Mama Raccoon’s High Wire Act

Mama raccoon stretches to reach the next branch in her treetop travels

Circus acrobats have nothing on Mama Raccoon

When a raccoon nested in one of our snags, I was surprised to see how often she left her kits alone in their tree cavity. Mama departed five or six times daily during daylight hours, and she probably made a few nighttime trips. She was surely hungry and thirsty from nursing her babes.

Mama was cautious, too. Well, cautious like a high-wire walker.

Instead of taking the simple, straight path down the tree trunk, she always took a circuitous route to forage in the tangle of forest litter below. Instinct probably guided her to a route that would not leave an easy scent trail.

With each forage, mama crept skyward, picking her way through branches that grew thinner and wobblier as she climbed.

This long view of mama high in the trees gives you a sense of her shaky route.

A mama raccoon travels from her nest, walking thin branches high over a lake below
A mama raccoon walks perilously thin branches

From the farthest tip of her nesting tree, she would reach, grasp, and then sidle onto the equally precarious limb of an adjacent tree. Reaching the second tree’s beefy lower limb, she paused—to rest, to surveil, or both—before completing her descent to the ground.

Watch the video to see the precarious portion of her journey. This video is not quite in focus (I need to go to filmmaker school!), so it’s best viewed without using a full-screen view.

Mama raccoon sure went out on a limb for her kids. That’s a universal mama trait, don’t you think?

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