Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rendezvous with Rocky

Thursday, April 12, 2007
Burlington, VT

It was a sloppy, snowy Thursday afternoon. I returned home, parked the Honda in the driveway and was removing my bags from the front passenger side seat, just a normal day. Or so it seemed . . . .

Suddenly, I felt something grabbing on my left leg. I looked down. What the hell! What is going on here? A giant raccoon was grabbing my leg and making crazy grunting and snorting noises.

Needless to say, I screamed my head off! Luckily, this scared the raccoon and it turned tail and ran away. I prefer to refer to the situation I found myself in as an attack. Although, the term has been challenged by so-called friends. :)

Thankfully, it didn't bite or scratch me. It literally just grabbed me. Later research revealed that raccoon are not only incredibly smart, but can be rather vicious as well.

Two college girls who had just parked their red car on the street saw it too, and they ran away to their porch. After hearing my screams, my husband came downstairs to investigate the commotion. Naturally, he made fun of me and then proceeded to question the validity of my experience.

I ran upstairs and immediately called my landlord. Being that it was after 4PM, I left a stern and rather scattered message. (It was clear from the tracks in the snow that the raccoon had leapt out from a dilapidated garage.) Then seeing the humor and absurdity I called my parents to share my story. (I should have guessed that my dad had had a raccoon encounter as a teenager.)

Later, I called the police department and spoke to an animal control officer. She suggested the raccoon had found a food source, and that it was mating season. This meant that it could be mother with babies, or a rather confused oversexed animal. At the urging of co-workers I then proceeded to call the state rabies hotline and then the state veterinarian (due to the fact that the rabies hotline guy thought the situation was of epidemiological interest).

Had I simply spooked the raccoon, or was it trying to mate with me?

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