Raccoon Oddity

3earedcoon1Notice anything peculiar about these raccoons?

My son Rob took this photo at his house in NJ.  The raccoons are probably descendents of raccoons  released in the 70s and 80s, when I was doing wildlife rehabilitation there.

Raccoons have continued to  visit ever since.  They seem to like climbing on the logs and of course, raid the bird feeders.  Last fall, when I was house-sitting, one was in the woodstove chimney, which I wrote about in this post.

Rob sent me these photos last night, and I must admit I’ve never seen anything like this before.

3earedcoon2That’s not a pile of half-hidden raccoons.  That’s only two, and the little guy on the right has three ears.   Other than that little detail, the youngster appears quite normal.   Of course, without capturing and examining this little guy,  it’s impossible to know if the ear is actually a functioning ear, or just the outer parts of one.  I’m also wondering if the normal ear is functional at all.

Deformities in wildlife, like extra or missing limbs, are usually an indicator of something amiss in the environment, but they also usually first appear in ‘less evolved’  species like frogs.  Maybe Momma raided too many trash cans?

One baby with a defect probably isn’t much cause for concern, but I’m hoping we don’t see many more like this little guy (or girl).  I’d be interested in hearing (no pun intended) about any similar oddities you’ve seen in raccoons.

He is kind of cute though, don’t you think?


5 Responses to “Raccoon Oddity”

  1. Jennifer Schlick Says:

    Whoa. That is wonderfully strange.

  2. Giddy Says:

    They’re always cute when they’re little. We call our resident raccoon “Big Booda”. We have to take our hummingbird feeder in every night or else he will empty it!

  3. Larry Says:

    I woner if it could be a twin that never split completely.I’ve heard of that in humans.

  4. KGMom Says:

    Actually–I thought there were 3 there–one with head tucked down, and only ear visible.

  5. obi4240 Says:

    Could be a twin – or could be a third raccoon, as KGMOM mentions. Rob and I have looked at this photo again and again and can’t decide. He says he didn’t get to see the baby alone, they hadn’t moved when he needed to leave. This litter is from a ‘new’ mom that doesn’t come there very often. He’s watching for her – hoping to clear this up. I’ll post it here when he sees them again.

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