Tired and hungry after our mammoth journey we made our way through the mangroves to the restaurant block. Suddenly there was a scuttling in the bushes, so we looked down from the walkway to find a masked bandit staring up at us.
It was our first sighting of a raccoon on this trip. Later in the week we found that they clustered around the ‘Do Not Feed the Animals‘ sign at the hotel lobby, where people were of course feeding them.
For some reason the raccoons were not quite as bold as on our last visit back in 2009, when we frequently saw them down by the beach, washing items filched from the salad bar under the shower. Either the coati have filled part of that niche or perhaps they had been culled after complaints from guests.
I had never really thought of raccoons as being typically Mexican, but after looking them up on Google I discovered that they range all the way from the north of Canada down to Panama. They are also becoming common in Germany and parts of the former Soviet Union after being released as game animals and escaping from fur farms. I read somewhere that it was Herman Goering’s bright idea to release them in Germany, but it was actually a poultry farmer called Rolf Haag who released the first pair back in 1936. We don’t have any wild in the UK, but that didn’t stop Disney having them wreck the villains’ car in the live action 101 Dalmatians!