~ About Sweet Baby Raccoons ~ “Our Story”

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We are so glad you found our site because it allows us to get a chance to tell our story about raising the most precious animals in the world, RACCOONS!

Arthur and Merlin came into our lives in August of 2003. We named them after King Arthur & Merlin the Magician. But, we call them Art Fart and Mer-Mer for short. They have several nicknames including “Mink-Minks”, “Monkeys” and “Sweeties”. They were about 3 weeks old when we got them. They had been abandoned and needed a mother and father to love them, take care of them and above all else “cherish” them.

I had never had the opportunity to raise a baby raccoon and never even thought about it! Raccoons were just raccoons, big deal. My husband, on the other hand, had been around raccoons since he was a child, and even raised a few of them himself. He would show me pictures of his raccoons that he raised from a bottle and I would quickly glance at the photo and say “that’s nice”. I was thinking “big deal! What is it with him? It’s just an ole raccoon!” I didn’t get it!

But now…..I do get it! You see, I have found that regarding Raccoons, it takes one to know one, so to speak. Once you do have the experience of being around a baby raccoon and raising one from a bottle, they become your joy and they steal your heart!


“The Coondo”


The Coondo in Winter


The Coondo in Summer – Plenty of shade to keep the Babies cool and comfy
(they also have a fan and a swimming pool!)

When Art and Mer were babies they lived in the house with us. Their home was a cardboard box filled with warm blankets, toys and their favorite bear. They lived contently in the house until they got big enough to “escape” from their box.

They soon moved to the carport of our home and lived in a small cage my husband had built. Well, they “quickly” outgrew that. It was decided that a large Coondo needed to be built for the boys. So, my husband starting building it on the carport. As he would build, Arthur and Merlin would suddenly jump from their little cage onto my husband’s shoulders. This would always startle him, but would always be welcomed by him as well. The “monkeys” would play in the new cage, climb my husband’s leg, hop around and play on the carport before ending up taking a nap in the Cat’s box. They were anxiously awaiting the Coondo to be finished. After several weeks of hard work, the Coondo was ready to be moved to the Boy’s new home site right behind our house. We live on a farm, bordering the woods, so we thought this would be a perfect location for them.

My husband did a fantastic job building their Coondo from just a few rough sketches and plans we came up with. But, he didn’t anticipate how heavy it would be! He ended up using the Tractor to lift the cage off the carport and transfer it to the woods. He built stilts and a frame for the Coondo to rest upon. With me directing him, after several trys, the Coondo was finally set in place. They love their home and we plan to add a new room on it this summer.


Man, these two handed push-ups are hard!!!


But one handed!!!! EVEN HARDER!!!!

THE EARLY YEARS

As Arthur and Merlin grew, we played with them in the woods, let them climb trees and explore. At night, we would bring them in the house and have playtime with us. We cleared one room in our house for them to use for the “play-pin”. My husband and I would get in there with them and let them go crazy. They had a ball. They would wrastle, crawl all over us, run and hop around and do “halloween cat”. Halloween cat is what we call it when they play with each other by bowing up and pinning their ears back and hopping straight up in the air before attacking and wrastling each other. They have all their toys in that room and have a ball with them. We did this for about 2 years, until the day my husband moved a desk in there!

Well, after the desk arrived, Merlin would have nothing to do with being in there. Arthur still loved his play room….still hopped, jumped, crawled all over us, etc. But Merlin would get nervous and chatter and climb our legs letting us know he wasn’t happy and wanted to go back to his house. So, for the last year, we haven’t brought them back in the house. Instead, we just get in their Coondo with them and play there. Merlin LOVES it when we do this. Merlin is really a home-body and he is much more comfortable being in his house than anywhere. Arthur, on the other hand, would be content being with us anywhere. But, we cater to Merlin in this case, so as not to upset his happiness.

Merlin drinks Diet Coke????????? (not really but we do)

Arthur and Merlin’s main diet is Purina One Natural Blends dog food both lamb mix and chicken mix. But they also get their treats (which they love!) Their favorite treats are “Muf-Mufs” (Hostess mini banana nut muffins) which look so cute in their little hands. They also adore Hickory nuts and pecans which my husband will collect and crack for them. They LOVE them. They also get unsalted roasted peanuts and the occasional mini marshmellow. Merlin loves crunchy chee-tos and Arthur loves fried shrimp tails. We also feed them live crawdads we catch from our spring fed creek. They go crazy over these.

WINTER IS FINALLY OVER!

Arthur and Merlin are shedding their winter coats…..so that means, summer is just around the corner. We’ve cut their food intake in half so that they can lose a few “winter” pounds. Arthur seems to be slimming down, but Merlin still has a way to go.

I just got back in from playing with them in their Coondo. They are so precious! They are sweet and playful this time of the evening. It’s just before dark, and if I hug one of them, the other starts getting jealous and “hopping” around the coondo. Then, one of them will attack “halloween cat” style and they start to wrastle! It is so funny to watch them.

Sometimes I just stop and realize what a “gift” God has given me. To be able to love two Sweet Raccoons and interact with them on a daily basis is just so special to me. Never in my life did I imagine that I would be so attached to two Raccoons! But, those little creatures touch my heart like no other animal ever has. I’ve always been an animal lover, and was always able to connect to my cats and dogs, but I have a connection to Arthur and Merlin that I cannot describe. And…I can feel the love they have towards me too.

