M. Giant's
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Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks


Thursday, September 07, 2006  

Varmint

I accidentally caught a raccoon last week.

You might think that capturing a wild arboreal nocturnal beast inside the borders of a large city would be kind of tricky without some doing, not to mention determination, luck, and some specialized equipment. Of which I only had one or two.

So here's what happened. Last Sunday, when we got home from the State Fair (entirely other entry there, don't even get me started), M. Small had fallen asleep in the car and we wanted to transfer him into his crib without waking him up. We're always very careful not to slam the door at such times. This time we were so careful about not slamming the door that we failed to get it closed at all.

We didn't know this until M. Small was in his crib (still asleep). I just happened to decide to carry a chair from our upstairs bedroom back to the garage, which is when I noticed the back door was open. Otherwise it might still be that way. As it was, I arrived in the study just in time to see Turtle lurking just inside the gaping door frame, deciding whether to make a break for it or not. Since she's the least escape-minded of our three cats, I knew we were in trouble.

Sure enough, when I stepped outside Phantom was standing in the driveway. I turned away just long enough to shoo Strat back into the house from where he was lurking on the deck, and that was the last time I saw Phantom that day.

So instead of wasting a lot of time like the last time this happened, I got right in the car and went to the Humane Society to rent a trap. I brought it out back, next to the garage, set it and baited it with an open can of tuna, and draped a beach towel over it to make it a little more cozy-looking. And then we waited. If by "waited" you mean "started looking out the back window every five minutes to see if she'd shown up."

The trap was still empty and unsprung when we went to bed that night, and at 2:30 a.m. when M. Small woke me up for a few minutes. But early on Monday morning, when the construction crew arrived, the door had snapped closed, and a pair of eyes were staring out at me from behind it. Black-ringed eyes, with a pointy nose under them. Pissed eyes.

This was a big ol' raccoon, not just a squirrel with stripes. I have absolutely no idea how that fat monster even found the room to turn around in there. The first thing I checked for was Phantom-colored fur scattered around the immediate area. There was none, but that beach towel was a goner. That raccoon must have gone through quite a bit of effort to get out of that trap, because by the time I found it, because there was more of the towel inside than outside.

So then I had to get the critter out of there. Just holding the door open wasn't going to cut it, because it had no intention of getting that close to me. I suppose I could have just brought the trap back to the Humane Society with the raccoon still inside, but we didn't have Phantom back yet and I didn't think they'd swap me for an empty one. So there was nothing for it but to reset the trap, so the raccoon could leave while I was a safe distance away.

So then I had to fiddle with the catch for a few minutes, with a towel-killing set of teeth and claws just inches from my fingers. Did you know that raccoons hiss when they're mad? Because they do.

So anyway, I reset the trap and went back up to the house, where I watched the raccoon lumber out of the cage and around behind the garage. Poor beast didn't even get any tuna -- it had been standing on top of the overturned can for hours.

So then I rebaited it, but it turned out to be moot, because Phantom came home that night. Walked right up onto the deck and let Trash pick her up.

Maybe she'd decided it's safer inside after she saw the raccoon.

posted by M. Giant 9:21 PM 4 comments

4 Comments:

What an adventure...

By Blogger Stephatto, at September 8, 2006 at 3:29 AM  

I guess the threat of rabies means that trumps my "chipmunk loose in the house" story. Shucks.

By Anonymous Leslie, at September 9, 2006 at 9:38 PM  

Ugh...I love raccoons, the little masked devils, but they are mean when they're cornered. I used to call for 'our' cat (who was feral despite my best efforts to make him my pet) and have our resident raccoons and their babies come up on my porch. Cute, but...dude, those things carry rabies....eeewwww!

Nowadays we've got skunks, possums and coyotes galore around here, and I keep thinking, "What I wouldn't give for a 30-pound, ring-tailed ball of fur". Grass is always greener, right?

PS... are you going to be recapping for TWOP soon? Which show(s)? I've always loved your recaps.

By Blogger Meepers, at September 10, 2006 at 9:16 PM  

I'm a country girl and raccoons were pretty common growing up. My sister, however, moved to Manhattan a couple of years ago, and was pretty shocked to find a raccoon in her kitchen one night, eating her bananas. Luckily, she was too asleep to be afraid, and when she yelled "Shoo!" angrily at it, it abandoned the bananas and scampered back out the window. Not quite what she'd expected from the city.

By Anonymous Becky, at September 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM  

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