Tummy Trouble


Raccoon, Walsingham Park, Largo, Florida May 2020

During my training as a naturalist I was taught to avoid anthropomorphizing – inferring human emotions or characteristics upon animals. It can be challenging and I often fail, “Oh, look at those dolphins, they look like they’re playing, they’re having so much fun.” Hey, I’m only human and some animals do seem to embody pure joy (dolphins, otters, and puppies for instance).

I explained all that so that you can understand my thought process about this raccoon. I watched it for at least 30 minutes the other afternoon (from a safe distance away, using a zoom lens). It changed position exactly once in that entire time, carefully settling into the crotch of the branch.

Once I saw its distended belly pooch out on either side I occurred to me that the animal looked incredibly uncomfortable. Downright miserable, actually. Then I noted the fruit in the tree, and all the bird activity and droppings. Conclusion? Someone over indulged. Hey, we’ve all done it. Sorry little one, hope you feel better soon!


Florida Strangler Fig Fruit (Ficus aurea)

Categories: Nature Notes


  1. I’ll take a stab at it. Is it a tree or a bush? From what I can see, I’ll guess either a Canella (Canellaceae- tree) or a Soapberry (Sapindaceae – bush). Just a wild guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, good question – it was a tree, about 50 feet tall, with a smooth gray trunk. After looking at your suggestion it very well may be “White Cinnamon” (Canella winterana). The description fits as does the timing of the fruiting. I need to go back and smell the leaves – supposed to have a strong scent. Thank you, Doe!


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