Melissa Fischer. wild in Michigan. naturalist

Who lives in a dead tree?

In this beautiful tree….
there was a hole too round to be natural. I wondered, “Who lives in there?”.

…and then I saw an upper level tenant….

It’s a young raccoon.


146 responses

  1. Oh so cute! It looks young. Wonder how many are living in there!?

    February 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    • melissakoski

      I thought so too Cath! And it was curious rather than afraid at first. I only saw the one, but there were so many prints in the snow. I usually just see the Mom cowing on my suet when she’s preggers. (:

      February 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    • nice photos. I miss the midwest.

      February 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

      • melissakoski

        Are you in Beijing? I imagine it is very different than the midwest. I love the beautiful seasons in the midwest, but am more than ready for spring!

        February 24, 2011 at 8:32 am

  2. Fab photos Melissa what camera and lens do you use?

    February 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Helen! I have a Canon EOS and usually use my zoom lens EF 75-300mm. It was a Christmas gift from my hubby…before that I had an old Olympus with cat hair caught behind the lens and no lens cap. (:

      February 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm

  3. Jodi

    Holy Moley!! Did you freak out? That is awesome!

    February 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    • melissakoski

      I was going to get a close up of the hole and the racoon looked around the trunk. I was excited! Then when I backtracked to the deer path I saw footprints and THAT freaked me out/scared me until I realized they were my own boot marks. I had a good laugh at myself for being more freaked by the thought of a human than a critter….maybe b/c I was trespassing. (:

      February 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm

  4. Amy

    He is so cute!!!

    February 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    • melissakoski

      and young (: I felt a little badlt for it so high in the strong winds…the tree was rockin’!

      February 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm

  5. Tom Vander Ploeg

    Cute pic’s Lisa! Don’t worry about T/Ping. If it’s not posted you’re good. The owner has to tell you to stay off his land. Also raccoons are famous for getting into hollow spaces. Ask you dad about his incounter with them in his chimneny. Ha Ha!! Love your post’s. How many acera’s are behind you? Uncle Tom

    February 21, 2011 at 6:14 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Uncle Tom. (: I think our block is about 600 acres with most of the land split between three large farms and some parcels of a few acres like ours. The block to our East is the same set up too.

      February 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm

  6. What a cutie!! My dog Shadow was treeing on our walk one day and I couldn’t figure out what he was looking for. He just works cattle, he’s not a hunting dog. When I looked closer I saw the little fuzzy black tail just shaking nervously. We left him alone and then the hounds went at the tree the next day. The ‘ coon(s) got away I guess because there hasn’t been anymore bawling at that tree.
    Great shots Melissa!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks so much Leah. I’d get so much further exploring with Shadow as a companion. I’m normally looking up for birds, but was following a new deer path…everything was new and I didn’t know which way to look. Slow going without a dog’s help! Do you have a vegetable patch and does Shadow protect it from bandits?

      February 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm

  7. Great to see you Freshly Pressed…and what a fun post! Lovely photos…


    February 23, 2011 at 10:58 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Mikalee. You’re my lucky charm. (:

      February 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

  8. beckyzoom

    How cute! Lovely pictures :)

    February 23, 2011 at 11:02 am

    • melissakoski


      February 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

  9. beautiful … very good at taking the focus picture …

    February 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks for the kind words.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

  10. I’m reminded of when I gave a raccoon a mask for her birthday. She told me, “But I already have a mask!” I felt so stupid.

    February 23, 2011 at 11:13 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks for the laugh. I loved that the fur matched the tree.

      February 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

  11. So cute!

    February 23, 2011 at 11:18 am

    • melissakoski

      Definitely young!

      February 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

  12. Awwwww, so cute. I wanted one of them when I was younger lol. They are just the cutest little things ever!!

    February 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

    • melissakoski

      Ha I just read that a friend of mine used to keep them when he was young. They get less cute the more of my bird feeders they cart off!

      February 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

  13. Aw…really cute!! Love your blog name. As I was cleaning this house today and was surrounded by dust, I wished it would just go away without my effort. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    February 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks so much. I just changed our furnace filter and hope that gives me some dusting respite!

      February 23, 2011 at 11:33 am

  14. Awesome! I wonder how long you had to wait outside the tree for the little guy/girl to show? Lots of patience on your part, I’m thinking.

