I wish I'd done this, but credit must go to Gothamist, which reports that raccoons are overrunning our nearby historic Green-Wood Cemetery, "digging up the grass over graves, eating the flowers left by mourners, and even invading crypts to scavenge for food." (Are the mourners of Brooklyn going totally Egyptian and leaving snack offerings for their dead, or are these raccoons flesh-eating zombies?) The caretakers can trap them but the Center for Animal Care and Control here in Brooklyn won't take them, because they are not rabid, so the critters wind up just being re-released elsewhere in the cemetery. (It seems to me that if you fed a raccoon a peanut-butter-covered bar of soap and slipped it a Xanax, you could make a convincing case for rabies at the CACC intake desk, but I digress.)
I feel a bit jealous; we've only had one masked furry marauder in recent years, doing a tightrope walk along the telephone wires on our back property line. Despite being a few blocks from Prospect Park, we get infrequent visits, perhaps because the critters must traverse two truck routes to get here from the park. (I've seen stripey-tailed roadkill once or twice on Caton Avenue, our corner thoroughfare.)
Or maybe the raccoons are no match for our Tiny Terrors, who are not so tiny after gorging themselves on the contents of our garbage cans. Bagel and his clan are simply out of control. The day I photographed this glutton and his carbohydrate feast, I insisted to Spouse that lids go back on the garbage cans. I also wondered aloud about a possible connection between Tree-Rat Proliferation (up to six at a time sashaying across the garage roof!) and a curious absence of roaming cats on our property this winter. Several of our stalwarts, like Hercules the Squirrel-Slayer, have disappeared, and no new feral felines had appeared to take over the turf.
Well, how about this: Speak it and they will come. Some feline Curtis Sliwa must have put out the call for the Guardian Angelcats. The very next day, a dark tabby Tom appeared from nowhere, hollering for ladies with a lean and hungry look. Then a handsome polydactyl guy with a studded collar showed up to roll in the dead catmint. Then two more Toms slipped down the alley. I haven't found any dismembered tail trophies lying around, but I haven't seen any gangs bigger than two, either.
Be afraid, Bagel. Be very afraid.