It's been awhile since I've written about any raccoons. And that's because I haven't been bitten by one in a whole year.
So, let me remind you about where we live, and why being attacked by a raccoon in my backyard in broad daylight came as a real surprise. We live in the middle of a very urban neighborhood. Two blocks from a Starbucks. Three blocks from a movie theater. 4 blocks from a hospital. It's not the country. Look, I made a little map to show you:
Last Tuesday, in preparing *our* nest for our pending arrival, we finally decided to call Critter Control about the squirrel nest we believed was in our attic. Only when critter control came out, they said it wasn't a squirrel nest but a raccoon nest.
Critter Control charges $90 per live animal removed, and they said that raccoons are notoriously hard to catch. Somehow, Bill took this as a challenge. 4 large, live animal traps from Home Depot and some cat food later, we were in business.
Wednesday morning Bill ventured into the backyard to discover all 4 traps sprung - by 3 possums and a squirrel. I commented that we would probably not catch any raccoons if smaller, dumber animals kept occupying our traps before raccoons had the opportunity. This resulted in Bill driving to Home Depot to buy 4 more traps. He also drove to East St. Louis, Illinois to release the possums and squirrel, operating on the assumption that it would be really hard for them to cross the Mississippi River.
Thursday morning, with all 8 traps online, Bill caught 3 squirrels and 2 possums, and conned one of his employees into driving the animals to Illinois. I could tell he was disappointed in the day's haul.
And then, JACKPOT. I couldn't sleep well on Thursday night and ended up moving to the guest room, which is right off of the backyard. Between 3 and 4 AM I heard three traps go off. Trapper Bill would be pleased. The next morning when I peered out the guest room window I discerned one very big, very ticked off raccoon in the only trap I could see clearly.
I tiptoed into our room and, like a mother waking the little ones on Christmas morning, said "Billllyyyyy... there's something outside for you!" Bill hopped down the stairs half-dressed to discover: 3 raccoons, 1 possum, and the meanest tom cat in the neighborhood, who's been beating up our kitty for more than 2 years! All in one night!
We entered into a lengthy negotiation on the difference between transporting possums and squirrels across state lines versus raccoons, all while Bill is attempting to cover the meanest raccoon's cage with a towel, using a rake for distance, only to have the coon grab the towel and hurl it back at Bill with gutteral exclamations and complete bolidy abandonment that we really should have recorded to scare the bejesus out of our kids some day. I reminded him that we would look especially stupid having to go back to the ER for a second raccoon wound within 12 months - come on, this is not Animal Hoarders!
Thank GOD, just as the argument reached a breaking point, a guy from Critter Control showed up to check the one cage that they had installed themselves, on the roof - and found a 4th raccoon!! Bill acquiesed to the $90 per animal fee and the guy threw in the live possum for free. Lucky us! He said they take the raccoons to a "farm" one of the employees owns. I bet my pet fish Celery is there too. And Bill dropped the cat off at the humane society, which for this cat was an especially kind thing to do.
We were both so wired by the whole experience that we didn't get any good photos. There's one below of two of the raccoons in the critter control van, and another of our kitty Me sniffing at the cage that held his sworn enemy.
So the grand tally for Bill's 72-hour trapping extravaganza came to: 5 possums, 4 squirrels, 4 raccoons and a mean old tom cat. It's like Appalachia over here. We had to take a break so that Bill could go back to his day job.
That being said, we're considering picking back up tonight. If you are interested in a live rally squirrel we might be willing to make a deal.