There must be a sign posted above our house, in many different animal languages, that says All Animals Welcomed Here.
Rabbits in the backyard. Birds nesting in the garage. Year after year. A bird that flew down the chimney and into the living room while my husband was out of town and the kids were gone. I'll admit it: I pulled one of my only girlie moments and asked the neighbor to come over and catch it. I just don't do birds, too much Alfred Hitchcock as a child. And a very well-fed squirrel, who has driven every bird in the neighborhood away from our bird-feeder this winter. Years ago, a mama raccoon gave birth to a litter in the basement part of what used to be the coal chute. We scared her away, and then sat across the street, watching her transport each baby out in her mouth until, hopefully, all had been relocated. And, of course, the gerbils and cats and dogs and fish that we intentionally housed.
And now, raccoons in the crawl space. (If you write a song with that as the title, please let me know.)
I've been hearing strange scramblings and scratchings in the walls for the last few months. A few weeks ago, flashlight in hand, my husband ventured into the attic crawl space and found nothing. Then, over the weekend, as I was sitting at the dining room table, I heard definite sounds of movement in the ceiling and the walls. Very creepy. I went outside and looked on the roof. Nothing. More scrambling and scratching in the walls. Then, upstairs to look out the window of the dormer bedroom onto that roof. Nothing in sight. But we know something's there, because it just is not normal for a house to sound as though living things are moving through the walls.
The raccoon wrangler came today and set up a trap on the roof. It seems to be baited with miniature powdered-sugar donuts and a raw chicken breast. The raccoon chewed a hole through the roof and the window frame, so some carpentry will be needed once we get the unwelcome visitor out. We check the trap every morning and night for three days. After that, something else goes into effect, but I'm not sure what. And we pay per animal trapped, so we're hoping that something happens before our raccoon gives birth.