    February 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

    • melissakoski

      Luckily the racoon peaked its head around the tree as I approached to get a close up of the hole. My feet were freezing since I was in rubber boots and waded through a few freezing streams. Amazingly lucky timing!

      February 23, 2011 at 11:40 am

  15. How nice! Great photos! Congrats on FP’d!

    February 23, 2011 at 11:38 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Evie!

      February 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

  16. great pictures and it is true…a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Well written…err, photographed!



    February 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Ava. It was an exciting morning!

      February 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  17. I want a follow up… Who lives in the hole?!? That cute lil guy simply looks to big to be the denizen of the hollow. Woodpecker perhaps? BTW, B-E-A-utiful shots :-)

    February 23, 2011 at 11:45 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks so much. I definitely think it’s a woodpecker…otherwise the little racoon would have toppled into the tree. It wasn’t very graceful. This tree was surrounded by a ton of dead trees riddled with holes. It was woodpecker heaven.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

  18. Awe. Cute. :)

    February 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

  19. omg~so cute

    February 23, 2011 at 11:55 am

    • melissakoski

      I wished I could touch its fur….

      February 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

  20. Mom

    Loved to read all the comments. I know you take fabulous pictures and it turns out I am in good company! So happy that you got some recognition :).

    February 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

    • melissakoski

      Moms are great ♥

      February 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

  21. Oh my gosh…what great shots! How adorable…thanks for sharing!!

    February 23, 2011 at 11:58 am

    • melissakoski

      It was a fun morning!

      February 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

  22. It’s a beautiful tree and a lovely day to capture it. Thanks for sharing your photos with us.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm

  23. Simple, yet fun. How were you able to spot that raccoon hiding up there? I barely saw it in that far away shot.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    • melissakoski

      It stuck its head way out of the tree as I approached the tree. It startled me.

      February 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

  24. sooooo cute! and great pictures!!!

    February 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm

  25. LOVE IT! Oh how cute. Great pictures

    February 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks much!

      February 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm

  26. Aww he’s so cute! Great pictures.

    February 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    • melissakoski

      So cute right?

      February 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm

  27. awww; what a cute little face peeking out! Great job; I certainly didn’t see “him” right away, either. Cheers on FP’d!

    February 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks MJ!

      February 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm

  28. mysoulforsale

    SO CUTE! That little face just made my day. Thanks for sharing!

    February 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    • melissakoski

      My pleasure…

      February 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm

  29. Wow that’s a rare sight! You have a few great photographs here. I expecially like the close up. Keep it coming!

    February 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Nate. It felt special.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm

  30. Awww! Sweet! Great idea for a post! Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

    February 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks so much. It’s a fun day.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm

  31. Wonderful picture! What a cute Raccoon, he looks like he is spying on you.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    • melissakoski

      After I took some pictures it got a little leery and hunkered down in that cute pose.

      February 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm

  32. Really loved this post! What was the animal? It look so cute! i guess it’s not english… I live in england and can’t recognize that.. Libby

    February 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    • melissakoski

      It’s a racoon. Mu husband had one unsip his camping tent a few summers ago. Their hands are amazing. (:

      February 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm

  33. omg! The best series of photos ever! Coming close is the series of when my toddler taught herself first time to stand up but then I had only 3 photos.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    • melissakoski

      Wow- thanks so much!

      February 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm

  34. How adorable! I just finished reading Rascal by Sterling North :)

    February 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    • melissakoski

      I haven’t read it, but will have to pick it up.

      February 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm

  35. aw how cute is that raccoon! looks very shy but wouldnt mind peeking out for a quick picture.

    February 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    • melissakoski

      Yes it was curious about me at first!

      February 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm

  36. Now to move into one of those abandoned missile silos dotting our nation…

    February 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    • melissakoski

      hmmmm, I haven’t run into many of those…..

      February 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

  37. vanimator

    Wow, really awesome photography, and the Raccoon is just very cute.
    Thanks for sharing such wonderful Nature photos.


    February 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

  38. He looks so cute I want to squeeze him. But I know they are supposed to be mean lil’ critters.

    February 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    • melissakoski

      They do scare me when they’re on my deck!

      February 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm


    February 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    • melissakoski

      My pleasure!

      February 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  40. Love this! We had a raccoon in my basement last year. Needless today, it was a bit alarming…but so adorable :)

    February 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    • melissakoski

      OMG that would freak me right out!

