An old 'friend' might have popped up elsewhere


It’s been pretty quiet around the Coastal Point multiplex since the death of Leviathan last year.
Coastal Point •  Submitted

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not by any means saying I miss the rambunctious raccoon that bullied me around our parking lot for several years, or his little cadre of raccoon buddies that were always by his side. I’m not nostalgic for having my lunch money stolen by the raccoon rascals when I got to the office early in the morning, or getting chased through the parking lot late at night.

But it just seems ... different. Not that I would be missing any late-night heart-searching conversations with him by any means, but different in that he was just part of the fabric here.

I confess that I was a little upset when I got that call from Susan Lyons last year. She had swung by the office following a torrential storm and seen Leviathan dead in the parking lot. She was certain it was him because of both his size and the fact that he was wearing a watch he had once stolen from me, and his absence since that day has led me to believe that he was indeed departed.

But then I came across something this week that has left me a little curious.

An Associated Press article datelined Lakewood, Wash., tells the story of a 28-year-old woman who was jogging in a park on Monday when her dog got loose from his leash. He chased several raccoons up a tree, and while the woman was chasing the dog, she was attacked by several other raccoons.

Eventually, some neighbors who reportedly heard her screaming called 911 and her dog came back to scare off the raccoons, but not before she received 16 puncture wounds and numerous scratches, according to the article.

Interesting. Very interesting.

This was one of Leviathan’s favorite tricks. He would often leave something in the parking lot that would grab my attention (I’m usually attracted to all things shiny), and then pounce with his masked minions by his side. One second I was gazing longingly at a piece of aluminum foil sitting by itself in front of Kool Bean, and the next thing I knew I was on my back and covering my eyes as a swarm of raccoons attacked from every angle.

I’m not stating for fact that Leviathan used a dummy to fake his own death in our parking lot nearly a year ago just so he could get a fresh start on the other side of the country, but I’m not saying he didn’t, either.

Of course, raccoons aren’t the only critter that can get under one’s skin, are they? I have suffered through long and bloody battles with ants and spiders over the years that will one day inspire epic poems, and I know from others that I am not alone in those struggles. Of course, one guy in Chico, Calif., took his war to another level.

Yahoo! News reported earlier this week that Eliya Maida had hit his breaking point with spiders and their webs in the back yard of his home. He decided to end this particular war once and for all by taking a blowtorch to the offending webs, and all was well until some dry plants in his back yard ignited, spread to the house and started an attic fire that ultimately caused approximately $25,000 in damage.

On the bright side, I’m guessing the spiders will leave him alone for a couple days.

Of course, another critter that often gets under the skin of people is the good-old American opossum, and it might one day be getting under our skin more than we ever knew.

The Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins has found that the opossum produces a protein known as Lethal Toxin-Neutralizing Factor (LTNF). Researchers have injected mice with LTNF and then exposed them to venom from deadly creatures, such as Thailand cobras, Australian taipans and scorpions, and it appears that the protein is working to diffuse the poison, often leaving the mice unharmed.

There’s no telling where this research could take us and it could realistically lead to ground-changing ...

Ooh, have to run. I see something shiny outside.