Someone Is Feeding All of Gould's Friendly Raccoons to Pythons

Categories: Environmental

Jessica Swanson
The raccoons of Cauley Square will nibble on your shoe laces, crawl over your feet and brush up against your legs. They are wild but not rabid. They are cuddly but also conniving. Emboldened by decades of free reign, these intelligent creatures have turned treacherous. And they are legion. That's why the owner of the Goulds attraction has decided to trap the raccoons and release them in the Everglades.

Although people come to the historic railroad village to wander through its foliage and peruse its antique stores, the raccoons were among its biggest draws. Honey Chalmers, one of the Square's tenants, says the animals were there before she opened Today's Collectibles 38 years ago. She started attracting more of them with cat food, and about 40 were permanent fixtures of her business until about a month ago.

That's when a private trapper from Homestead came and started scooping them up, she says. Forty became twelve. Twelve became four. Now, she says, there's a sole raccoon left. Chalmers hears they're taking that one away this afternoon. Soon, all she'll have left is a framed photo of two raccoons that hangs near the checkout counter of her store.

"Those poor creatures don't stand a chance in the Everglades," she says. "They're just going to become python food."

But the owner of Cauley Square says they were wreaking havoc by breaking into stores, smashing merchandise and ruining roofs. According to Frances Valera, who's run the place for about a decade, they've been a costly nuisance.

"People get scared because some of them have never seen a raccoon before," says Valera's assistant, Anna Gutierrez. "Some brides don't want to do weddings here, because they're afraid."

Chalmers couldn't disagree more. Cauley Square has been quiet since its main attraction has been shipped off to the 'Glades. People loved the raccoons, she says, and the place is lonely without them. Not only are there no furry friends running amok -- there's no customers either.

"Since they've been gone, there hasn't been any business here to speak of," she says. "But [Valera] owns the property and she has the right to get rid of them -- What are you going to do?"

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti

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Exiliado topcommenter

Stupid is as stupid does, and the best way to catch stupid is to let them run their stupid, ignorant mouths.

Feeding raccoons is illegal !!!!!!


Raccoons are meant to be in the woods foraging for food. When you feed them it causes their population to expand needing more food and causing aggression. They are rodents and cary disease. They are extremely destructive. I'm not saying they are bad. I am saying they are wild animals and should be left in the wild!


Quit feeding the dam raccoons! They belong in the wild! They overpopulated when they are not forced to forage and they become aggressive!

Jo Braga
Jo Braga

Omg noooo I loved all the raccoons!! That's why I went.. Whelp I guess I won't be stopping by there anymore lol


I'm not sure the title is all that misleading. The raccoon population in the Everglades has been completely decimated and the number one suspect is the invasive pythons. While it might be sensationalist and click bait, the transitive property suggests that if you release small mammals into the Everglades, especially animals reliant or adapted to human presence, they will most likely not survive. 

Joseph Mazon
Joseph Mazon

Give coons some credit, first of all if you release em into the Glades? they'll just catch a bus back to Homestead or Cutler Ridge, second, pythons move slow and coons move quick. Give this a rest New Times!

Sam Wright
Sam Wright

Also inaccurate and misleading headline, New Times I thought you were better than that

Sam Wright
Sam Wright

they need to feed the people that are feeding the raccoons to the pythons, that would be productive

HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

"Someone is Feeding All of Gould's Friendly Racoons to Pythons"

What a dumb, sensationalist headline.

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