing afterwards – Linda still hasn’t fully recovered her hearing yet which I find incredibly helpful “Sure, I answered you several times dear, you must still be having hearing issues”. Almost as beneficial as when I got the results back from an OSHA hearing test for a temporary factory assignment (we had to run our factories when our unions went out on strike) – I kid you not, they documented that I have loss of a certain frequency commonly used by women. Had it laminated and put it in my wallet to present whenever Linda claimed she told me to do something – gold baby!!! Thanks for dropping in Lisa!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, I wasn’t getting a lot of responses on my request so I’ll tally one up for the 3rd one. The teeth ones do have a bit of that Guardians of the Galaxy feel to it – fortunately, I don’t think this one has “evolved”/”transformed” into a weapons specialist yet ha. Appreciate you dropping in Sam.

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  6. I know racoons can be feisty, but these photos you took are just adorable to the point it looks like it smiling in a couple of them. This photo should be on the cover of a magazine, any magazine. Love them. 🙂

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    1. You are too kind, glad you enjoyed the series. They can be quite adorable but you nailed it, they can be quite “feisty” given the chances. For some reason we are experiencing a lull in sightings this month – might be due to the new bird feeder effectively keeping them out and having to move to another food source. Fingers crossed that is the case. Thanks for dropping in Sandra – fyi, I am way behind on reading your posts – burning the candle at both ends trying to get ahead of the Halloween to-dos.

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        1. Sandra, not sure if this will get to you or not, but is anyone else reporting problems with your blog – I am completely unable to load any pages using Firefox – worked find last time I got caught up on your posts, went to do the same yesterday and all I get is :

          Request Header Fields Too Large

          The server refused this request because the request header fields are too large.

          upgraded my browser and retried, same thing.

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          1. This is a new one, I have not heard of this one. There are a lot of people having trouble with leaving messages, getting an error message. That one is a word press problem they say. I just did some research on the request header fields too large error, and wow, that was a lot of technical words I do not know a lot about. 🙂 cookies, codes. sounds like they are making strange recipes. I may have found the issue and changed a couple of things. Let me know if you get this error again, thank you so much for telling me.

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          2. Switched to MS Edge to see if that would work better – it does load and lets me comment on some of the posts – for some reason it will not accept my comment on your two new birds posts – I was trying to reply with this:

            Off the top of my head, I’d say the first one is a female Common Yellowthroat, but it gets a little dicey around the females as there are a number of birds that fall into those color sets. The second one is definitely a Red-Breasted Sapsucker and very localized to the western edge of the US. Nice finds

            but it keeps ignoring it – I thought the IT gremlins would be gone with I retired…nope ha!

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