First there were mice and rats...brought to the island centuries ago as stowaways on sailing ships. I don't know how nutria got here, but I see them every once in a while. Then, sometime within the last 40 years, someone released a pair of minks. Next it was squirrels. What were these people thinking?
Deer are another recent arrival. They probably swam over here from Hatteras. I have seen two, just north of the NPS campground, and tracks are fairly common "down below" (anywhere north of the village).
Five years ago Gene Ballance sent me this photo of a raccoon foraging on his back porch. It was the first I had heard of raccoons on Ocracoke.
Just last week Frankie Garrish told me he startled two raccoons who were feeding in the cat dishes in Cousin Blanche's yard.
There have been raccoons on Portsmouth Island for many years. I suppose a couple of them were washed over to Ocracoke during a storm. It is probably impossible, now, to get rid of them.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's
account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.