Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Masked Shepherds

What's up?!?!!

It has been entirely six months since I first posted here. In that inaugural post, I allude to daily updates (glad I threw that small print in there). Bi-annually, in the grandest scheme of things, and compared to only once ever, might as well be daily.

Re: this post's title: I was securing the premises at work today, around 2:30AM, and heard some crazy rummaging just on the other side of a fence I was walking along with my beastly maglite. Upon focusing said flashlight's beam on the general area and peering over the fence, I saw a couple of raccoons, seemingly dancing madly in the wood chips right up against the fence. I'm about 3 feet away and they glance up briefly before continuing. After a minute or so they go back to being normal raccoons, digging around for juicy bugs to eat. I have developed a theory as to their previous behavior, but need to lay out the scene a little more to get to it.

There's a strip of empty space between the hostel I work in and the apartment building next door. It's occupied, like so many cheaply landscaped properties in town, by a 6 inch layer of woodchips thrown onto a black plastic sheet. The raccoons were alternating between pulling back the edges of the sheet to eat the bugs underneath, and replacing the plastic before dancing around madly on it and re-covering it with wood chips. I don't really have a biological basis for this, but I can only assume these guys had the foresight to know that if they restored that unnaturally perfect gathering spot for big, soft bugs, there would be another meal there the next time they came by. So the dance is to tamp down the plastic, readying it for the attraction of more food. It's either insect husbandry or mindfulness of the building managers' intention to keep the chips as they are, either way a wicked smart move by some animals I already knew were pretty sharp.

See you in six months!

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