To paraphrase George C Scott in Patton: Thirty years from now, when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, “What did you do in the great raccoon war?” What will you answer?
In the City of Toronto, Mayor John Tory is talking like George Patton too, as he declares war on the raccoons that are everywhere in this town, and in many other cities.
We are ready, we are armed and we are motivated to show that we cannot be defeated by these critters. We have left no stone unturned in our fight against the Raccoon Nation. Defeat is not an option.
Mayor Tory wants to introduce a new green bin for the recycling program that has a kind of twist lock that theoretically, raccoons cannot open because they don’t have opposable thumbs. Elizabeth Renzetti is not impressed, and writes in the Globe and Mail:
I should warn you that I’m a quisling, a traitor to the human cause, because I am firmly on the raccoons’ side. Let them have our garbage. It is, quite literally, garbage. It’s not like they’re breaking into people’s houses and walking off with tiaras and Cuisinarts. We pay people to take away our trash, and the raccoons are willing to do it for free.
Lloyd Alter/ The view from my window/CC BY 2.0
She has a point. We have been feeding them forever and they are now part of the city. Our former neighbor used to put out six bowls for the mother raccoon and her five kids. They are cute.
On the other hand, at our house they moved onto our roof and cost hundreds to get them escorted away. They crap all over our deck. When I once laid sod they kept rolling it back up neatly to get at the grubs underneath. They are very smart and according to the 2012 video Raccoon Nation, are getting smarter. Roberta wrote in TreeHugger:
As omnivores, they adapt well and learn more quickly. In fact, the complex obstacles the urban environments present raccoons are accelerating their development. With hand-like front feet they can open doors and their collapsible spines allow them to climb through crevasses. What’s next — opposable thumbs?
Perhaps we should be sharing our city with such clever creatures instead of trying to beat them. What do you think? Whose side are you on?