My husband and I adore them both and we feel so blessed to share our lives with two Sweet Baby Raccoons!

Arthur and Merlin’s “NOT too excellent” Adventure

It is now HOT, HOT August, 2006 and the heat index is 100 degrees or over on some days.

Last Sunday I did a very terrible thing….

I went to clean Art and Mer’s cage at 9:00 a.m. and to give them fresh water for the day. I cooed and awed at my babies, gave them fresh water and washed their floor for the morning. When I finished, I went in and got dressed so that I could go to the grocery store. Long story short………I did not go back to the Coondo to check on Arthur and Merlin until about 3:30 that afternoon. And…….when I did go to check on them…..one of the cage doors was WIDE OPEN! My heart fell to the ground and the life drained out of me. Arthur and Merlin were gone and I guess they had been out of their coondo in the HOT 97 degree day since 9:00 a.m. or so that morning! I felt like such a bad Mother and began to cry, fearing for their safety and for their health.

I got my cell phone to call my husband at work and confess what I had done. I had left one of the cage doors either unlocked or completely open! I felt TERRIBLE. All I could see were my little boy’s faces, lost in the woods, scared, alone, with no water or fan to cool them. And with 40 acres of woods behind their Coondo…….they could be ANYWHERE!

After my husband calmed me down and assured me we would find them, I went in the house to put on proper clothing to trapse through the woods. I am highly allergic to poison ivy, so I covered all parts of my body with long sleeves, gloves, boots, etc. I was sweating immediately!

I started out through the woods on a path that I knew Arthur and Merlin usually took when we were supervising them in the woods. I went to all the trees they normally climbed. I called their names, over and over. I was crying…..I was scared and I knew they must be too.

I guess I looked for an hour or more when I had to go back to the house and get a drink of water and cool off. I was sitting in the back yard cooling off when my husband turned in our driveway. He had left work early, and I was soooo glad to see him.

We both resumed our search for our precious little animals. We split up and called their names over and over. Our dog Cole was helping us. My ears were tuned in to try to hear their sounds. I was trying to hear chatter or distress calls.

Nothing……

I decided to go to the house and get in the Gator and drive to a part of the woods. I had been to this area earlier in the day, but didn’t see anything at that time. I drove to a spot in the woods, turned off the Gator and got out. I called my husband on his cell to see where he was and he wasn’t too far away from me. He told me that before I approached in the Gator he thought he had heard something and thought it might be them. As I was on the cell with him I, too, heard something. Then, a loud thud, and Little Arthur fell out of the tree that was directly in front of the Gator. I was THRILLED to see him and told my husband to come quick.

Arthur was suffering from heat exhaustion. He was foaming and slobbering from the mouth, and he had a wild look in his eyes that I had never seen before.

I approached him cautiously and he started to turn and run, but he didn’t. I talked to him in my “mamma” voice and called his name. I then offered him my hand and he smelled it and realized it was Mamma! He then came toward me and as I bent down, he climbed onto my shoulders and collapsed! He was panting so hard and was extremely hot. My husband got to us and let Arthur get on his shoulders for the walk back home. Poor little Arthur! But thank God we had found him! At this point, Merlin was still no where in site.

We took Arthur back to his Coondo and provided plenty of cool fresh water. We then went right back out to search for Merlin. We were very worried about Merlin because he is so fat that we feared he might be in more distress from the heat.

I went back to the tree we found Arthur and called for Merlin but he was no where in site. My husband took off in another direction. I was asking God to help us find Merlin before it was too late. I started to hear “breathing….hassling….” and I followed that. I didn’t know if that is what I was hearing, but I followed the sound. I kept walking, and I kept hearing this “breathing”. I started to turn around at one point, but I heard the sound again and turned back around. At that point our Dog, Cole, came up and went a little ahead of me and stopped at a log and I heard a growl! He had found Merlin!!!! I screamed for my husband and went to be with Mer Mer. Poor thing! He was sprawled out on a log and the log was wet! He was breathing and hassling so hard that I feared for him. I gently approached him and let him know it was Mamma. He wasn’t fighting me at all. I waited for my husband to come so he could pick Merlin up and carry him home. Merlin didn’t fight us at all. He let my husband pick him up and crawled on his shoulders and collapsed. He was over heated and we knew it.

We got Merlin back home with Arthur and he drank his water like there was no tomorrow. Both of them were panting so hard. Although I was elated to have found them I was still worried about their health. They were obviously suffering from heat exhaustion. And it was my fault for being careless and leaving their door unlocked. I was devastated. At that point we got towels drenched in cool water and draped over Merlin. He let us but Arthur wouldn’t. We watered down their cage and sprayed water on them. They allowed that. I sat in the cage with them and picked ticks off of them. Before today, in their 3 years of life, they had never had a tick on them! Now they were both covered in ticks and mites. I thought they would fight me picking off the ticks, but they didn’t. I picked off all I could see.

All through the night we checked on them to make sure they were o.k. We loved on them and told them how happy we were that we had found them and that they were home. It was obvious that they, too, were just as happy to be home!

It’s now Thursday, and both Arthur and Merlin are doing well. Merlin has a little cough and I am watching that. I am thanking God that he watched over them and allowed us to be reunited! He answered my prayers!

I am sure that although Arthur and Merlin had alot of fun playing in the woods at first, they seem not to eager to have another “not to excellent” adventure any time soon!

NEW PHOTOS!

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Sweet Art Fart!

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