I have lived here in the sticks for just about twelve years now. But in some ways, I will always be a city girl. While I have come to be annoyed by wild animals digging in my garbage, I am also still fascinated and can be found watching them and giggling before I shoo them off the porch.
About eight years ago on Thanksgiving night, I was too pooped to worry about the turkey carcass and the foil pan it was in. So I set it on the back porch with the twin hopes that animals would cart the whole thing off leaving me nothing to mess with or that they would at least come onto the porch and I could get in some giggling and animal watching
They exceeded even my expectations and years later, I shake my head in disbelief over what I saw with my own eyes. About an hour after putting the pan out, I heard a mad scramble going on on the back porch. It sounded like and was, more than one animal. I snuck to my vantage point at the edge of the back door window to check it out.
There were three fairly large Raccoons on the porch, chirruping away as they fought over the turkey carcass. One would push its way through to the pan and the others would push back. The pan was coming precariously close to the steps and was in danger of overturning. Suddenly, one of the Raccoons pounced into the pan with the carcass, figuring I guess that if he was on top if it, he had the benefit of possession is nine tenths of the law.
That was the proverbial straw that in this case broke the turkeys back. As the other Raccoons pounced to get in there with him, the tray started a quick slide down the back porch steps, looking like nothing other than a greasy bone filled roller coaster for large rodents.
The Coons squeaked like they were being butchered as the pan went down and hit bottom. When it landed, tilted somewhat but still on the bottom step they jumped off, sniffed around it and then walked over to the poor turkey, which had itself been thrown from the pan and landed in the yard. They took a few seemingly obligatory nibbles off the bones then one at time walked over to the pan, still squeaking and chirruping madly. I was watching through the window, hands to mouth to cover my increasingly loud laughter.
Suddenly, one of the Raccoons shoved his snout into the tray and began pushing it upwards. After a few attempts, he got it moving back UP the stairs. The other two Coons followed behind him, chattering excitedly.
When it got up to the top, it quickly became surreal. The Coon who had pushed it up to the top got into the pan and started squeaking loudly. The two followers, after a bit of sniffing and trying to shove him out of it, seemed to decide it wasn't worth the effort. They then, together, nosed the pan and sent it flying down the stairs with the lucky fellow getting the ride squealing like a young boy taking his first ride on a loop-de-loop roller coaster.
As I stood there in total amazement, they did it again... and again...and again...and again. This was no accidental shove. This was a deliberate act of fun for these animals. They would work together to get the pan up the stairs then take turns (more or less) getting into the pan and being shoved down the stairs with whichever coon was in the pan doing what I am sure was a Raccoon laugh... a squeal of pure delight. About 30 minutes later, the allure of the grease soaked pan seemed to pall under the pull of the real food presented by the carcass lying in the yard and looking lonely in the rising moonlight.
One by one, they sniffed at the pan lying at the bottom of the stairs then went over to the carcass where the biggest of them started to pull it towards the overgrown field by the side of the house.
They were gone but I stood there at least another twenty minutes hoping they would come back and knowing that there was no way that anyone would ever believe my tale of the Thanksgiving night that the coons turned my porch into a thrill ride.