Stepped out into the back yard at dusk a couple of days ago and came face to face with a raccoon! Usually they are heard but not seen, or leave evidence of their presence - footprints or overturned garbage pails. To actually confront one is quite unusual as they are nocturnal creatures. I don't know who was more surprised as neither of us moved for about 30 seconds, then he climbed the fence and disappeared into my neighbour's yard.
True to his thieving nature, I had caught him in the act of stripping my raspberry bushes of ripe berries! This may have been what lured him out before dark. He wasn't very big, about the size of a large cat, so I think he may have been a youngster, not aware of the dangers humans present. Although, truthfully, there was no way I was going to go after him with a shovel. I did that once when a family of raccoons settled in my attic to breed - and did extensive and expensive damage to my roof before being unceremoniously evicted by a wildlife control officer.
A few nights ago, as I was reading in the family room, there was an unholy crash outside. Although I went out and peered around, I couldn't identify what had made the noise. However, come morning, I discovered the bowl of my birdbath in two pieces on the ground. Now I suspect the culprit may have been my new raccoon friend looking for a drink of water.
It got very dark a few minutes ago and now the heavens have opened and I just heard a crash of thunder. So much for tennis tonight. This was to have been a "food night" - in between matches we are treated to pizza, wings and other goodies - but I guess I will have to fend for myself for dinner tonight.