The Death of an Adversary

For the past five years or so, a large female raccoon has insisted on denning beneath one of the eaves of our Littleton, Colorado, house.  Raising a litter of kits each spring, a scat latrine would soon appear near the edge of the roof, requiring my eventual attention.  Once the young were raised and on their own, I would discourage her continued presence (using a hose if necessary) and clean up the family's mess.

A few days ago, I observed a large, dead raccoon near the driveway of our farm.  Though I had no way of knowing if that was my adversary, I found myself hoping that my annual troubles were finally over.  A wave of guilt soon banished my optimism and I reminded myself that there are plenty more raccoons in the area, some of which may be more destructive and less agreeable than our most recent tenant.

Indeed, we have hosted a long list of wild creatures on our farm, including mule deer, red fox, coyotes, striped skunks and raccoons, not to mention cottontails, fox squirrels, meadow voles, field mice and an assortment of nesting songbirds.  Of course, we also receive a wide variety of visitors, including hawks, great horned owls, little brown bats, wandering flocks of birds and, on one occasion, a wild turkey.  The great majority of our guests (coyotes excepted) have been welcomed but a few (like our mother raccoon) have caused problems.  Such is man's relationship with wildlife; we love to watch them in fields and woodlands but cannot abide their presence too close to home.