First Raccoon Recorded in North Campus

December 16, 2011

Last week, while I was away in Costa Rica finding amazing bugs of all varieties, Sam's camera trap discovered a new species of mammal for our North Campus list!

Raccoon found under bridge in North CampusOpossums, squirrels, dogs, and cats have all been spotted in the North Campus since we planted the space, but until recently we had only suspected that raccoons were part of that mix too. Raccoons, Procyon lotor, are common urban mammals often found in the urban core. These nocturnal mammals are notorious for destroying new lawns as they try to reach the tasty grubs and other insects that come to the surface after heavy watering. They are clever little creatures and will neatly roll up the new turf to get to the tasty invertebrate morsels they are craving. Another pestiferous trait is their proclivity for dumpster diving. They can often be heard in the middle of the night knocking over trash cans and tearing into trash bags, looking for leftovers and other edible waste. Of course, the raccoons are not dumb; they want an easy meal! They'll bypass all the aforementioned nonsense if there's easily available free fooda.k.a. Fido's pet chow!

Raccoon stealing Amy's pet chow!About a month ago, I met Amy at the Green Festival at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I had a raccoon pelt with me which prompted her to tell me about the raccoons that vist her front yard every night in downtown Long Beach to eat her pet's food. One night Amy decided she would try and foil the raccoons and put the pet chow in a sealed rolling container. However, the raccoons weren't having their free dinner taken away. They actually figured out how to open the container (even rolling it down the stairs) and gorged on the hidden food!

Something's been searching for bugs!Luckily there's no pet chow to be had in the North Campus, but they're obviously finding plenty of food here. I'm pretty sure the raccoons are responsible for the many small divets I've seen in the mulch, as this is where the grubs and other insects are hiding. Mmmmmm tasty!

(Posted by: Lila Higgins)

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