I know this isn't Great Outdoors in the sense of planning a vast trek and seeing vistas, but I wanted to ask for a postmortem on an unwanted great outdoors encounter in the suburbs.
I was getting back after a photo shoot with a pirate motif, and among the items I had borrowed were some things from my brother, including a not purely ornamental sword, which he requested that I return to him that night instead of later on when I would unpack everything else.
I went out and heard a scurrying when I opened the trunk, and looked and saw two young, maybe adolescent, raccoons that had been rooting through a toppled trash can and were looking at me with what I would interpret as curiosity, but no evident fear. The distance was eight or so feet, and I tapped the ground a few times with sword to make noise that would scare them away. Again, no evident fear. Only looking at me.
I kept at least as much distance to them and made my way back into the house. They didn't approach me, and I'm rather glad there was no fight; I would not credit myself with sure victory if the fight was archaic weapon vs. rabies bite. But what really unnerved me is that nothing I did seemed to scare them. I made the usual noises of a person walking around, opening a trunk, and removing clanging metal items and tapping the ground with one of them.
I "won" this event; that is, I don't need a rabies shot. However, I'm somewhat concerned that I could be close to them and making noises (admittedly, not very loud noises like yelling), and maybe they were keeping their version of respectful distance by backing out of the trash cans and getting to a place they could escape from, and perhaps their looking at me was wondering if they would need to take flight, but I still found the experience a bit unnerving. We have squirrels, chipmunks, robins, sparrows, and other fauna, in addition to domestic cats that don't know me, and none of them will either let you get as close, or make noise, without fleeing for safety.
So what do I have to learn from this? The biggest lesson may be something I already did, keep my own respectful distance and end the encounter as quickly as possible. And I did not do something stupid like assume that a bit of pointed metal will infallibly shield me from a darting raccoon.
But I wanted to check in and ask for any guidance. Especially in a suburban environment. Are there animals that are simply not afraid of much bigger humans? Are there any rules besides the obvious about minimizing one's chances for needing a rabies shot? (Or for that matter an infection; a bite can carry danger of assorted infections.) Would I have been better as soon as I heard noises from the trash can to simply go inside and leave fetching my brother's property another day? In this specific case the raccoons backed out of the trash can into an area illuminated by a window; I wouldn't expect anywhere near the same visibility for most nighttime, meaning most raccoon, encounters.
Would it have been appropriate (in Illinois, outside of Chicago) to call for animal control ?
Again, any thoughts are welcome. I know this isn't a great trek into the wild outdoors, but the wild outdoors have a way of intruding into carefully planned suburban and urban areas.