Raccoon Shell-fishing – Nature in My Back Yard

We have been trying to solve a mystery on the banks of the lagoon behind our house: where have all the empty freshwater mussel shells come from? These shiny shells (or rather, half-shells) started appearing a month or two ago.  At first we thought the American River Otters that frequent the lagoon had been doing a little shell-fishing on the side.  But we’d never actually seen them trying to pry one of the mussels open before.

Now we know!  The first time we saw the culprit, there were actually three of them – the local raccoons have developed quite a shellfishing technique!

(I actually was able to video the three of them in action, but then our “special needs” son decided that the SD card with that video on it was “old” and since it had no more room on it for additional video recordings, he pitched it in the garbage – can you spell A-N-G-R-Y?)

Fortunately, we managed to capture one of them recently back in action wading out into the lagoon, feeling around for a mussel, then bringing it back to shore and tearing it open for a delicious crustacean delight.  Quite a talent that they have developed!

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