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The Raccoons

I think every home must have a story that the inhabitants, if asked, would say was the most memorable thing about the house. In our case, it might be the raccoons.

Two...maybe three summers ago, I hired two handymen to do some outside work on the house. I needed to have the dormer over the front door repainted, and I wanted to have a gutter repaired.

Well, Dear Husband came home and found them at work, and I had to admit that I had hired some help. A few days later, it rained, and it became apparent that we now had a leak in the roof....perhaps in the location of where one of the men had been standing, and the gutter could still be improved.

DH went out to the front of the house, and ripped out the soffit, announcing that we would leave it open to determine where the leak was.

A year later, a lady raccoon found the open soffit, and discovered that she could make a nest between the brick wall and the drywall in my mother's sitting room. That spring we could hear her babies calling for their dinner. When she scritched her fleas, her feet would thump against the walls. We could hear her run across the roof. Later that summer, we took up viewing posts in the dining room, and watched the acrobatics as she left the wall, and curled up onto the roof. She used the valleys of the roof as her personal highways, and taught her children to follow her.

I assume that she hibernated in the wall that winter. We talked about the need to lure her out and close the soffit. I probably talked about that a LOT as she chewed her way through the rigid insulation, and began pulling out yards of fiberglass insulation. Each morning I would look out the front door and find wads of it festooning the newly emerging perennials in the sidewalk garden.

Then, we realized we had TWO female raccoons....two PREGNANT raccoons.

DEAR HUSBAND....we NEED to CLOSE the SOFFIT! DH would nod his head in agreement.

So....the raccoons found their way into the attic. One night, I was sitting in the "green room." That's the area off the kitchen where we have shelves of plants, and it's where we eat informal dinners. Over my head there was an incredible fight, with high pitched screaming and thuds. The raccoons were establishing pecking order, and territory. Evidently one took the corner over our closet, and one found a nook at the edge of the great room, and they must have divvied up the green room as a straightaway to the exit. Their choices were astonishing! They instinctively chose places where we couldn't get to them.

A month or two later, we could hear the babies trying to scramble up the slope of the cathedral ceiling over the great room. Those little suckers were cute little balls of fur....but I wanted them OUT of my house!

Dear Husband heard about it regularly, as the raccoons pulled more and more insulation out of the house. It was a warm summer, and the attic is hot, despite the fan and the vents. Every now and then I'd catch the raccoons snoozing near the opening of the soffit......a foot hanging over the side, and gentle snoring competing with the bees.

So...last month, DH finally cut a temporary patch for the soffit. We were agreed that the babies were old enough now to survive outside. We felt it was necessary to give them adequate time to find another home before winter set in.

I know you wonder why I didn't just call an exterminator. I did. Actually, I called a "trapper." I didn't want to kill these animals. Their habitat has been eaten up inexorably. Houses have marched across the fields and into the groves that were their home, and we had one of the few places left that seemed a refuge. I didn't expect them to become our dependents. At any rate, the "trapper" wanted $50 to visit and scope out the situation. Then, he wanted $35 a piece for each raccoon he caught. AND.....he would have to kill them once he caught them. We figured there were nine of them. The money wasn't the issue. Killing the babies was.

My soft-heartedness came to an end when we started hearing stories about how dangerous they were to both pets and human health. It was time for them to go.

It's quiet above me tonight. The soffit will have to be opened so that insulation can be blown into the attic, and we'll have to paint, and clean. I'm glad they are outside where they belong, but I miss them.

It was the right thing to do, if only to give Dear Husband a little peace.

Comments (14)

it was the righ thing to do... I'm glad you did - they are out and your DH has the peace... there actually should be a lot more peace without them scampering about overhead!


Gawd, I hope so! lol

Cop Car:

What a story! And such a sad ending--for you and for them. We have about 7 regular marauders, here. I put food for them back in the woods--in vain hopes of keeping them away from the house. This is not a regular activity, but just when I have food of which I need to dispose. (Still, they bring food up onto the back porch to wash it in the cats's water dish--LOL.) Night before last, they let me know that I had not adequately fed them the last few days--they ate the cantaloupe that I had planned to bring in for yesterday's breakfast.
Yes, the crits can be diseased and such, and they are a nuisance, but it is still hard to do anything drastic with them. It must have been particularly difficult for someone as forgiving as you. I'm glad that you got it over with.

