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KnollsCam gets amazing story of a raccoon mother's love

Thomas Brass's Haywood Knolls nature cam got a high-res video of a mother raccoon rescuing babies from another's litter. Thomas Brass's Haywood Knolls nature cam got a high-res video of a mother raccoon rescuing babies from another's litter.

In one of his best videos yet — and one that made for an amazing tale of a mother’s protective love — wildlife enthusiast Thomas Brass recorded a forest scene of three baby raccoons, apparently motherless, and their rescue and adoption by another mother raccoon.

"All of my friends are like ‘awwww,’” when they see the video, said Brass, who has mounted two high-definition wildlife cameras near what he calls a busy crossroads of two trails that wildlife critters explore at the top of the Haywood Knolls development off N.C. 191 near West Henderson High School. Brass's “skunky smelling predator lure” has attracted bears, foxes, bobcats, squirrels, raccoons, possums and other animals. Triggered by the thermal heat from the mammals within range, the camera starts shooting when visitors reach the crossroads.
Brass superimposed narration on the 2½-minute video of the baby raccoons and their rescue. He says the mother raccoon can’t be the mother of the three little ones because she has two older ones of her own tagging along with her. Here’s the story, as told by Brass and the images:

Orphaned raccoons


“Darkness is approaching when these three baby raccoons appear — without a mother! They begin to explore the area but stay close together."
“Unfortunately, they are completely unaware of the danger they are in. They are on a busy woodland trail frequented by bobcats, coyotes and foxes."

“Something scares them and they try to climb up a tree for safety.” The camera catches one of the babies trying to climb the tree, not successfully.

“Eventually they hide in the bushes, just to the left of the camera.”

Mother to the rescue


“Thirty minutes later (by now it’s 9:02) a mother raccoon with two older cubs of her own discovers the babies.” The video shows the mother and her older cubs looking anxiously toward the babies.

“She is visibly troubled by the situation.”

“Unwilling to leave them, she returns with her cubs to adopt the babies!”

'Happy family'

“She backs away a little at a time to draw the babies back to her.”

“Finally, the three babies rush over to join their new family. The mother purrs loudly as they join together.”

“One (extra large) happy raccoon family.”
Brass thinks that the mother of the three little cubs died, probably killed by a predator, leaving the orphans.
“I actually see quite often mismatched families of cubs from two litters,” he said. “Sometimes one big one and two little ones, or two big ones and a little one. One of the other raccoons will pick them up, at least with the raccoons. I don’t know if bobcats would do that.”
Brass says the heat-sensor HD cameras pick up an amazing number of images as the forest fauna drifts by, from a few seconds to several minutes. He doesn’t bother to post YouTube videos of the more common scenes like raccoons and possums. He’s posted bears and a rare fox and many other critters. He gets emails from people locally and from afar.
“One neighbor, an older lady, told me, ‘I don’t know if I want to know this,’” he said. He assured her it's unlikely bears and foxes will come visit her.