As a wildlife photographer, my adventures have taken me to various locations in search of unique and captivating subjects. In April 2018, while exploring the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, I had a stroke of luck and spotted a fascinating creature—a Cinnamon Raccoon. Little did I know that this encounter would spark my curiosity and set me on a mission to capture this elusive raccoon through my lens.
Encounter at Miner’s Cove:
On July 2, 2018, I found myself at Miner’s Cove, a special area within the refuge known for its diverse wildlife. While photographing a group of elegant Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, I was thrilled to witness the arrival of the Cinnamon Raccoon. This charming creature waded into the water, eagerly searching for its next meal. Its light, cinnamon-colored fur stood out amidst the lush surroundings, providing me with numerous opportunities to capture its enchanting presence. However, due to its wet fur, it was challenging to ascertain whether this raccoon was the same one I had encountered in April.
Another Memorable Encounter:
Driven by my fascination for the Cinnamon Raccoon, I returned to Miner’s Cove the following day, July 3, 2018, hoping to cross paths with this alluring creature once more. And my persistence paid off! To my delight, the raccoon appeared during the same time frame, giving me an extended opportunity to capture its unique beauty through my camera lens. As I examined the resulting photographs, I noticed an intriguing detail—the raccoon seemed to be blind or partially blind in its left eye, indicated by a dead spot.
The story continued to unfold in April 2020, when I stumbled upon another raccoon with a light-colored fur in the same area. Although I cannot confirm with certainty, it is plausible that this raccoon is related to the Cinnamon Raccoon I had photographed previously. The possibility of observing generational variations and connections among these captivating creatures adds an extra layer of fascination to my encounters.
Understanding the Cinnamon Raccoon:
It’s important to note that the term “Cinnamon Raccoon” does not refer to a distinct raccoon species. Rather, it describes a color variation found within some populations of common raccoons (Procyon lotor). These raccoons exhibit fur colors ranging from a light reddish-brown to a darker cinnamon hue, which gives them their name. However, this color variation is relatively rare and not commonly observed in most raccoon habitats.
Behavior and Ecology:
Aside from their striking fur color, there is no evidence suggesting that cinnamon raccoons differ in behavior or ecology from other raccoon populations. Raccoons, in general, are known for their omnivorous and opportunistic feeding habits, consuming insects, fruits, nuts, small animals, and even human refuse. Their adaptability and ability to thrive in various habitats, including urban areas, contribute to their widespread presence across North America.
Photographing the Cinnamon Raccoon:
To capture the magnificent moments with these intriguing creatures, I employed a combination of patience, preparation, and the right equipment. Positioned at the side of the tour road at Miner’s Cove, just north of the 4-corners intersection within the refuge, I set up my trusty Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera on a beanbag draped over the open window of my pickup. Complementing my setup was the Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens, allowing me to zoom in and capture the raccoon’s enchanting presence in stunning detail.
Encountering the Cinnamon Raccoon was a truly exhilarating experience, and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have witnessed and documented their captivating beauty. These unique variations within wildlife populations remind us of the diversity and wonder that exist in the natural world. My encounters with the Cinnamon Raccoon have further fueled my passion for wildlife photography and inspired me to continue exploring and sharing the remarkable stories of our planet’s enchanting creatures.
- AV Mode
- Aperture: f8
- ISO: 1000
- Shutter speed: 1/1600
- Focal Length 400 mm
- -0.3 exposure value