Nice story, a welcome change from the hurricane related stuff I have been hearing/seeing around me. Some is pretty awful.

Good grief! Over here we think the odd mouse is a disaster!


My goodness! It makes DH's exploits with a grey squirrel pale into insignificance.

You had to get it done, of course, but I'm glad for your sake that the problem is now over and done with. At least now you and your DH can have some peace and quiet.

Cop Car, we even named some of them! One of the mothers had a chunk torn out of her ear, and we called her "NiNOTCHka." We fed ours, too. They loved potato and squash skins, and hated rye bread. Several of them would come right up to the window and stand, waiting for their handout. Fred said they were going to ask for a key to the house, soon. It was funny to watch them drink from the bird bath. They'd stand on the edge of the herb bed, lower their head flat with the water, and inhale. Loosing the canteloupe would have been the last straw for me. Yeah...it was hard to be so mean, but I'm really glad to have reclaimed my home.

Doc, I'm SURE that you appreciate the chance to think about something other than the effects of the hurricane. You're a good man. Anyone else might have looked at this as something trivial compared to what you've experienced. I'm glad it entertained you.

Adele, and Blue Witch, mice and squirrels are just as bad, but you should see a family of raccoons in the fall when they are all grown, and hear them fighting over food. They store up fat so they can hibernate through the winter, and they get to be quite tubby. I thought they trundled when they walked.

Adele...I had the garage open on Sunday as I worked, and twice, as I came out of the house from getting a drink, I had to run off a gray squirrel who discovered our bird seed stash. He won't forget, I'm afraid. Thanks for stopping by. I'll have a note off to you shortly.

Cop Car:

What a cute name--NiNotchKa! Well, Buffy, it wasn't as if we lost our ONLY cantaloupe--we've been eating plenty of them. And, in fact, the cantaloupe may have been eaten by possums. I know from experience at our last house that o'possums love cantaloupe--and no calling card was left.


I'm terrible about veggie gardening. I start out with such high hopes, and then forget it needs water....so my canteloupes and pumpkins usualy didn't have a lot of fruit on each vine.

We've had a possum visit. S/he likes the seed that's dropped from the bird feeders. I recall my Dad's possum in Missouri ate ANYTHING....at least anything that was in the garbage can! lol

Cop Car:

When HH or I (don't remember which) was on the City Council, we obeyed the then-current cat ordinance that required leashes. So, we had a rather long animal cage in our back yard for our (Dudette's and Bogie's) three cats. The o'possums regularly came into the cage to partake of the cat food. The o'possums looked larger than the mesh of the wire cage, but looks were obviously deceiving. It was good incentive to keep the cats's vaccinations current.

All the wild visitors are astonishing. We're merely an inconvenience to them....they adjust and adapt.

You were wise to keep the cat's vaccinations up to date. When I was five we had a big ole cat named Sylvester. He and a possum had a fight, and Sylvester won. Unfortunately, he died from the infections the possum passed on. It pays to keep our distance from our wild friends.

It was funny the first time we saw the possum in the cage with the cats. They just sat there and looked at it while it made free with their food.

Then there was the time we had a possum in the wood pile in the garage. We only got to see its tail at first and thought it was a rat. Later we found out it was the cats' buddy (or a relative anyway).


OMG! (laughing) I missread Cop Car's post. I had envisioned the possum trying to reach his hand through the mesh to get to the food. It didn't occur to me that he squeezed his entire body into the cage! I bet it made the cats crazy for a bit.

You know....the cats would have gotten even if they heard you say the possum was related to them, and it wouldn't have been pretty. *G*

Cop Car:

Bogie was kind enough to omit the fact that it was I who thought we had a rat. HH still gives me a hard time over it!


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