I was outside in front of my apartment last night with some of my friends and a raccoon came out of the nearby bush. It was surprising because we were all out there for quite a while and hadnít noticed its presence at all. I wonder if it had been there the whole time or if it was just passing by. As he crept out from the bushes and made itís way across our lawn, he stopped to look at us. However, it was more than a quick glance. I felt as if we proceeded to have a staring contest for the next whole minute before any of us blinked.
Surely, the raccoon had grown tired of this encounter and continued across our lawn, across the driveway and onto the neighborsí residence. Because the raccoon was only about two or three meters away when passing by us, we assumed it encountered humans frequently, especially in the densely populated Isla Vista and it wasnít afraid. Because of this, we decided to follow the raccoon to see if it had a destination or was just wandering around.
As we followed the raccoon, we noticed that it had a bit of a limp. It wasnít too noticeable, but after we had followed it for a while, it became apparent. It was then that I realized that I may have encountered this raccoon last year when I was living on campus. Last year, I was heading to my friendís room and when I arrived, she was staring out the window with a bit of an astonished look on her face. Apparently there were a couple raccoons in the tree right outside her window that were fighting, and one of them fell out and dropped about three or four stories. Perhaps it landed on a soft patch below or maybe raccoons can fall at greater heights before proving to be fatal, but it had been making its way across the parking lot by the time I saw it. It was limping and as other raccoons came close as if they were seeing if it was okay, the limping raccoon would growl at them and walk in a different direction.
As tragic as it was, it was very interesting to see because it seemed as if the limping raccoon had been shunned after losing an epic battle in the trees. It would be remarkable if the raccoon we were following was the same injured raccoon from the previous year. Some thing I noticed was that we had passed many garbage cans and garbage bins along the way but the raccoon didnít check them all. It wasnít a matter of noticing the trash since a lot of the ones it passed were in its path. My friends and I began to have a little fun with the situation and started making bets on if the raccoon would search a certain garbage bin or not. There was really no basis for our bet since we had no idea of what would cause the raccoon to search in some or to just pass them by.
Perhaps it was the smell of certain garbage that attracted the raccoon more than others and maybe humans couldn't smell it form a distance. Or maybe it wasnít the raccoonís first round of the night and the garbage that it passed by were ones that it had already checked earlier that evening. Without tracking this particular raccoon for at least a few days, it seems impossible to determine why it would pass by certain garbage bins. By the end of our time with the raccoon, which was basically when the raccoon was leaving Isla Vista, the raccoon had not eaten anything. Another interesting thing about this adventure was that he had not stopped to look at us once even though we had been following it for a bit over an hour. There was no doubt that it was aware of our presence since although we kept our distance, we were never hiding or out of view of the raccoon. Maybe the raccoon was too shy to eat anything while we were watching. If I encounter this raccoon again, Iíd probably follow it more secretively.