While out in the woods photographing wildlife last May, I came across an unusual sight – a raccoon crossing over a log that had a large patch of fur missing from its side. At first glance, the raccoon looked healthy otherwise, with no visible skin irritation or other signs of illness. But what could have caused this bizarre bald spot?
After doing some research, I learned there are several possible explanations for a raccoon losing fur in one area. Parasitic diseases like mange are one potential cause, though the skin did not appear inflamed or irritated. Bacterial or fungal infections can also lead to hair loss. Another possibility is that the raccoon over-groomed itself by obsessively licking and biting its fur, creating a bald spot.
Injuries or trauma from a fight or accident could also explain the missing fur. And while less common, conditions like seasonal flank alopecia seen in dogs may cause periodic fur loss in other animals like raccoons. Unfortunately, without examining the animal up close, there is no way to know the exact cause.
While the bald patch was unusual, the raccoon otherwise looked healthy and lively as it went about its business foraging in the woods. Hopefully it was just a minor issue and the fur will eventually grow back unaffected. But it serves as an important reminder that even beautiful wild animals can suffer from injuries, illnesses and parasites. As photographers, we get to see nature up close in all its wonder and complexity. The bald raccoon will certainly be a memorable sight from my spring photography adventures!
I’m glad I could capture this moment and share the raccoon’s unique look. It’s just one example of the amazing diversity and resilience of wildlife. No matter the reason for its bare spot, this raccoon was still out exploring its habitat and surviving as best it could. The wildlife around us never fails to fascinate, surprise and inspire me as I try to reveal their lives through my photography.
- Date: 5/23/23
- Time: 6:44 AM
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- ISO: 6400
- Aperture: 7.1
- Shutter: 1/400
- Exp. Comp.: +0.3
- Lens (mm): 500
- Program: Manual