ImageEvery time I look out my window at the dilapidated shed in the backyard, I am reminded that, come spring, that thing has to go.

The shed is about thirty years old. For a time, it served as storage for my sons’ backyard toys…the super soakers, the bicycles, the motorized car, the Red Flyer wagon, the inflatable pool. Many blustery winters tore several shingles from the roof, and left a hole in their place. After the recent wind storm, the hole somehow grew larger. It wouldn’t  be long, I knew, before the hole was discovered by squirrels seeking winter refuge. Therefore, last week, I wasn’t at all surprised when I saw a furry nose peek out from within the hole.

When the backyard boarder emerged, it was neither squirrel nor opossum. The biggest raccoon I have ever seen squeezed its furry butt through the hole with all the grace of the Grinch “sliding” down the Who-ville chimneys.



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Mr. Raccoon emerges from his temporary housing.

At first, Mr. Raccoon’s significantly wide girth wedged him inside the hole. Not to worry. He wiggled this way, and that. First, his masked face poked through the roof, followed by his very wide middle, and then his even more pronounced back end. Soon, he was on the steeply sloped roof, clumsily struggling to gain his footing. I expected him to fall. What would I do with an injured raccoon in my backyard?

I needn’t have worried. Mother Nature blessed Mr. Raccoon with paws as adept as human fingers. He expertly grasped the roof shingles, and inched his way across the roof “cat burglar” style. I watched as he positioned himself upside down, and prepared to jump into the thin bush beside the shed. The bush shook, and bent to the ground as it received his weight. Mr. Raccoon calmly climbed down the stalk to secure footing on the ground, waddled along the foundation of the house, across the patio, and into the driveway, his fat stomach waddling all the while like the excess flesh on my dearly beloved, late grandmother’s arms.

And this occurred in broad daylight.

Though raccoons prefer to prowl at night, it’s a myth that they are entirely nocturnal. If ill, or hungry, they  venture out during daylight hours. The fat masked bandit that squeezed his butt through the hole in the shed roof looked mighty healthy to me. He walked in a perfectly straight line. His eyes and his face, from what I could see, were clear. Mr. Raccoon was just fine.

Why wouldn’t he be? He has a nice warm place to live, a private entrance, and a steady food supply from nearby bird feeders (okay, they’re my feeders, but we won’t talk about that). I imagine he enjoys curling up and contentedly snoozing in my sons’ Red Flyer wagon, perhaps using the old towel I left in there as a blanket.

Yes, come spring, that shed has got to go. I don’t want raccoons roaming my yard during the daytime, or worse yet, sleeping, and soiling, my sons’ little red wagon. That wagon is no place for raccoons; it’s being reserved for my grandchildren, who will hopefully, someday, be amused by the story of my temporary backyard tenant. Sorry, Mr. Raccoon. Despite your cuddly, furry cuteness, and my love of backyard critters, your eviction is pending. Consider yourself served.

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Avatar of Anne Mikolay

Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...