As I’ve mentioned previously, while reuniting a separated baby raccoon with its mother is possible, there are several factors that come into play when determining if the attempt should be made (location, health of the baby, circumstances of intake, etc). The literal baby hand-off last year was a unique experience. Typically when a reunite is attempted and is successful, we leave the appropriate set-up overnight and the baby is simply gone in the morning, and we don’t know the exact particulars of the event.
Just before the 4th of July, while out on a late night foraging trip with his family, a young raccoon got hopelessly tangled up in netting used by a homeowner to keep various toys and sporting equipment from landing in the creek behind their yard.
A quick side bar – garden netting of all types is super dangerous for lots of wildlife, tangling everything from snakes to birds to, yes, baby raccoons. If you can do without it, please do without it.
The homeowners’ attempts to free the raccoon were unsurprisingly unsuccessful, since the little guy was not exactly cooperative. However, they were able to cut the tangled mess out of the larger net and bring the baby to WildCare, where he was freed and checked over.
Other than a bit of bruising, he was given a clean bill of health. The homeowners were willing to let us attempt a reunite, and the location was ideal.
Steve bought a camera trap a few years ago, hoping to use it for reunites so we could see exactly what happens. Unfortunately, several attempts to catch footage have been unsuccessful because the reunite itself didn’t take. For several other attempts, we have been uncomfortable leaving the camera overnight, usually because it was in too public area an area and there was nowhere to secure the camera. But in this case, the circumstances to attempt a reunite and to leave the camera overnight were in sync. So, Steve and I set-up the baby for a night waiting near the creek where he’d gotten lost, trained the camera on him, and waited anxiously, not just to find out if we were going to have yet another orphan in care, but also to see what the footage might reveal.
The stars aligned and the reunite was successful! Better yet, we got to see the whole thing – from the moment mom and her other four kits found the kennel that was holding the separated baby, to the quick snuggle mom and the almost-orphan share, to the moment the newly reunited, and no-nonsense, family took off into the night! How sweet is this! Be sure to have your volume turned up to hear all the excited and worried chatter.