DEAR JOAN: My home backs up to Los Gatos Creek so we have our share of critters -- squirrels, opossums, raccoons, an occasional skunk.

The creek has been dried up now for several days and we have seen some young raccoons, high up in a tree. We normally do not see raccoons in the daytime and are wondering why are they are alone and so high up in our tree. Are they abandoned or are the parents off searching for water?

Gloria Beltran

San Jose

DEAR GLORIA: Although raccoons are most active at night, it's not unusual to see them during the day when food is scarce.

A pair of young raccoons await their mother’s return.
A pair of young raccoons await their mother's return. (Courtesy of Gloria Beltran)

I'm guessing the young raccoons have been parked in the tree by their mother to keep them safe while she's out looking for meals or, as you suggest, water. There is a chance that something has happened to the mother, so if you don't see signs of the mom, contact the wildlife rescue group in your area.

The young generally stay with their mothers for about a year.

DEAR JOAN: We have a fish pond with floating planters made of plastic foam covered with a black nylon material. We get overnight visits from some creature that tears up the nylon and foam. Any ideas what would do that, and what we can do? Eating that stuff cannot be good for them.

Bob Turner


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Castro Valley

DEAR BOB: That sounds like the work of raccoons. They are suckers for seafood, whether it be your expensive koi or water creatures that attach themselves to your floating planters.

To stop this behavior, you'll need to fence off the pond. You can use a low fence that extends outward over the pond. The raccoons won't be able to reach across it, and they won't amble out onto it as it won't support their weight.

You also can use a low-voltage shock wire around the perimeter of the pond. Repellents may work, too.

If your fish are disappearing, be sure to provide rocks and other places for them to hide.

DEAR JOAN: Thank you for finally reminding your readers trying to foil hunting hawks that nature has her way and her way with hawks, as with other predators, is to kill not for entertainment but for their survival.

If only humans would take a page from her guidebook and apply her principles to our own behavior, our world would be more safe and sane for us and for all other living things of her creation.

Art Tenbrink

Pleasanton

DEAR ART: Indeed.

Pigeon party

I really admire the folks at MickaCoo Pigeon and Dove Rescue, a nonprofit organization that cares for and finds homes for the lost and abandoned birds.

MickaCoo and its network of volunteers respond to calls from shelters, veterinarians and good Samaritans, caring for about 100 birds at any given time. They also work with the birds until they are adoptable, and then work to find these beautiful birds forever homes.

Learn more about MickaCoo and meet some of their birds from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at For Other Living Things, 1261 S. Mary Ave., Sunnyvale. You might find a new feathered friend or sign up as a volunteer yourself.

Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com. Read the Animal Life blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/pets.