Unlikely Best Friends Refuse To Leave Each Other's Side After Being Orphaned
“[T]hese two had a storybook ending.”
It's not uncommon to see a young raccoon climb up a tree or a skunk forage for food in Eureka, Missouri. Wildlife is everywhere in the St. Louis-adjacent city, typically living in harmony with the locals.
But when an animal lover named Rebecca spotted a baby raccoon and a baby skunk running around together recently, something seemed off. The two buddies were wandering around a busy parking lot for hours, and they refused to leave each other's side.
Wherever one went, the other followed closely behind.
Rebecca hoped to find other skunks and raccoons in the area, but she quickly realized that neither of them had any family members nearby.
“The very young raccoon and very young skunk, possibly separated from their own families, must have crossed each other's paths at just the right time,” Missouri Wildlife Rescue Center (MWRC) wrote on Facebook. “Wild skunks and raccoons of this age would normally be with their siblings, so sticking together may have seemed totally natural to them!”
Rebecca promptly caught the two tiny friends and drove them to MWRC.
At the wildlife center, a dedicated group of caregivers gave each animal a thorough checkup before placing them in their own crates for a much-needed snack and rest.
The skunk and raccoon were hungry, but after being separated for the first time in days, they each refused to eat.
“Despite being offered some tasty treats, the pair was too distressed by their sudden separation to eat,” MWRC wrote in a Facebook post. “In desperation, the baby skunk began crying and reaching out for the baby raccoon …”
The MWRC volunteer caring for the two animals noticed how upset they were apart, so she decided to place them back together again.
“Back in one crate, they immediately ate together and then snuggled up to sleep,” MWRC wrote.
The raccoon and skunk enjoyed one final night snuggled up together before meeting their perfect families the next day.
As sweet as their relationship seemed, MWRC volunteers knew that each animal needed to be around their own species in order to eventually thrive in the wild. Luckily for the skunk and the raccoon, MWRC had a few other residents who could fulfill that need.
“The very next day, our baby raccoon friend was introduced to a younger orphaned raccoon who was all alone and in need of a buddy, while our skunk friend joined a pair of sister skunks with seamless success,” MWRC wrote.
The skunk and raccoon were undoubtedly close at the time of their rescue, but they didn't seem to miss each other much after meeting their same-species siblings. Just as their caregivers had hoped, the two soon bonded with their new families right away and began to learn their own distinct set of survival skills.
“Since being introduced to other orphaned skunks of a similar age and condition, the little skunk has been exhibiting healthy skunk behaviors, like stomping at ‘predators’ and raising her tail in warning,” MWRC wrote on Facebook. “Similarly, the baby raccoon, now with other orphaned raccoons, has been climbing branches and foraging for treats in the water.”
Eventually, the skunk and the raccoon were released back into the wild with their respective families, fully equipped with their own unique set of survival instincts.
The staff at MWRC haven’t seen a skunk and raccoon duo since, but they now know that anything’s possible.
“Never in 40 [plus] years of rescuing wildlife have we seen a baby skunk and baby raccoon in cahoots, but with many years of experience, we've learned to be ready for anything,” MWRC wrote on Facebook. “Although their beginning was a strange one, these two had a storybook ending.”