      February 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  41. Adorable little thing! :)

    February 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

  42. So cute! Fab photos!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm

  43. humanitarikim

    What a cute little guy! You have a keen eye for detail; most people would have missed him and the opening to his home.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks so much for your kind words!

      February 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

  44. That slow zoom on the raccoon is terrifying. I am severely startled.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    • melissakoski


      February 23, 2011 at 4:40 pm

  45. Very nice !

    February 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

  46. linfa di primavera


    February 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

  47. jose

    wow you really have a good eyes to see him. it look he was taking a nap. great picture

    February 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thank you!

      February 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm

  48. Anonymous

    ” to who lives in a dead tree? ”

    I really like your pictures , cute raccoon indeed. My answer to your name of the post is who doesnt live in the tree that “passed away” ? insects,ants,worms,birds……
    and maybe a “wild animal” that I forgot to mention.

    February 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm



    I just wanted to mention, since you asked who lives in a dead tree – worms, insects, ants, snakes, birds and perhaps some other “wild” animal I forgot to mention. But the
    small thing looks in the camera :_)

    February 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    • melissakoski

      It was adorable. Much cuter than the older one I’m used to seeing.

      February 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm

  50. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! We were walking a biking trail this spring when we heard the scariest racket from a neatrby tree, high above us. We suspected it was a mother raccoon attempting to scare us away from here nest of babies. After seeing youu neat photos,I’m convinced that’s what was going on!

    I too am in MI. Did you escape the ice storm? We are still without power, but a friend brought us a generator to power our boiler, today. We’re up to 53 degrees. WooHoo! I hope you have power!


    February 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thank you so much Connie! We escaped the ice storm thank goodness. We were north of most of the ice and kept power. So many inches of snow coming in a few short hours was amazing to watch. Hope you stay warm!

      February 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm

  51. Usually birds live in our trees, and sometimes squirrels too. The raccoon is cute, thanks for the post.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

  52. Great shot! Lucky you.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

  53. what’s the name of the cute creature?

    February 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    • melissakoski

      It’s a racoon..a pretty common mammal in the state of Michigan.

      February 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

  54. The racoons around here are so fat and scary. But that one is the first one I have ever seen that actually made me go, “Awww…, how cute!”

    Your comment about how you scared yourself with your own footprints made me laugh. That sounds like something I would do. :) Thanks for sharing!

    February 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    • melissakoski

      I’ll be scared right along with you as they start to snarl and scream over the next few months! Have a good one (:

      February 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm

  55. oh that is adorable : ) Love your photos!

    February 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm

  56. Awww, look the raccoon. I love raccoons. Love the pictures, excellent shots

    February 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    • melissakoski


      February 23, 2011 at 9:38 pm

  57. was bit by one .. rabies shots painful .. otherwise way cute

    February 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    • melissakoski

      No way. Were you by some babies? Were you hugging it? (:
      Being hissed at by a racoon was intense enough for me.

      February 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm

  58. Great pictures! Thank you for sharing!

    February 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm

  59. who lives in a tree? i was hoping it was the Fantastic Mr Fox…. but a tiny racoon is pretty darn cool too…

    February 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    • melissakoski

      I’ve seen fox around here twice… once dead on the side of the road and the other just up the road at the edg fo a corn field. My bff gets to see them all the time. I’m so jealous!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm

  60. Great photo of the raccoon!

    One time a mother raccoon decided to rear her cubs in our attic. Her cub fell from our ceiling & was in our kitchen! The little guy was so quiet & scared, we put him back up in the attic with his mom & the next night they left to go live in the cypresses. That was an interresting experience! :)

    Anyway, great post!

    February 24, 2011 at 12:24 am

    • melissakoski

      Fantastic story. I’m glad the little one didn’t freak out and cause major destruction!

      February 24, 2011 at 6:50 am

  61. ooohohoho! so cute :’)

    February 24, 2011 at 1:37 am

  62. What a cute little photo essay! It takes you on a mini-adventure. Lovely pictures of the little critter.

    February 24, 2011 at 1:44 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks for stopping by!

      February 24, 2011 at 6:51 am

  63. What a beautiful series of photographs! I’ll share them with my first-grade godson.

    I am very attracted to dead or stricken trees – they often show many signs of life, though this is the cuddliest I’ve seen!

    February 24, 2011 at 2:33 am

    • melissakoski

      Wonderful! Its taken me a few years to convince my hubby to leave dead trees standing rather than saw them down. The animals and I both appreciate it!

