Monday, November 26, 2007

To Los Angeles residents

I've been getting emails from Los Angeles area with coonie families making themselves at home. Some in the Jaccuzzi, some in attics, some with babies, some just "too friendly". They do not need help. They do not need to be relocated. They simply need the humans to quit leaving garbage and other things out to attract them.

Here is what I have had to explain to most humans concerned about a healthy family of coonies in their area:

Being friendly to humans is in their nature. They are a grateful creature
and need to learn to fear humans. They will approach humans just like a
little puppy when they need help. They will also choose only one or two
humans to let close and trust. All others will be kept at a distance or
warned with snarfs and growls to stay back. When really frightened they
bark like a dog, or arch and hiss like a cat. A wild coonie who is
friendly has either been fed by humans from a young age, or mother taught
it humans meant food sources and help.

They have discovered your area because you offer food and shelter. Most
likely there are humans leaving food out for the feral cats and their
domestic dogs outside at night. Bird feeders, BBQ equipment, kiddie pools,
Koi ponds, toddler toys, statues, trash in plastic bags [it should be in
containers with lids secured with bungee cords to keep them out] -- these
are all things that coonies like. A neighborhood needs to work together to
get coonies to move on. They need to lock these things up in sheds at
night for a few weeks, out of reach of the coonies.

Even if I help you move this 'one' coonie -- Mother Nature doesn't like a
void. She will replace it with two more. You need to make the area less of
a free meal and more secure. They will leave on their own in a short
period of time - about two weeks if the food is gone.

You are California. So much habitat has been destroyed just this year.
They have nowhere to go. It is birthing season in your area. Some are
young mothers looking for their first den. They don't know what's going
on, just they need a nice attic, chimney, crawlspace, or garage to give birth -- close to where there is food.

They also are a misunderstood creature. They actually benefit the humans
by catching snakes, rats and mice. If no human is putting out food, it's
quite possible it's a good hunting ground for them.

If you run across orphaned babies or injured coonies, please contact me. If you run into an emergency situation with this one you have concerns about, again, please contact me.

But to move this coonie? It has already lost it's home. Moving it would take away the home it has had to adapt to. Food & water sources would need to be found all over again. And they have been known to travel as far as twenty miles to get back to their babies. Most litters barely survive a week without mother. They can if they are strong - but it affects their growth and the quality of their life. It's okay if they are friendly -- as long as we don't try to touch them they don't want to hurt you. Don't try hand feeding them or picking them up, or think they are a domestic. But they will often want to touch your shoes and play with shoelaces, grab keys and run away, etc. especially the younger ones. All you have to do to scare them off is bang a wooden spoon on a large metal pan.

Thank you so much for caring about these coonies. Please help me to help
them survive where Mother Nature put them. There are so many injured and
orphaned each year, we rehabbers can barely keep up with their care.
Healthy ones just need a bit more understanding on the human end.

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