Yesterday evening we got a phone call from our neighbour. He reported a suspicious raccoon sighting along the road, saying that the animal was on the way up our direction and that we might want to keep Dixie inside or at least not without supervision. Bea sent this message out over a local Facebook page and soon other people reported their sightings. One islander said that a raccoon had been seen just on our side of the bridge. Obviously it had crossed the International bridge and become an alien to Canada. Normally, a raccoon sighting would not be so outlandish, but this one had exhibited some strange behavior like not being afraid of cars going by and pawing the ground. So could it be rabies? The danger of encountering rabid animals on the island is normally small, but in Maine Rabies is more common and obviously the Maine Department of Wildlife isn't doing much, if anything, to fight the spread of the disease.
This morning I was up bright and early and let out Dixie. I followed her out the door and she started sniffing the immediate area around our porch. I got suspicious right away, could it be the raccoon she was tracing? But she got back inside with me and all I did was telling Bea about Dixie's behavior.
Several hours later I went out again to start splitting some firewood. Dixie was with me and suddenly I heard a deep growl from her. Turning around, I saw that her attention was towards the porch. Our porch is based on deck blocks and open all around under the deck. But we have a hatch over the stairs down into the basement and I went and opened it. Looking into the dark area under the planks I saw an animal moving its head. The RACCOON! Dixie had been right. The raccoon in question has settled in dry leaves under our porch.
The news spread around on the island and this afternoon the community secretary stopped by and brought a raccoon trap and a tin can of tuna! A 2. trap was acquired from our neighbour and both are baited up. If the raccoon should go into the trap over night, it will be shot and delivered to veterinary forensics to determine whether it is a case of rabies or some other disease.
Check back tomorrow!