Okay, so we’ve heard about people throwing birthday parties for their cats, dogs and various other pets but hosting one for a raccoon, now that’s taking things to a whole new level. Totally not complaining though.
I don’t know about you but I just love birthdays: the cake, the decorations, being the centre of attention of course; birthdays really are the best days ever!
And we shouldn’t keep the festivities to our human selves, animals have them too, so why not celebrate them!
This is exactly what 24-year-old photographer Xanthe Rowland, from Burnham-on-Sea, thought and so she hosted a tiny party for Missy the raccoon’s eighth birthday.
And as you can imagine, it was as adorable as it sounds.
Speaking to UNILAD, Xanthe explained how it all came about:
So many of my clients are asking to have their babies photographed with cakes for their first birthdays, where they basically destroy a cake and make as much mess as possible. I love what I do, but I’m always finding ways to switch things up a bit.
I’ve always loved animals and thought it would be an awesome idea to try and find an animal to try this with instead.
At first I was asking my friends if they had any dogs they’d like to try it with, until I received a message from my friend who is a zookeeper at Tropiquaria, Somerset, and mentioned that one of their racoons has a birthday coming up and we could try it with them!
I practically bit his arm off at that offer as I thought it was so unique. It’s not every day you get to work with amazing animals!
Having never worked with raccoons before, Xanthe was a little nervous but it turns out so was Missy who was a tad camera shy.
However, as Xanthe tells us a delicious animal friendly banana sponge birthday cake soon tempted her out to play.
There are two racoons in the enclosure, Archer and Missy, and they are both ex-pets and have been rescued and relocated to the zoo.
I’ve visited them a few times and Missy is typically a bit grumpy when she isn’t being bribed with food. She’s friendly but a bit sassy and very inquisitive! So much like a typical racoon.
Archer is much more likely to come running up to you if you have something sweet for him, but both of them will be your best friend if you’ve got a treat for them.
Racoons are VERY driven by food haha!
Aren’t we all!
As you can see from the incredible photos though, Missy very clearly enjoyed her birthday party.
As did Xanthe, who added:
Watching Missy devour that cake was hilarious. I placed the cake down, put up some bunting and let them both out.
Missy quickly claimed ownership of the cake by growling at Archer which I was told she would do.
I’ve never seen an animal so happy in my life. After a few minutes she had ripped it apart, was licking icing from her fingers and having the time of her life.
Midway through, I broke a bit of cake off for Archer and gave some to him so he didn’t feel left out, as he was feeling very sorry for himself in the corner but he quickly perked up.
I couldn’t believe the results. I looked back over the pictures and was so happy! I didn’t stop grinning for a good hour afterwards.
I don’t really know how I’m going to top giving throwing a raccoon a birthday party but I’m open to ideas!
We also can’t stop grinning at the photos!
Happy birthday, Missy! Continue living your best life and making everyone smile!
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.