Raccoons Line Up for San Francisco Muni Bus

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A photograph of a group of raccoons clustered around a San Francisco bus has gone viral. "I'm shocked, actually," the photographer, Stephen W. Thomson, tells Paw Nation. The delightful photograph was posted to Thomson's Flickr page, and has been reported by the Daily Mail in London, The Wall Street Journal, and local Web sites.

A San Francisco resident since 2006, Thomson is never without a camera. "I go running at night and early in the mornings with my point-and-shoot camera wrapped in a sock," he says. "I'm out in the city at times when most people are asleep, and this allows me to see things and capture what most people don't see." On this particular night, it was about 2 a.m.; Thomson was photographing his neighbor's tricked-out car near the Legion of Honor Museum when he noticed a group of raccoons gathering nearby. "There were a few raccoons, then there were many," Thomson says. "I was enthralled with the quantity of raccoons because it's not something you see everyday, like pigeons."

Admired from afar, the raccoons outside the bus -- some of whom were standing on their hind legs -- were well-mannered as they ate bits of food off the ground. "They were quiet and not beating each other to get to the food," Thomson says. While it's been reported that the bus driver regularly feeds the raccoons who gather, Thomson says he does not know for a fact whether that is true. "I didn't actually see the bus driver feeding the raccoons and don't know if he does that regularly," Thomson says, adding that he does not want to get the bus driver in any trouble.

"What I find interesting," says Thomson, "is the joy that viewers get from seeing the photograph." We sure do!

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