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A refreshing video of a raccoon enjoying a shower on a hot summer day is making a splash on social media, courtesy of a young Montreal resident and his kiddie pool.
"Yeah buddy, the raccoon is taking a shower in your (kiddie pool)," Elena Parial explained to her son in the video, as the animal appeared to bathe. "He undid the plug and he's now taking a full-on shower."
Judging by the 47-second clip posted July 5, the raccoon was probably hot and thirsty as it drank plenty of shower water.
Unfortunately, the critter's paws damaged the pool's plug while yanking it out: "Luckily, our son's splash table wasn't a splurge price-wise," said Parial.
Naturally, the shower-loving raccoon has made a splash on social media.
"So cute. Sorry about the plug," stated one Facebook fan of the well-groomed raccoon.
Animal takes shower to beat the heat
Parial, who lives in Montreal's Côte-Des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-De-Grâce borough, told MTL Blog the raccoon has been frequenting her back deck for about six months.
"He had been visiting us infrequently before but we became more aware of him as of December 28, 2020, when he attacked our compost bin in a particularly aggressive and messy manner," she said.
Parial said the raccoon may have found a "lady friend" by the looks of a subsequent video posted July 7, which shows a pair of critters frolicking playfully on her patio furniture.
"I don't have irrefutable evidence that the shower attracted the lady friend, but this is the first time we've seen him with a friend," she said. "It's a gross assumption but it makes for a good social media post."
A possible 'lady friend'
Parial said she does not mind the raccoon taking up residence near her home, as it's been much less destructive than the squirrels who "have eaten [their] patio lights and torn numerous holes in [their] patio furniture," but she does have some concerns.
"I'm worried that we'll unknowingly stroll onto our deck not knowing he's sleeping there and find ourselves in a situation," she said. "More importantly, I worry my son may find himself in a situation because he's got a keen toddler curiosity."
She's also afraid the raccoon could lose its fear of humans. "Currently, he scurries when my husband taps on our patio door. He scurries away and knows we want our space. I'm not sure how long this is going to last before he figures out we're just scared of him and any pests or diseases he may carry."
Kiddie pool has become a water source
Bill Dowd, founder of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, said Parial's kiddie pool has probably become a water source for the "highly intelligent, very inquisitive" creature.
"My recommendation to the homeowner would be to obviously remove that water source," he said.
"If I was a betting man," he continued, "I would bet that if you see the raccoon that frequently on her deck, I would suspect it's probably living underneath the deck or maybe in her attic or in her chimney or underneath the shed out back."
He said the pair in the video are probably enjoying a platonic relationship as it's not raccoon mating season, which runs from January to June, so they won't be making raccoon babies together anytime soon.
"From the behaviour that those videos show me, I would say they're juveniles are just kind of being teenagers," he said.
"Getting into trouble, being rambunctious and kind of wrestling and fooling around."
Canada's statistical agency released the data on June 16 to create a "portrait" of the "demographic and social profile of Canada's diverse LGBTQ2+ communities" — however, much of the data "[focuses] on LGB Canadians (lesbian, gay, bisexual), since Statistics Canada has been collecting detailed information on these communities since 2003."
There were 72,880 same-sex couples in Canada in 2016, making up 0.9% of all couples in Canada.
StatsCan said half of those same-sex couples lived in the major cities of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa–Gatineau.
Between 2006 and 2016, the number of same-sex couples in Canada increased by 60.7%, compared to an increase of 9.6% in "opposite-sex" couples.
StatsCan said the increase "may be reflective, at least in part, of growing awareness and acceptance of sexual diversity in Canada."
LGBTQ2S+ hate crimes are on the rise in Canada
According to StatsCan's 2018 survey, LGB+ Canadians were both more likely to report being "violently victimized" throughout their lives and more likely to have experienced "inappropriate behaviours in public and online" than non-queer Canadians.
In 2018, LGB+ Canadians were "twice as likely" as non-queer Canadians "to report experiencing inappropriate behaviours" in the 12 months prior to the survey:
in public: 57% versus 22% of non-queer Canadians
online: 37% versus 15% of non-queer Canadians
at work: 44% versus 22% of non-queer Canadians.
Violent hate crimes against LGB+ Canadians were on par with violent racially-charged hate crimes in 2018.
Of hate crimes that targeted sexual orientation, 53% were violent crimes.
In comparison, 27% of hate crimes targeting religion and 52% of hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity were violent crimes, according to the data.
Further, according to StatsCan's 2018 survey, transgender Canadians were also more likely to report poorer mental health than cisgender Canadians.
They were also more likely to have "seriously contemplated suicide in their lifetimes."
Transgender Canadians were additionally more likely "to have been diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder" than cisgender Canadians.
The pandemic might have had a bigger effect on LGBTQ2S+ Canadians
StatsCan said that the LGBTQ2S+ population could have been "disproportionately affected" by job loss during the pandemic since a greater share of the communities' populations are between the ages of 15 and 24 — an age group whose employment levels "remains furthest from February 2020 levels."
LGBTQ2S+ Canadians also made less than their non-queer counterparts overall.
In 2018, 41% of LGBTQ2S+ Canadians "had a total personal income of less than $20,000" yearly, compared to 26% of non-queer Canadians.
In the same year, on average, queer income-earners in Canada made about 72% — $39,000 — of the average income of non-queer Canadians, at $54,000.
However, StatsCan noted that the income difference could partly be due to the large youth population in LGBTQ2S+ communities. Being enrolled in high school, CEGEPs or universities could reduce their potential income, the agency said.
In 2018, 33% of LGBTQ2S+ Canadians "found it difficult or very difficult to meet their needs in terms of transportation, housing, food, clothing, participation in some social activities and other necessary expenses," compared with just 27% of non-queer Canadians, according to StatsCan.