The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

National Park’s Raccoons

Barb Maska and her adorable out-side pets
The raccoons coming out to greet their friends!
Rachel Gittinger
The raccoons coming out to greet their friends!

The night falls, street lights come on, and the night is peaceful. Then, a gang of careful raccoons slowly come out of their cubby hole – slowly migrating to their home. What is their home, you ask? Well…it’s not a what, it’s a who.

Barb Maska, a resident of National Park noticed a group of raccoons about 4 years ago. Instead of calling pest control, she knew they were in their natural habitat. Therefore, she decided to make them feel safe near her home. This started with feeding them. At first, they were scared of her – a normal, and natural reaction from wild animals, but slowly they began to warm up to her.

Barb has lived in National Park for over a decade, but it was not until 2020 when she noticed the raccoons. Originally, there was one named Florence and a couple of her friends.

Florence was the friendliest one, who would follow her around like a cat. Sadly, raccoons do not live long, so as the next warmer season rolled around – Florence was gone. However, Florence’s babies came back to visit Barb. That started a cycle of a raccoon family, like how Florence’s babies came back – the following year the babies of the babies came back. Now, in the current year, she has Sunny and her baby. As of now there’s about 6-8 raccoons.

Barb Maska feeding one of the raccoons

When asked about the raccoons behavior, she was eager to share the cute personalities of her raccoon friends,

“They’re nice creatures with me and the family, they get a little spooked when people they don’t trust/know walk or drive by, but they are very kind animals once they trust you. They come up to me just fine. When they have their babies they distance themselves for a while but come back once they think their babies are ready, which is understandable.”

Though, she’s not the only one passionate about her cute friends – her eldest daughter is too, as she states:

“The raccoons are very polite. One of them is more frightened of people than the others, but they very politely will take the food from people’s hands. They know my mom better than other people, so if she forgets to feed them, they will show up to her door like ‘excuse me food fairy, I think you forgot us’. They will take any food, except for little things like lettuce. One time I gave a Taco Bell burrito with jalapenos and she took the whole thing with her and left.”

The raccoons are not only kind to Barb, but to everyone. They get skittish, but they’re only hostile to each other – which Barb usually can calm them down from attacking each other. Often, people say she should not feed or befriend the raccoons since they may “attack the town,” but that’s not it at all. They only stick to their cubby hole outside of Barb’s home, and only ask Barb and her family for food!

These animals are kind and adorable creatures, as 9th grader Angel O’Leary says, “I love raccoons!”

Barb and her raccoons are not a problem to the town, it’s just a woman with her adorable out-side pets!

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About the Contributor
Hazel Foster
Hazel Foster, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Hazel Foster, and I try to write mostly about universal topics and/or things that’d be interesting to the majority! I’m a freshman, but I’ve been here at Gateway since 7th grade, although this is my first year writing in THE CHOMP. I love animals, nature, decorating things, my boyfriend, Dance Moms, and writing!
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