Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Spring in Bohemia – the chatter of raccoons

By Diane Haberstroh (Jun 2011)

I can tell when Spring has arrived at Bohemia, New York, by certain sounds. It is the sound of my garbage pails getting banged around and the chatter of raccoons.

I don’t have a problem with them during the very cold months, but every Spring they resume their visits to my backyard bins—making a racket and a mess. It is a challenge keeping them out of the garbage.

Over the years I have tried out several different types of garbage pails that claim to be raccoon-proof. Most of the pails have handles that clamp over the lids. However, if a raccoon knocks a pail to the ground, he can sometimes open it. They are very clever creatures.

A friend of mine, who thinks they are cute, puts out peanuts and a plate of water for them. The water is not for drinking, but for washing. If there is water, raccoons will wash their food before eating it. I wonder why?

My friend admits that her neighbors wouldn’t like the idea of her feeding the raccoons, if they knew about it. Most people don’t want to attract raccoons to their neighborhood because they can carry diseases such as rabies and distemper, which can infect household pets.

But raccoons are not the only pests who visit my yard. One morning my dog wouldn’t stop growling and barking at one of the garbage cans. I knew something was in there. When I looked into the pail, I saw something I dislike even more than raccoons – an opossum. What did I do? I ran towards my house door.

Fortunately, he scurried away in the other direction. Yes, Spring has sprung here. I hear the rattle of the garbage pails and the chatter of critters in the evening and I sigh, because in the morning my Spring-cleaning will include picking-up the banana peels, coffee grinds, and egg shells that the raccoons scatter across my backyard.

A raccoon in the trash can

A raccoon in the trash can

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