Procyon lotor is the scientific name of the Common Raccoon. It literally means "like a dog that washes its food." Astronomy buffs will also recognize Procyon as the brightest star in Canis Minor. I caught these guys in my koi pond yesterday afternoon. There were five altogether, not fully grown. They are probably littermates who have not yet learned that they are supposed to be nocturnal. Grabbing a photo was a challenge. They kept scooting around to the other side of the tree.
Having them around is a mixed blessing. They have chewed up one hot tub lid and they can make quite a mess in the koi pond. Their dexterous little fingers managed to pull all the weather stripping off the bottom of the back door. This time, I caught them before they could do any real damage. Despite rascally behavior, they are definitely cute and engaging creatures. At night I have had them climb up onto my front deck and look in the windows. Startling!
They have adapted successfully to living in our environments and they are not a bit afraid of us. If you try to chase them off, they just stand defiantly and stare at you, always staying out of reach. They are omnivores, eating almost anything they can grasp in their hand-like forepaws. I have had them in my trees during the spring courtship season. It involves a lot of screaming that sounds like cats fighting. There is never a dull moment when you share the world with wildlife.