From The New York Shitty Inbox: What To Do With A Dead Raccoon?

A lady we’ll call “S” writes (in an email entitled “Nature red tooth and claw in Greenpoint “) yesterday evening at 10:51 p.m.:

Hi Heather,

Knowing that you regularly report on raccoon sightings and doings in Greenpoint (in fact, last year you published a picture of a raccoon looking through my back door at my cat) I had to tell you the terrible event I witnessed tonight. At about 7 o’clock while I was cooking dinner I started to hear weird high pitched sounds coming from my back yard. Like a strange bird, or kids yelling or like a dog yelping in pain. My cat was frantic at the back door. So my daughter and I got flashlights and went out on our porch. We could hear thumping and rustling sounds coming from the space between the porch and the house next door. We shone our flashlights down and saw raccoons wrestling. At first it wasn’t clear what they were doing. Mating? Fighting each other over some food? As we watched it became clear that this was a serious fight between the two. The larger raccoon was biting and then jerking its head to the side the way carnivores do to tear at their prey. I tried to stop it by banging on a pot and then throwing some water down on them, but they remained locked in combat. We tried to take pictures of the fight, buy it was too dark. Eventually the larger one killed the smaller one and proceeded to eviscerate and eat part of it. We could tell from the crunching sounds. We left him to his meal and when we came back out a short time later the victor was gone leaving the dead raccoon. And I’m sure not going down there to investigate until daylight! This was amazing to me because I have never observed raccoons to be aggressive or violent with each other. There is a group that lives in the nearby backyards and I would see them frequently until the weather got cold. Recently the weather has been so mild it’s hard to believe that they have been driven to cannibalism by cold and hunger. Zombie raccoons?

Now what does one do with a dead raccoon? I considered putting a post on Craigslist to see if there was an amateur taxidermist who might want it. Then I started thinking of the responses I might get. Joel, the nice guy at 311 told me to call tomorrow and to emphasize that the raccoon might have had rabies so that animal control will come and take the corpse. Otherwise I can bag it and put it out with the rest of the trash. Ewwwww! Can you think of any other way to deal with it?

Besides sharing the weirdness of this incident with you and soliciting your disposal ideas, I also wanted to know if you have heard of anything like this. Maybe you should warn people that raccoons could attack pets left in the back yards. I don’t want to see an anti-raccoon crusade start in Greenpoint. I always thought it was kind of magical to see the raccoon group making its rounds, eating apples in my tree or sleeping on the fire escape. But I am going to be a little more cautious in the future.

Your fellow wildlife fan,


PS–I just remembered that this morning I saw the Cooper’s hawk in my back yard. It’s a regular Mutual of Omaha show around here!!

After re-reading this item (there was quite a lot to absorb) I brought it to the Mister’s attention. His response was as follows:

Cook it.*

After calling him a wise-ass (which he is) I pointed out that some time ago a raccoon was found with rabies in Long Island City and as such consuming one may not be such a good idea. He agreed. We also agreed that advertising it on Craigslist would in all likelihood net some responses this woman may not find palatable. In the end we concluded that 311 was the way to go, the operator with whom she spoke counseled her well and, yes, pet owners need to be mindful we do share our community with these critters. While raccoons are generally not aggressive, they can be. Take note, north ‘Pointers!

*NOTE: This comes from a man who recently saw fit to prepare popcorn with leftover bacon fat. In so doing he created what can best be described as sauna /steam room whose aromatic ambiance was not unlike being in a vat of hot dog water. It took running the exhaust fan for 45 minutes to make the kitchen habitable. Yup.


4 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: What To Do With A Dead Raccoon?

  1. reagan9000 on Fri, 1st Mar 2013 3:37 pm
  2. Dead raccoons on your property are handled the same way that 311 told me to dispose of a dead cat in my back yard: bag it, mark the bag with “DEAD ANIMAL” or something equally descriptive, and leave it out with your other trash for sanitation to pick up on their usual run.

    I put the large, dead black cat that was under my backyard table into a bag and marked it ‘DEAD CAT’ on a huge piece of masking tape that I used to seal the bag. Over the course of 3 pick up days, our sanitation guys would not take it. Finally, to get the rotting corpse out of my garbage bin, I removed the tape; they picked it up on their next visit.

    If the carcass is on a public street or area, you can submit a ‘dead animal removal request’ to the DSNY. If it’s on your property, bagging and tagging is the landlord’s responsibility.

  3. missheather on Fri, 1st Mar 2013 5:05 pm
  4. Thanks for the detailed answer!

  5. India St. Kali on Fri, 1st Mar 2013 5:30 pm
  6. Sharon here. After seeing the deceased in the light of day, my husband and I decided that the poor thing was small enough and intact enough for us to handle ourselves. The departed raccoon is now triple bagged and reposing on my front stoop waiting for tomorrow’s trash pickup. The 311 operator I spoke to did not mention labeling the bag so I will take reagan9000’s tip and forget the label. Thanks reagan9000 and miss heather. Tell Mr. Heather I’ll be sending some photo documentation for him to enjoy!

  7. missheather on Fri, 1st Mar 2013 5:40 pm
  8. Ha, will do! Go for it!!! 🙂 I’ll print ’em out and put ’em on our refrigerator for his edification.

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