All Creatures Welcomed Here

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.

Comments

Marcia said…
We had the same problem a few years ago. We were told nothing could be done until the babies were at least six weeks old. We waited until then. In the meantime I built a new triple duty hardware screen into the attic (where presumably they were going in and out). I assembled the screen on hinges at the bottom of the window and left it open. When the babies were six weeks old one night at midnight when the mama and babies were out foraging, I closed and locked the screen. End of raccoon problem, and we saved $300.
Marcia said…
We had the same problem a few years ago. We were told nothing could be done until the babies were at least six weeks old. We waited until then. In the meantime I built a new triple duty hardware screen into the attic (where presumably they were going in and out). I assembled the screen on hinges at the bottom of the window and left it open. When the babies were six weeks old one night at midnight when the mama and babies were out foraging, I closed and locked the screen. End of raccoon problem, and we saved $300.
FairyGodKnitter said…
We had the same (but smaller)problem with squirrels back when we lived in an older home. I was on bed rest with my younger son and the noise really made me nuts. My husband and our friend who owned the house trapped the squirrels but only drove them to a park a few blocks away before setting them free. This went on and on. I kept saying, drive them to Grand Island, they can't swim back here.
Hope they leave peacefully.
Anonymous said…
Tune : We kiss in a shadow (The King and I)

Raccoons in the crawl space
Right over my head
They rustle around
when I go to bed

Raccoons in the crawl space
How many are there?
Just one pregnant mom?
Or maybe a pair?

Now enter the wrangler
With trap and with bait.
Will donuts and meat
Do the job?

Raccoons in the crawl space
Come forth from my house
Why not find a nice hollow tree?
And leave all that crawl space
To me


--Elizabeth