Pictured here is a family of at least three young raccoons. Born in springtime, juvenile raccoons by late November are pretty much left by their mother to survive on their own. She no longer can care for a brood of offspring nearly three-quarters grown.
Raccoons are hardy creatures. With winter approaching these young raccoons will need to remain together for their safety. Not the least of their concerns is cold weather. Three little raccoons huddled together on a cold winter day will probably survive on shared body heat. One little raccoon by itself may not. Even in a den tree with an open view to the sky, these three are in little danger of freezing as long as they stay together.
Raccoons have no hair on the pads of their feet nor on the bottom surface of their toes. Because of this their feet and toes get cold when in contact with frozen ground. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, but prefer to remain inside their den on cold nights. Seldom will a raccoon come out when snow covers the ground. The exception to this is when the air is warming and snow is melting. Raccoons love to wander about on warm foggy winter nights.
Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.