You Don’t Expect To See These In The New York City Subway System

There are lots of things within the confines of the NYC subway system that you may expect to see. Trains, obviously. Lots of people going to/from work. Tourists. Buskers.

But not raccoons.

Well, guess what? Surprise!

Apparently, a family of raccoons set up house at an L train station (specifically the East 105th Street train station) in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn (which just happens to be where I  lived until I was 10. Not the L train station. Just Canarsie). The problem started off small but grew when some sewer and street construction caused them to move and congregate into the train station.

One normally wouldn’t think of raccoons as being pests in NYC – the first thing that would come to mind is usually rats, right? But raccoons are apparently a hefty sized problem in the city that never sleeps, and it’s our own fault. You see, city law is that any raccoon that’s captured in New York City must be euthanized (in a humane fashion) because the species is known to carry rabies. The problem is that a lot of trappers are unwilling to kill them; they just don’t have the heart to do it. So the population has kept going up and up, because when they’re released in neighborhood parks and other wooded areas, they do what raccoons do…including make baby raccoons.

Unfortunately, there have been several recent stories about sick raccoons – 6 raccoons with rabies were found throughout the city in March 2019, and over 80 raccoons with canine distemper were discovered in Central Park and in Brooklyn just a few months before that.

Meanwhile, as more raccoons have lived in NY, more and more have gotten used to the food they can easily find on the streets of New York, rather than what they’d have to forage for in the wild. So even when they’re released into parks, they make a U-turn and head right back to the city because, like the Little Mermaid, they “wanna be where the people are.” Awesomesauce.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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