My Furry Neighbors

by Joshua Clayton
Also Featured on KCBS
11.04.13

My new neighbors aren’t all that bad. We actually have more in common than I thought.

I first met them on 13th St. in West Oakland and I thought they were just passing by, so I didn’t pay them any attention. But when I saw them take their babies into the sewer, I knew they were here for good.

Mr. and Mrs. Lotor had just moved in with the little ones.  Procyon lotor is their full name, but most of us just call them raccoons.  Soon, I started seeing them everywhere. Some people my age were scared and thought raccoons were vicious animals who would give them rabies. But I was amazed to see wildlife in West Oakland, and I wanted to know more.

I learned that the majority of raccoons don’t have rabies, and while they are territorial, they don’t usually attack unless provoked. They can solve difficult problems and remember the answer for years. Raccoons have five fingers and take what they need, like meat, fruits, and wheat.

Just because you see an unfamiliar creature, it doesn’t mean it will bite you. The more we learn about our neighbors, the less we fear them.

Support young journalists and artists