Second-Hand Stories

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Many years ago, when I just a young man in the US Army, I was placed on guard duty when I was issued a new device call night vision goggles. This was high-tech in the early eighties and I was happy to utilize the latest technology while on guard duty especially at night. Before the night vision goggles, I utilized my built-in night vision, (eyes), while on guard duty on the perimeter of a fence line that when dark, I could only see absolutely nothing. Now while on guard duty, it was customary to hear the wrestling of animals in the woods throughout the night, so after several weeks I became use to the unsettling noises. At first, the noise was so frightening that it was common to stare into the darkness wide-eyed hoping to gain some lite to see the movements of, bears, deer, raccoons, possums, foxes, rabbits, and large owls. . Although, I had in my possession, my trusty flash lite, with red colored lenses, however, we were not permitted to use, unless absolutely necessary.

After a ten or fifteen minute training sessions, I was issued a pair of goggles and posted to my guard position along the fence line just before midnight. As soon as the jeep pulled away, I placed the goggles over my head and the sense of seeing the darkness of night illuminated under a greenish haze was incredible. I walked around with the goggles in place for about thirty minuets, when I spotted a large racoon in the tree line. He was rooting along the ground when he spotted me and it was a sensational site to view the animal at night searching for food looking back at me. The animal continued his search for food and I followed the movements of the animal, when suddenly, the raccoon stopped and simply stared back at me. After a couple of stops by the racoon, and looking back in my direction which took place five or six times, each time, he looked towards me attempting to decide, how was I tracking his movements. He suddenly turned and moved in the opposite direction, stopping to see if I was looking in his direction, when the animal recognized that I was tracking his movements, he immediately, he scurried away into the woods away from my position and I never saw him again. I had the same encounter with a deer, a possum and several rabbits over the next few weeks.

The noise of scurrying animals dropped off considerably, however, what I could not understand is how nocturnal animals, walking in the dark with great hearing can be eaten by other animals who are also moving about and must have capabilities to see in the dark?

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One thought on “Second-Hand Stories

  1. I don’t know what it is, but raccoons usually make me laugh, though they are not doing anything “special” besides just being natural.

    There was a video on YouTube, of a raccoon breaking into a home via the dog entrance. It was pitch black in the house, but they had an alarm system with video. He crawled in and stole the dog tray of food. Hahaha.

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