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Thread: Why would a large raccoon trap a smaller one in a tree?

  1. #1 Why would a large raccoon trap a smaller one in a tree? 
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    Hello.
    I live in a PA suburb and I regularly observe raccoons in my yard. Tonight I saw a large raccoon fighting with a small raccoon in a large tree about 50 feet off the ground in the freezing rain. The large raccoon had backed up the smaller one and trapped it at the edge of a branch with nowhere to go. Whenever the small one would try to get down the large one would fight and back it up again. It is now a few hours later and they are still up there with the fight getting loud every half hour or so. Does anyone know anything about this behavior and if there is some reason behind it? Thanks.
    Bernie C-


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  3. #2  
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    Male raccoons will kill any young not their own. Maybe that's what it was.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Shoot the big Racoon. What a meanie.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Shoot the big Racoon. What a meanie.
    I strongly disagree, and hope this statement was sarcastic.

    If I had to shoot one I would shoot the smaller. I would much rather shoot none.

    It is common behavior among species of Carnivora, and were the smaller one larger and older it would have behaved the same way.
    Bears, cougars, even social wolves all perform such behaviors.

    I wouldn't blame the aggressor for a few reasons:
    -As explained above, it is natural behavior that the victim would likely do with just as little justification. I would much rather also let natural selection go about its course, and it is likely that the older male is more fit than the younger.
    -The victim is often note entirely innocent. I remember reading a report on Florida panthers which mentioned an old male's territory being invaded by a younger male. The old one kept giving up more and more of his old territory as the young one consistently advanced the size of his. Eventually, the older male was forced to defend it, and then killed the young male. It is obvious who the meanie was here-the young one had it coming, and had he won it would have been the tragedy.
    -In the case of bears the older males normally try to chase away the subadults rather than actually trying to kill them at first. It is normally after humans return males who have been raiding human food sources to the old territory form which they have been chased that they are seriously attacked (having not learned their lesson). Please note that this is a biased sample-any bears that were killed first obviously wouldn't have been able to raid human food sources, so this isn't as personified as it may sound. Food is a limited resource for all of them (bears, cougars, wolves, coons, etc), and if the large do not wish to starve they must force the others from their resources. It seems unjustified to shoot the ones who have demonstrated that they are good at surviving long term as well as accruing food in favor of those where this isn't the case and are in the same situation.

    I also would expect the young one to have a very good chance of eventually surviving and escaping, so I would much rather not shoot it either.

    EDIT:
    I just thought of a much more intelligent and concise way to respond to the above quote:
    To call either raccoon a meanie would be to personify it, making that an unjust judgment.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.Elrod
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Shoot the big Racoon. What a meanie.
    I strongly disagree, and hope this statement was sarcastic.

    If I had to shoot one I would shoot the smaller. I would much rather shoot none.

    It is common behavior among species of Carnivora, and were the smaller one larger and older it would have behaved the same way.
    Bears, cougars, even social wolves all perform such behaviors.

    I wouldn't blame the aggressor for a few reasons:
    -As explained above, it is natural behavior that the victim would likely do with just as little justification. I would much rather also let natural selection go about its course, and it is likely that the older male is more fit than the younger.
    -The victim is often note entirely innocent. I remember reading a report on Florida panthers which mentioned an old male's territory being invaded by a younger male. The old one kept giving up more and more of his old territory as the young one consistently advanced the size of his. Eventually, the older male was forced to defend it, and then killed the young male. It is obvious who the meanie was here-the young one had it coming, and had he won it would have been the tragedy.
    -In the case of bears the older males normally try to chase away the subadults rather than actually trying to kill them at first. It is normally after humans return males who have been raiding human food sources to the old territory form which they have been chased that they are seriously attacked (having not learned their lesson). Please note that this is a biased sample-any bears that were killed first obviously wouldn't have been able to raid human food sources, so this isn't as personified as it may sound. Food is a limited resource for all of them (bears, cougars, wolves, coons, etc), and if the large do not wish to starve they must force the others from their resources. It seems unjustified to shoot the ones who have demonstrated that they are good at surviving long term as well as accruing food in favor of those where this isn't the case and are in the same situation.

    I also would expect the young one to have a very good chance of eventually surviving and escaping, so I would much rather not shoot it either.

    EDIT:
    I just thought of a much more intelligent and concise way to respond to the above quote:
    To call either raccoon a meanie would be to personify it, making that an unjust judgment.
    I was merely joking. Your answer was very interesting though and i enjoyed reading it. I agree with your views and if it was my own experience id also most likely do nothing but observe.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    I was merely joking. Your answer was very interesting though and i enjoyed reading it. I agree with your views and if it was my own experience id also most likely do nothing but observe.
    Thanks, I figured there was a good chance you were joking, but I didn't know your posting history (being knew) so I took it at face value.
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  8. #7 Thanks for the replies 
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    Thanks for the replies. Shooting really never entered into it. I only observe the animals, I donít know enough about them to intervene. They ended up fighting all night long, from about 9pm to about 5am give or take an hour or so. I went out at dawn and they were both gone. I thought I may find one of them dead on the ground but I did not see anything so I guess they both survived.
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  9. #8  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    The basic concept here is territoriality. Animals will go to great lengths to demonstrate their ownership of a territory, and will generally do so without engaging risky combat. Combat opens the possibility of wounds, infection, and death, regardless of who wins. Proverbial chess matches such as that you described in the OP allow the stronger organism to confirm ownership of the vicinity, to essentially own all of the resources and reproductive opportunities within, and all without wasting any energy in a fight or opening themselves up to risk of damage.
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  10. #9 Nice theory! Wish I'd have considered it too.. 
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    C. Elrod, nice reply, thank you for posting your theory. This just happened at 5:30 am here, where two larger raccoons were fighting a smaller coon in our yard. I hissed out the window and thought they left but soon, one large coon had cornered the smaller one on the limb of a tree. I noticed that there was blood where they had fought so I went out and threw snow balls near them to chase them down and let the little one go. I made the little one know he wasn't welcome either because I think the neighbour has enough trouble dealing with them in their garage. I couldn't bear the vision of the little one falling/having blood on the fence. It makes sense to me now that the little one would be invading their established territory. Nice post. I agree with those who say not to interfere but I reacted to defend and prevent more loss of life without such an interesting theory. I rescued a mouse from a cat's mouth once and mangled up, it almost looked at me as if to say "what are you interfering with?" lol.
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    Forum Masters Degree DianeG's Avatar
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    I once gave a raccoon that wondered on to my patio an orea cookie. He came back again and I gave him another cookie. The next night he was back with two other raccoons. I'd really like to know how that conversation went down.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    I once gave a raccoon that wondered on to my patio an orea cookie. He came back again and I gave him another cookie. The next night he was back with two other raccoons. I'd really like to know how that conversation went down.
    The first raccoon went back and told the other raccoon's that he trained another human into giving him food and to go back with him for some free handouts.
    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
    Jimi Hendrix
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