      February 24, 2011 at 6:53 am

      • They say in woodland standing dead trees have a special ecology, different from that of fallen trunks.
        I once wrote a little piece inspired by a George Herbert poem (and a fallen trunk not far from here), with the line “When morning came, I watched the dead tree swarm with life.”
        Thanks again for the photos.

        February 25, 2011 at 5:48 am

        • melissakoski

          What a wonderful line. It was a neat area with a lot fo dead, but standing trees… almost loud with wildlife.

          February 25, 2011 at 7:02 am

  64. The Hunter

    wow. I just took some time and read through some of the comments and your responses. You seem really kind and I like how you take to time to answer all the comments.
    Awesome pictures, keep up the good work!

    February 24, 2011 at 3:32 am

    • melissakoski

      Well thanks for your kind words!

      February 24, 2011 at 6:54 am

  65. I like the way you reveal the surprise of the racoon. It’s true of course it’s cute & you’ve taken great photos- it must have been lovely to see that. But I think that your title is equally important (in fact it’s what attracted me in the first place) : it suggests all those other little creatures which, although less cute & less visible, also live in a dead tree & all form part of the complicated foodchain & ecosystem which we humans are eventually part of. Well done for showing us the value of dead trees!

    February 24, 2011 at 3:55 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks much Sonya. Usually my titles are made to get people to click rather than describe my actual posts. (: There are so many creatures in that patch of dead trees!

      February 24, 2011 at 6:58 am

  66. Awesome !!!! Beautiful pictures of hidden raccoon…

    February 24, 2011 at 4:23 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks! It was a great find.

      February 24, 2011 at 7:03 am

  67. What a terrific pictures! I will share them with my classes…
    thank you for sharing this,
    Hans from Holland

    February 24, 2011 at 4:34 am

    • melissakoski

      How exciting Hans- Thanks for stopping by! It was a productive and exciting morning walk. Enjoy the day!

      February 24, 2011 at 7:02 am

  68. Amazing….good job for the picture/blog :D

    February 24, 2011 at 5:08 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks so much!

      February 24, 2011 at 7:03 am

  69. bassenormandie

    Found you via Freshly Pressed. Superb photo and what a cute little creature. Looks a most interesting site so I will explore more.
    Best regards,
    Carole – from: La Fosse – The House on the Hill

    February 24, 2011 at 7:09 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Carole

      February 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

  70. Congratulations, beautiful photos, very sweet subject!
    Regards :-)

    February 24, 2011 at 7:28 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Giancarlo. I wish I could hear you pronounce your name (:

      February 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

      • I’m Italian from Rome. You can try using Google translator, maybe :-) bye :-)

        February 24, 2011 at 8:57 am

        • melissakoski

          I’m going to try it! ….that was cool. I was way off on my annunciation.

          February 24, 2011 at 9:30 am

  71. NT

    Beautiful Pictures

    February 24, 2011 at 7:35 am

    • melissakoski

      Thank you very much.

      February 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

  72. The photos are stunning. Nature is great and it takes care of itself. These photos actually answer the question, “Who lives in a dead tree?” very well.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:56 am

  73. I know Raccoons are dirty and a little dangerous for dogs, but they’re so cute, thanks for this, it made my morning

    February 24, 2011 at 8:13 am

    • melissakoski

      I love them when they’re looking cute and hate them when they get into a bird’s nest of eggs and hatchlings come spring! Happy Day!

      February 24, 2011 at 8:33 am

  74. Wow – he’s really cute. What an adorable little face. Thanks for posting this.


    February 24, 2011 at 8:55 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Darlene!

      February 24, 2011 at 9:29 am

  75. Haha, it’s so cute! You really had me guessing who lived in that tree. :P

    February 25, 2011 at 5:22 am

    • melissakoski

      I’m glad (:

      February 25, 2011 at 7:02 am

  76. The Photo is really cute..aah

    February 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

    • melissakoski

      Thanks, it was adorable!

      February 27, 2011 at 1:19 pm

  77. The raccoon is so cute! But, of course, it is a wild animal. It probably stinks for all its cuteness.
    (Baby skunks are cute!)

    February 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    • melissakoski

      The skunks are starting to get active around here. I don’t mind skunk smell at all, but the rest of my family hates it! (: I think it smells better than cleaning products.

      February 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

  78. After I took some pictures it got a little leery and hunkered down in that cute pose.

    April 7, 2011 at 3:58 am


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