Monday, July 15, 2013,
This is a young raccoon working the mud at low tide along the Nissequogue River. The Nissy’s bottom ranges from rocky – this is the North Shore of Long Island after all – to firm sand to mud that’s darn near quicksand. No fooling. The mud flats of this river are extremely soft. A grown man can easily sink past his knees if he’s not careful. This is one of the benefits or curses or just plain quirks of living on a tidal river. It kinda depends on what you’re trying to do at the moment. Right here, it’s pretty muddy. This little one isn’t even half-grown but just look at how deep it’s rear legs are sinking into the mud. Not so good for you or me to go walking in but this mud offers a bonanza of goodies for other intrepid explorers. The mud here is highly organic and it attracts, and feeds, a host of of critters including several species of clams, crabs, mussels, and worms. I see the night herons pulling worms that are eight inches or better. This guy is probably looking for shellfish but raccoons are not at all selective in their diet – biologists would call that ‘omnivorous’ – and just about everything is on the menu. Raccoons will eat just about anything, Besides the aforementioned invertebrates, raccoons will also dine on birds (and their eggs), even dead animals and slugs. Yecch! And garbage. We can’t forget about garbage. Some raccoons make a good living out of several of my neighbors’ garbage. A simple bungee cord would help a lot of those folks.