City officials in the Riverside neighborhood of Chicago have announced warnings of distemper outbreak in the area’s raccoon population - and the hazards posed to residents, as well as non-vaccinated pets.
I’ve always been personally fascinated with the adaptability of fur bearers such as skunks and raccoons. In the aftermath of the raccoon’s “great migration” to man’s urban meccas, it’s almost hard to believe they ever inhabited the wildernesses of rural America at all - man was once a rural beast as well.
Just as the acorn mast abundance of two years ago drove a rodent explosion last year, I’m confident the expansion in rodent presence will drive a “cyclical boom” in New England’s predatory species this year.
Collectively, we don’t seem to be shocked by the presence of other wild species such as raccoons, skunks, and opossums roaming the back alleys of concrete and brick - but the coyote’s presence seems to catch the attention of the public and professionals in far greater numbers; and far greater curiosity.
Thanks to my experience as a licensed trapper, I know that this time of year the odds are particularly good for Virginia Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) to be carrying around a litter of newborn young in their pouches.