Jim Blackwood, the Raccoon Whisperer, mobbed by raccoons on Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo credit: YouTube)

Jim Blackwood, the Raccoon Whisperer, mobbed by raccoons on Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo credit: YouTube)

The Editor’s Desk: The raccoon whisperer

The Internet can be a wonderful place when good people use it with kindness

Move over, Bob Ross. You’ll have to make room in my heart for the Raccoon Whisperer.

His real name is Jim Blackwood, and he’s a retired Mountie and Boston Bruins fan who lives in Churchill, in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. For years now he’s been feeding raccoons on his deck, filming the encounters, and putting them up on his YouTube channel, where they were averaging 20,000 to 40,000 views each: respectable, but not Earth-shattering.

All that changed when he put up his video for Nov. 3, 2020, which showed him reaching maximum raccoon (or “max rac”, as I like to think of it). He called it “Mobbed by raccoons”, and he was not kidding: about 25 showed up for dinner, and the resulting video has gone viral, with more than 10 million views and counting.

That video was my introduction to Jim, along with raccoons such as Buddy, Woody, Scooter, and Grabby, and Jim’s cats Connor and Charlotte. I have now watched several of the videos, and I am here to attest that listening to some of the roly-poliest raccoons you ever will see quietly crunch away on dog food or Cheerios is immeasurably wonderful and oddly soothing.

The raccoons also eat hot dogs (Jim goes through up to 20 pounds of them a night), peanut butter sandwiches, green grapes, marshmallows, and sandwich cookies; I was inordinately gleeful when I learned that they like to pull the cookies apart and eat the cream filling first. I’ve also learned a lot about raccoons: for instance, that they go into something like hibernation over the winter, so are busily piling on the calories now to see them through their extended sleep.

This is one of the many things Jim shares in his videos, which contain no politics, preaching, or posing. Instead, he talks about jamming with his friend Ron, getting a new roof, his headgear (“I’ve got my Boston Bruins winter hat on. It’s some warm”), Connor cat’s antics, and his new chair: “I bought myself a new La-Z-Boy chair, an electric one. Is it ever fancy, too. I push a button and everything goes. They said ‘Do you want the one that stands you up?’ I said ‘Yeah, 3,000 bucks, I don’t think so. I’ll stand up on my own, thank you. I’m not that far gone.’”

Listening to Jim as the raccoons swarm around him, munching away, is like sitting on the back deck with the world’s most genial uncle. I always had raccoons pegged as vicious beggars who will, like the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, do you up a treat if they get half a chance, but Jim’s raccoons are remarkably well-behaved. Then again, I would be too, if someone was feeding me marshmallows and green grapes every night.

Lately Jim has been coming to terms with Internet trolls (or fleas, as he sometimes calls them), who take him to task for his supposed foul language (“I don’t swear on here, it’s family-oriented videos”) or for feeding the raccoons too much. “I notice the trolls are saying they’re too fat, they’re obese,” Jim says in one video. “They weren’t paying attention, these guys gotta be fat for the winter or they starve to death, that’s why they’re big, but the trolls don’t understand that because they’re not educated. [pause] I know a lot of them can’t spell.” That last little aside made me laugh very hard indeed. It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

In a show earlier this year, late night host Seth Meyers talked about being helped out by someone on YouTube, and said “It’s a reminder of how amazing a place the Internet can be when good people use it with kindness.” He wasn’t talking about Jim, but he might as well have been. His videos are an oasis of kindness and decency: one man, two cats, a lot of raccoons, and pure goodness. Watch one or two, and your heart will be some warm, with or without a Boston Bruins hat.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Jim Blackwood, the Raccoon Whisperer, with two of his buddies. (Photo credit: YouTube)

Jim Blackwood, the Raccoon Whisperer, with two of his buddies. (Photo credit: YouTube)

Just Posted

The two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read