Monday, May 23, 2011

Raccoons -- those once-cute critters

I once thought raccoons were quite cute.

Over the course of our travels, we have come across some interesting situations.

Up at Acadia National Park in Maine, late one night, after we had decided to go to sleep (in our van), there was a little noise on our picnic table outside.

Quietly finding a flashlight, the wifey and son and I got ready and put a quick light toward the table to find three rather heafty critters looking over what we had left out. The light didn't scare them away. They just looked back at us, as if to say, "what?"

Another time, we were at a place called Cave Creek on the eastern border of Arizona. My wife says she recalls a raccoon there that had run into a little trouble, but none-the-less, didn't let it slow him down too much.

She said the critter was missing one of his paws. Apparently, it may have gotten cut off as he attempted to get into a garbage can. But she said she watched him as he worked his magic.

He used his good paw to open the top of a garbage can while managing to work some leftovers out onto the ground.

And then there was the time in Yosemite Valley.

With hundreds of people going to and fro, a raccoon acted like he was just one of the crowd as he made his way from one garbage can to the other in the business district, almost oblivious to the teeming mass of humanity around him.

Yes, they can be cute.

But that's not the way I am feeling just right now.

There is scampering overhead as I sit in the big room of our house.

The sound is in the attic. For a while it gets quiet, and then starts up again.

Those once-little-cute critters have invaded our residence.

Back and forth. To and fro. Noises here, noises there.

First the critter pulled shingles from my roof and gnawed a whole in it. Wifey gave me an indication of it, but I was thinking of something else.

Eventually I realized what had happened. And then it was too late.

I covered the hole in the roof with a light covering of shingles. That didn't stop it. I put a heavier covering of shingles. That didn't work either. I hammered a board and then covered it with heavy wire. That ended that entry point.

I assume, their having been trapped inside the attic, they had to find a way out and they pulled up some metal ventilation strips to get out.

I covered those holes up. They gnawed a larger hole to gain access.

I finally found someone with a trap, so I set out to capture the critter.

And after a week, I have decided there should be a newTV show, "Are you smarter than a raccoon?"

They are smarter than me. I didn't know all the nuances of what it takes to trap a raccoon and therefore I have been trying for a week to find it one morning still in the trap.

No such luckl 

They like marshmallows and manage to get in the trap, abscond with their take and escape without triggering the mechanism.

They don't like oranges. One night they chose marshmallows and left apple slices.

I tried an adaptation inside the trap tonight, hoping that will work. We'll know in the morning.

All I can say is, I don't ever think I will consider them cute ever again.

Next post: May 31, 2011

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