A few nights ago, Gretchen joined our black cat, Henry, to stare out the back window of the den which allows us to peer out at our terraced back yard. I was shocked when she shrieked and yelled, “raccoon!” She swore one was on the terrace wall right outside the window looking in at she and Henry. I went to the window and saw nothing, so I chalked it up to her imagination. Imagine my surprise, then, when yesterday evening around 6 or 7 PM she called out to me in the office, “The raccoon’s back and he’s huge!” I went running out of the office to the den determined to view the varmint. Sure enough, he was on the back patio tormenting Henry, who was going nuts, and my wife as well, who wasn’t much happier than Henry. By the time I got there, he was retreating to the back side of our shed, which is a very long, narrow shed behind our house. I tried to see if he was going to go up the terraced hills, but to our shock, we saw him crawling up the side of the shed and stuffing himself into it through a narrow little gap at the top of the shed between the top of the shed and the roof. He fell inside the shed. Now, this was in broad daylight. How brazen. Frankly, I was worried because I’ve heard for years ago how raccoons often carry rabies and a little research indicated that if they’re wandering around in broad daylight, it’s potentially a bad sign — they might have rabies. I didn’t feel like going outside to open the shed door only to get attacked by a rabid raccoon. We tried to figure out what to do. There are outfits that get rid of such animals, but they’re expensive and it was now night. They probably wouldn’t answer if we called then. We could call animal control, but they claim that they no longer come for just any animal and besides, they only have one or two workers anyway. It could have been hours before they got there and we wanted to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I asked some online friends, and some said to get a trap, but what would we do with it if we trapped it? Others said get a .22 rifle and take it out. Actually that’s a very attractive option. I researched .22s and found that the costs vary wildly. I found a couple that are kind of affordable, but sadly, we’re on a tight budget currently and we don’t have funds allocated for that. I actually have contemplated getting one on a credit card, but hate to do that.
Anyway, as we were hashing things out, the raccoon’s head popped out of the top of the shed and it then appeared that he was hanging from the interior top of the shed with his head out. Gretchen took some pictures of him and emailed them to our fathers. Finally, after he’d been in the shed for maybe an hour, he forced his way out of the opening he went through in originally and scampered up the terraced hill to the woods behind us. Thank goodness, right? I went out this morning and found that a rat trap I’ve got back in the shed with rat poison pellets was empty. He must have eaten them. I wonder if he’ll get sick. This isn’t the first time this has happened to the rat poison. Since we never see rats, I didn’t know what was happening to the disappearing rat poison, but maybe it’s this darn raccoon. We don’t leave food or garbage out and our garbage can is big and heavy. He’d have a hard time getting into it. He must be eating the rat poison. But it’s not killing him. So, what do we do? The last thing I want is to go get the mower out of the shed, open the door and get attacked by a ticked off raccoon, you know? Any ideas? We’re open. We did hear that raccoons don’t like ammonia, so we got some and put it in the shed. Hopefully that’ll do it, but I really think I should try and find funds for the .22. I’d feel safer that way. (It could also serve as home protection, although I know a .22 isn’t that heavy duty of a weapon.) I wish I had a pic to post of the varmint, but I don’t, sorry. It’s actually cute, if you can get past the foraging and possible rabid state of the animal. Hey, that reminds me — remember the little goat we named Abigail who came out of the woods to visit us last fall? Animal control took Abigail. Why not a raccoon? Well, any ideas would be welcome. Cheers!