Opinion

Editor's Column: Boost Whidbey tourism with Raccoon World

In their never-ending quest to attract more tourists to Whidbey Island, business leaders might consider creating the nation’s first Raccoon Reserve. I can boldly state it would be the first such reserve in the world  because my Internet access is down so I can go back to making up facts since there’s no way to check them out.

The Whidbey Island Raccoon Reserve would have to be in a forested area, of which we have plenty, surrounded by a high glass fence so the little rascals couldn’t escape. A plentiful supply of raccoon food should be left out on a continuous basis so they won’t be tempted to go elsewhere for sustenance. Purina might donate cat food and dog food just for the good publicity, or even start manufacturing various raccoon foods, for young ones, middle aged ones, and ones ready for the Democrats’ new Medicoon program, which covers the needs of all aging raccoons.

With a Raccoon Reserve, Islanders would finally have a place to unload their unwanted raccoons. We have one that hides in the trees and raids the cat’s dish on the front porch. For the cat to eat, the dog and I have to stand watch at the bottom of the stairs, searching the surrounding trees with a powerful flashlight. If we walk to the back of house for the dog to relieve himself, the cat food is gone by the time we return. The food bowl is entirely empty, the water bowl is muddy from the little raccoon paws that were washed in it, and the cat is somewhere out there in the woods, waiting for the safety of sunrise.

I’d like to capture our nuisance raccoon in a humane trap since neighbors wouldn’t take kindly to the old fashioned idea of shooting it. Before the Internet went down I noticed some southern towns with raccoon festivals, boasting raccoon dances, raccoon hats and raccoon stew. Langley would be the logical place for the Raccoon Murder Mystery Festival, but there’s too many vegans in town to make it work.

So instead we should create Raccoon World, where people could dump their unwanted raccoons behind the glass fence. Within a few weeks there would be hundreds of them clinging to trees and fighting over the Purina Coon Chow. It would do wonders for Whidbey Island’s night life as tourists drive up in the dark, rent cute Randy Raccoon flashlights, and stare in wonder at the scores of blazing raccoon eyes staring back at them in the dark. They could take pictures of the cute little raccoons and spin fanciful yarns about how the old, balding raccoon almost ate them for supper if the Raccoon World  keeper hadn’t stopped the pending attack with a bowl of fresh Purina. There are no records of raccoons actually eating humans, but that’s only because humans eaten by raccoons never report the fact. Family members are too embarrassed to report the truth, so such deaths are attributed to natural causes.

Tourists bored to death by Whidbey’s night life, which generally ends at 6 p.m., would gladly pay an entry fee to Raccoon World and purchase bundles of raccoon-related artifacts, such as preserved heads, Davy Crockett hats and tail dusters. And islanders would finally be rid of their nuisance raccoons, which would assure longer, happier lives for our cats and dogs.

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