There’s a Raccoon Baby Boom in Riverside Park

Little raccoons have been clambering around a wall in Riverside Park at 108th Street , evidence that the spring raccoon baby boom is in full swing.

Barbara Peck, who sent the photo above, said the little animals are putting on a show — chasing each other, darting in and out of hiding places, licking each other clean. Just like children who’ve been home-schooling for a month! “These guys were particularly cute, and don’t we all need cuteness right now?” she asked.

Our friend Melissa Cooper writes on her “Out Walking the Dog” blog that she’s amazed by the numbers this year.

“This year seems to have yielded a bumper crop with little guys pouring out of the den like clowns from a clown car. I counted seven the other night, bumbling up and down the wall and bumping into each other like furry Keystone Kops,” she wrote.

Melissa posted the video below:

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. Audrey says:

      Love this! How cute and what a great video.

    2. Evan Bando says:

      Okay, I’ll say it: they might as well be rats. I prefer children playing in the park, not rodents.

      • B.B. says:

        Raccoons are members of procyonidae family, and are not rodents. If anything they are more closely related to bears than anything else.

        • Evan Bando says:

          I wasn’t trying to be wikipedia correct. I use “rodent” as a poetic metaphor, as in Shakespeare’s (paraphrasing alert) “a rodent by any other name would be as disgusting and vicious especially when they get older.” And I prefer my bears “Smokey.”

      • Mona Morris says:

        Wow, you certainly can’t appreciate Gods adorable, nature gifts!!!!! They are precious and hardly a rat!!!!!! And a bonus, they are quiet and harmless!

    3. Ruth Bonnet says:

      Cute now – but just wait. Vicious creatures!

      • SophiaG says:

        I’ve heard those remarks in other contexts and I’ve always chose to ignore them. Am I wrong to not notice?

    4. lynn says:

      I don’t care if raccoons are vicious or not because I don’t plan on taking one home with me, lol. I think seeing so many of them at one time is adorable. A family member in the midwest just sent me a video of an entire herd of deer using the town bridge to cross the river (it leads from one side of town to the other and nowhere near their natural habitat). The animals are coming out to see what happened to us. ; )

    5. Edie says:

      I think I saw a little crew of five at the same location (or a similar wall maybe 10 blocks north?) last Spring. So cute.

      But city life can still be hard on them. See how one little one already lost his/her tail 🙁

    6. Linda says:

      Thanks Melissa for the video of beautiful wildlife!!!

      • Christine says:

        I have a pet racoon ! She came to me at about 2 weeks old, we bottle fed her and raised her.
        Shes about 10 months old now She is very cute , very sociable and really really smart. She loves in my barn and in occasionally hangs out in tje garage I tell people shes smarter than my damn dogs ! lol I call her and she comes , the dogs ? yeah off running around

      • You are welcome, Linda!
        To reply to a couple of other comments:
        1. the babies this year seem to have mange, which is a shame. I’ll keep an eye on them and post again on Out Walking the Dog. Squirrels in Riverside Park had mange almost ten years ago. Sad for individual animals.
        2. People are right to be wary of all wild animals, which can carry diseases and PLEASE DON’T FEED THEM. I saw someone HAND-FEEDING these little guys on top of the retaining wall. This sets them up to become nuisances and may also contributes to their over-population. We had a raccoon rabies epidemic in Manhattan not that long ago.
        So enjoy our urban wildlife, but from a (more than social) distance.
        Thanks for reading!

    7. wombatNYC says:

      Been noticing lots more rats on the streets in various states. From running to squashed .
      The Coons are Nasty Creatures !

    8. Steevie says:

      I saw 2 in Morningside Park climbing the walls at 114th Street. The wall there would seem to be much harder to climb because the blocks don’t stick out nearly as far. But they stopped climbing, stared at me and then continued climbing.

    9. Ginger says:

      I’ve raised several raccoons. I have 4 now that are 2 weeks old. Best companions ever,Pure entertainment! Mine have their shots and are wormed. They live in my yard but have a secure place to stay at night. Mine are probably different than most raccoons because I’ve gotten all of them before their eyes are open. They sleep at night and play during the day. However, I would NEVER try to feed or handle one that I didn’t know or raise myself! I love them!

    10. Curmudgeon West Sider says:

      They spread disease. In groups they are vicious and will attack a small dog. But they make nice coats. I’d like a coat please. Or send them to a forest. Not in NYC thank you.

      • Bonnie says:

        I am scared of them! but will never hurt them!!!!they are cute! They are on my porch at night and I say go ’ they look at me!

    11. SBG says:

      Thanks Melissa for the delightful pictures & for your sensible comment. I’m going to look on the web for your blog (?) “Out Walking the Dog”.
      I recommend to the people writing about rats, & in fact to all readers of West Side Rag, that they read Albert Camus’ “The Plague”. It is just as great & as real about pandemic & human nature as it was when it was written. And it has rats — horrifying rats — & lots of them.
      I bought it at the wonderful second-hand bookstore, Westsider Books, just as we began hearing about Covid. I miss Westsider now it’s closed, & hope so much that it will be able to reopen in due time.

    12. Larry Lox says:

      These things are gross. This is not their natural habitat and without natural predators their population is starting to overwhelm our parks. If Mayor Deblasio wasn’t waking up at noon every day and taking 3 hours to walk in Brooklyn maybe he’d have time to address quality of life issues in our city. So sad.

      • Kindly Dr dave says:

        Donald J. T. said regarding the only dog ever forced into his household: “GET THAT THING AWAY FROM ME!” Nuff said.

    13. Essay says:

      Adorable critters!

    14. Michele says:

      Thank you Melissa. I love raccoons, they are incredibly intelligent and adorable. I would rather see them than rats any day. Now that people are contained the wildlife is coming out!

    15. Kindly Dr dave says:

      There is another family at 116th street. They also live in the wall and are usually only seen after dark. Please do not harm them unless they attack you. (They won’t.)

    16. JerryV says:

      Enjoy them from a distance but do not get close or touch the soil around their dens. Besides being carriers of rabies, many of them are infected with an intestinal roundworm (Baylisacaris procyonis). The eggs of this worm are passed in the feces of the raccoon and if accidentally ingested by a human, the larvae from these eggs can infect the brain and cause blindness or death.

    17. Wow! Thank you! I permanently needed to write on my blog somethhing like that.
      Can I take a part of you post to my site?