Camp Salmen’s “glory-hog,” its most visible wild animal, is the Raccoon (Procyon lotor). It will strut around in broad daylight with little regard for humans, sprawl out asleep in a tree, graze around in the grass or ransack a trash-can. They’re also secretive, nocturnal creatures, like Ninjas; skulking around the pavilion at night, making sure any leftover food items are consumed.
I’m sure if you dig deeper into their little psyches you’ll find a “tragi-comic” character, both carefree and grim from the weight life. They’re comedic with their antics, agile hands, cantankerousness and silly mask yet, their lives can be tragic because they are somebody’s’ food. Coyotes love ‘em, but coons can put up a fight and can run up a tree lickety-split. Their lifestyle forces them to spend most of their time in the harsh outdoors and they must get by without benefit of prepared foods. They’ve also been known to have run-ins with the automobile, though that hasn’t been a problem in the park.
They also do “cute.” I watched a family of raccoons amble out of the woods, a mama and four young’uns about half her size. The little fur balls were awkward as they tried to stay together, close on her heels. When mama stopped to check some little thing, the little train wrecked as they stumbled into one another.
They were learning from the master, who, no doubt, had the better nose for finding something to eat. When they reached an open lawn Mama bounded ahead and the little buggers scrambled to keep up, lest they all get caught. They disappeared back into the brush and continued making the rounds at old Camp Salmen.