Sunday, June 12, 2011

"A Raccoon Ate My Food!" 
We packed up and went camping again for two nights at a county park about an hour away.  Our neighbors from the next campsite who were there the previous night warned us about raccoons not being shy or afraid of coming near them. With that, we put the garbage in the park provided receptacle, wrapped up our food and placed everything in sealed coolers and bins. We had a skunk scare last summer and didn't want to take any chances. Silly us, Niko's food bowl had a small amount of kibble in it and we left it out. It did cross my mind to put it away but we didn't think raccoons would be interested. 
Once we got into the tent for the night, Niko was restless, which was out of the ordinary. He usually finds his spot(a blanket), curls up, and calls it a night. I couldn't tell if it was the noisy neighbors or wildlife that kept him awake this time. He just wouldn't go to sleep. He stayed by the tent door trying to wait for a chance to get out. Finally, when I was trying to fall asleep, I heard a noise. It sounded like Niko munching at his food, except Niko was in the tent and not by his food bowl. We quickly put our glasses on, found the flashlight, and opened the tent window screen. Ed's eyesight is a lot better than mine, so he got a good look at the raccoon. I only saw a dark mass by the food bowl, but I heard it enjoying the snack. Ed said it was a chunky one. There wasn't much to eat, so the raccoon wasn't around long; plus we made some noises to let it know we were awake. I suggested we bring Niko out to walk around the campsite so the raccoon knows who he's dealing with and perhaps be too afraid to come back again. So, Ed took Niko to check out the crime scene. The bowl was empty and Niko sniffed it. Niko definitely knew he had 4 legged company because he pulled towards the trees and sniffed around a lot.
They returned to the tent and we thought we were set for the night. My thought was that the raccoon now knows there's a shiba inu guard dog on site. They better stay away.
After just a few minutes, I heard another noise. What could it be? All the food in the bowl was eaten. My hearing must be as good as Ed's eyesight because from just listening, I quickly determined the raccoon got a hold of the tote bag that I put Niko's things in: toys, poop bags, and container of food! Ed directed the flashlight to the picnic table from the inside of our tent. I didn't have enough time because I was scrambling for my glasses. Ed confirmed that the stinking raccoon was dragging the tote from the table and down the hill into the forest. Such excitement! With Niko on leash, Ed jumped out and chased after the animal. It let go of the bag 20 feet out. What an incredibly brave and smart raccoon; the food was in a sealed container inside the tote. We walked into the woods out of curiosity. Ed found the raccoon with his flashlight, it made up to a very tall tree and stayed there. All I saw were its eyes reflecting from our flashlight. Throughout this ordeal, Niko didn't bark which I was surprised about. The following day, Niko ate every ounce of food we put in his bowl within minutes. This is very odd because he isn't usually quick to eat kibble and waits until late afternoon to polish all his food. We think he had a sense his food source was threatened. Or now that he knew someone else coveted his food, it was more appealing to eat. We refer to our visitor as Niko's friend, "Cooney" or "Coonster."
According to National Geographic, raccoons are nocturnal, very dexterous with their front paws, and eat just about anything. For the record, they eat Innova dog food.


  1. This post was so exciting! and funny! I laughed at the part "We quickly put our glasses on.... I didn't have enough time because I was scrambling for my glasses." NERD- LOVE IT! It must have been kinda scary during all this! Do you guys camp with a lot of stuff, so that you can't bring your possessions in the tent with you? And I'm guessing you hiked awhile to to camp sight, because you would have just left the tote in the car. That raccoon must have loved Innova dog food to be bold enough to try to steal the whole tote!

    I love that you go camping so much! Maybe i should try it, but a little less rustic!

  2. we do easy camping most of the time. drive right up to the camp site. we just didn't think of putting away the tote since the food was sealed up tight. sneaky raccoon.