Barnstable Raccoons Bob For Apples in Adorable Video
Some may say it's still too early to be shopping for fall decorations and sipping on pumpkin spice lattes, but the raccoons at the New England Wildlife Center's Cape branch seem pretty excited to be getting in the spirit of the season.
The branch, which is based out of Barnstable on Cape Cod, shared a video of some of its resident recovering raccoons on Tuesday. The video shows the raccoons "bobbing for apples," and believe it or not, this popular fall activity is actually an enrichment activity for the animals that will help them in their rehabilitation.
"Activities like this one play an important role in healthy development for our young patients," the branch shared on its Facebook page. "As orphans they do not have the benefit of parental wisdom and guidance as they mature, which leaves them at a significant disadvantage compared to their wild counterparts. To help them compensate we design tasks that challenge them to learn the proper behavioral and tactile skills to survive in the wild."
Watching the raccoons poke and feel around for apples in the water, you'll notice that there's not just one individual participating in the activity, and there's actually a very specific reason for that. Since wild raccoons can often find themselves in close quarters, possibly even sharing habitat, with others of their species, activities like these can help recovering raccoons build up their social skills.
"Just like with us humans, everyone does not always get along and disagreements happen from time to time," the branch wrote. "In the raccoon world this usually takes the form of a short skirmish and a lot of growling, but significant injuries can occur. Learning and maintaining a healthy sense of size, age, and boundaries from a young age can help them integrate with wild populations."
And soon enough, these raccoons will finally have the chance to rejoin their own populations back in the wild. NEWC's Cape Branch shared that this group will be receiving their final round of distemper and rabies vaccinations soon before they are released back in the wild within the next few weeks.