Doesn't this Raccoon look like it is howling? Actually, it is chewing a crayfish it caught while wading in a pool of water located at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The Raccoons have been active during the morning hours catching crayfish and I have been able to observe several of them. What I have noticed is that it seems difficult for Raccoons to chew and swallow crayfish. I'm guessing the hard shell and the sharp claws of the crayfish are what makes it difficult. Also notice that this is a Cinnamon Raccoon.
I was parked on the side of the tour road at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in an area called Miner's Cove. This has been the hot spot for me in photographing several types of wildlife for the past several weeks. (This photo was taken on July 3rd.) I arrived 30 minutes before sunrise and got my camera placed on a bean bag that I drape over the door of my pickup. I was shooting with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II and my EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens. When I had enough light I started photographing Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and Barred Owls. This Raccoon showed up at 07:30 a.m. and began searching for food in the water. I had enough light to shoot at a shutter speed of 1/2000 of a second at f5.6. I was also able to keep the ISO at 800. I don't like going much higher than ISO 800 with this camera. I had the exposure mode set at manual with auto ISO and evaluative metering. I was using single point, continuous autofocus and I would keep the autofocus point over the eye. This Raccoon was moving a lot so I was glad I was able to shoot with a fast shutter speed.
I wished I could have been eye level with the Raccoon for a better photograph. The road where I was parked sets up about 6 to 8 feet from the water and I am shooting down. There is lots of brush between my vehicle and the water and I have seen several snakes in this brush.
Note: The Refuge has mowed some of this brush since this outing but I still would not get the photos I get if I was out of my pickup. The wildlife is used to seeing vehicles parked in this area and seeing me outside of my vehicle would scare them away.
Howling Raccoon - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma