Most people aren’t big fans of raccoons. After all, the pesky nocturnal creatures are known to raid trashcans and gardens and nest in your home’s walls, ceilings, and crawl spaces. However, the above video—filmed by Chris Williams, a police officer in Camdenton, Missouri, and published by Mashable—shows that the ring-tailed creatures actually make pretty great mothers.
The footage shows a mama raccoon and one of her babies, known as a kit, standing atop a low wall. A second infant raccoon sits on the ground, waiting to join the family. To give it a helping hand, the mother raccoon leans over the wall and pulls it up, as the other baby holds onto her legs so she won’t slip and fall.
Williams’s adorable clip quickly went viral. But aside from being cute, it’s also a great example of female raccoons’ vigilant parenting style. Raccoons typically mate between March and April, and after a 65-day gestation period, the female gives birth to anywhere from two to five kits. Since the male raccoon leaves his mate and offspring to fend for themselves, the mother serves as the kits’ main protector until they’re nine months to a year old and able to live on their own.
After around seven weeks, the mother and her kits leave their nesting spot and establish a new den every few days to keep safe from potential predators. The territorial mother makes sure the spot is free from enemies like cougars, bobcats, coyotes, domestic dogs, and other raccoons. Sometimes human activity disturbs their hideout, and they move again. This might explain why the raccoon family in the video above is scaling a cement wall—they’re looking for a new home. With this kind of teamwork, they’ll undoubtedly find one.
Banner image courtesy of iStock