Thoughts on a Bio-blitz and More


Two baby raccoons are alone. Their mother is nowhere in sight. One kit is vigorous and flees to a tree, growling, when three humans approach. The other lies quietly and stares at them with a hollow look in its eyes. Perhaps it is ill; maybe dehydrated. Whatever the cause, the kit does not have the strength to object to the close proximity of its guests. Its sibling in the tree is agitated and calls down, as if to assure the sickly one of its presence.

The humans are concerned. What has happened to the kits’ mother? Why are they roaming out in the open during the middle of the day when raccoons are naturally nocturnal? They decide to aid the kits, in the hope that by doing so they will survive until their mother recovers them. One human retrieves a towel from the cabin, another brings a small dish, and the last returns with a water bottle and raisins. The only question now is how to reunite the two kits.

The kit in the tree attempts to crawl down headfirst. His claws are not meant to grip the bark from this direction and he slips, catching himself after a foot or so. After discovering that going down tail-first is his only means, he finally reaches the ground.

One human decides to herd him toward the base of the tree where the other kit has crawled. This is not successful, initially, but with patience the human is able to coax the kit into following it toward the sibling. They reunite! And quickly fall asleep, tucked close together, secure in the nearness and comfort of kin.

By Breanne Vander Naald

Article Comments

  • Anonymous

    What a treat to know the Biological Station is still alive and well. My father, David S. Shetter, B.S. Biology 1932, M.S. 1933, Ph.D. Zoology, 1937, enjoyed many summers there and until recently we had a scrapbook showing the activities and the friends he met there. Unfortunately, the storage space in Florida retirement homes dictates that some things have to be cleaned out. Wish I had known where to send it. This was definitely a seminal experience for a city guy from Cleveland. He loved everthing and had a hard time deciding what to do for his advanced degrees – ichthyology, entymology or herpetology.

    Dad subsequently went on to become the director of the Hunt Creek Fisheries Experiment Station in Lewiston from 1943 until his death in 1969. This is now under DNR management. My brother and I grew up at the “Lab”. A wonderful place to learn about the out of doors – many students and scholars coming and going. All summer there were folks camped out on the property observing or collecting. We learned VERY early not to disturb anyone or anything in jars, nets or collecting trays.

    There were no data bases established for many things we take for granted today. Hunt Creek has one of the longest data bases in existence for a freshwater trout stream. I certainly hope the current budget crises does not put that in jeopardy.

    Call Andy Nuhfer, the current director and have him show you the scrapbook I did on the history of Hunt Creek last year. I think you could do a good article on that and what the Lovells Historical Society is doing for the fishing lodges on the North Branch and the Main Stream. All of this was tied together in the beginning.

    Keep up the good work!


    Alice Shetter Hoelzer-Hawthorne
    3808 Doune Way
    Clermont, FL 34711