Raccoons in the Roof Part IV

It’s been four years since we first heard eerie scratching and crunching above our heads at dusk and dawn only to learn a family of raccoons had taken up residence in our attic crawlspace.  Since that time, we and the raccoons have taken turns sealing and ripping up the grated vents which allowed the raccoons entry in the first place.

I’ll let you guess who did the sealing and who did the ripping up.

Here’s my first take on the experience – Shhh-What’s that noise?

Many of us in our little row of attached homes have bolted the grates in place in such a way that the raccoons no longer fight to get in. Others have been less fortunate. Take this poor guy at the end of the row near the rail tracks…

How about a closer look…

Cute. Kinda. As long as it’s in ‘someone else’s’ attic.

Yeah. There they are. Two here in the photo and one already on the ground after having slid, headfirst, down the drain pipe. They’re not the most graceful creatures, you know. The chubby one who landed first, landed with a thud after he let go of the drain pipe about two yards above the ground. Not sure what possessed him to do that.

One thing is for certain about these guys – they’re resilient. They come back year after year. Every late winter/early spring, the mamas are looking for a place to den. They fooled us a few years ago when we thought we’d outsmarted them. Here are my two updates on the subject –Update 1 and Update 2.

But the raccoons weren’t outsmarted. Certainly not by us mere humans. They just didn’t need the safety of our attics anymore that year.

So, last evening, I sat on my porch for about twenty minutes watching these guys scratch and stretch and chatter on about… I don’t know… maybe how to get down from the awning without leaving lumps on their noggins.

They’re really cute from afar. But they’re wild animals and that means we all have to remain diligent with our kids and our pets. I know first hand how vicious these raccoons can be since they attacked a stray kitten in my yard this time last year. I don’t want to call in professionals who will be forced to destroy these guys. They’re only doing what they’re supposed to do – sleeping during the day and foraging for food at night.

Yes, they’re a nuisance. Yes, they’re scary. And yes – the worst – they could be sick and most certainly have fleas.

Call me a bleeding heart. I just can’t see putting down animals simply because they disrupt our quiet summer nights by strolling through our yards in search of food. I do think the owners of the house where the raccoons are squatting should seal up the vents in a more raccoon-proof manner but the rest, I think, should be up to Mother Nature.

What say you? How would you handle a family of raccoons in your neck of the woods… or in your cement block of city, as the case may be…

16 Responses to Raccoons in the Roof Part IV

  • We had raccoons (and cats, which is a whole story by itself) in our attic a few years ago. I don’t remember how we made them leave, but they got into the attic of the guy across the street, and he killed them. We just couldn’t do it.

    Since, we’ve had some repair work done on our house so animals can’t get in the attic.

    I feel your pain. The disgusting part is that they’re probably also pottying in your attic.

    • You had cats in your attic?! As a shelter volunteer, I feel compelled to go back in time, rescue them and adopt them out to new families. lol. It’s a knee-jerk reaction. You’re right about them using the crawl space as their own latrine. I worried about that and about them falling through the ceiling. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and we’ve sealed things up so they can’t get in again. At least… I don’t think they can. :-/

  • We are finally dogless after over 12 years, not totally realizing that the dogs were protecting the fish in our pond (and the fish were also 12 years old). Two months after the dogs had passed on, the fish were eaten. Nothing left but shiny scales on the edges of the pond.

    Last night they ransacked the left over fish food and attacked the impenetrable storage box that has catfood in it.

    I’m thinking we may have to set traps, darn it! (As well as clear out the food supply.)

    • Oh no!! How awful! Those poor fish. What a way to go. You must have been heartbroken.

      We’ve been lucky here. So far the raccoons (this year) are just doing their own raccoon thing and snatching field mice and garbage scraps, so yes, definitely clear out that food supply. We can’t trap here unless we hire a professional. Well, we can trap but we’re not allowed to transport them so it’s really senseless for us to trap in the first place. And the pros have to kill them since there are still rabies associated with raccoons here. Until that’s been eradicated for a solid five years, that’ll be the city’s policy.

      Sad.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Well, here in our small (80,000) town of Alameda, California, for the last year we’ve had a rash of raccoon attacks on mostly dogs and the occasional humanoid. One woman was walking her two dogs and about six raccoons attacked her and her dogs and she had to have rabies shots! Another raccoon entered a house from the doggie door and attacked two large dogs! Yikes. They have no natural predators here in Alameda and they aren’t inclined to leave either because we’re a small island and they’d have to walk across a bridge! I think they’re here to stay.

    • Have any of those raccoons been trapped and tested for rabies? I know they’re aggressive but I thought it was only when they’re cornered. And they came in through the doggie door?! Now THAT is terrifying and would have me rethinking my ideas on Mother Nature taking her course.

      It does sound like they’re there to stay, though. Too bad authorities can’t drop fish pellets laced with some type of birth control so the raccoon population just grows old and dies out.

      • Hi, Deb–
        Those raccoons are so cute! I can’t believe they have to kill them if they capture them. Harsh!

        The only way to test for rabies is to destroy the animal and test the brain tissue for signs of the disease.

        • Hi Liz!

          Here in the city, they’re waiting for five full years without one case of rabies from raccoons before they’ll humanely trap and relocate them. I do understand because they don’t want to drop of a rabid raccoon into another raccoon colony but I don’t want to be responsible for putting these creatures down. Especially since I know (almost know) this colony is healthy. They can be aggressive though, and that does concern me. Still…

          Thanks so much for coming to my little place on the web. 🙂

  • I agree. They’re just doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I’d hate to see them destroyed. Even if they were in my attic. Although I’m glad they’re not. 🙂 I blogged about my recent experience with a raccoon a while back. If you’re interested, you can find it at: http://rhondahopkins.com/2011/03/04/my-home-a-wildlife-refuge/ Great post, Debbie!

    • Exactly. They’re behaving normally and trying to coexist with us. If they came around picking at my locks, I’d feel differently. lol. Thanks for the link to your blog post. I’m heading over there now!

      Who knew so many people had issues with raccoons?!

      Thanks for coming by, Rhonda!

  • You wouldn’t think something that cute could do so much damage! 🙂 We had a baby raccoon a few years ago who was afraid of the howling winds. Once the winds died down (it took a few days) he left. If he didn’t, we were able to find a wildlife sanctuary that agreed to come take him. Luckily the little guy left on his own.

    • The little ones look so innocent! How cute that the one you saw was afraid of the wind. I wish we had wildlife sanctuaries here that would take raccoons. I had to call a sanctuary for a wounded bird once and for an injured box turtle I found on the street. Maybe that’s the kind of work I should do when I retired. Work in a wildlife sanctuary. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Angelique!

  • I have a story idea about raccoons running around inside a house making people believe there are ghosts haunting the house. As a kid I loved seeing the raccoons- as an adult don’t think I’d want them in my house.

    • LOL! LOVE the story idea! And I agree – I wouldn’t want them in my house either. In the attic was bad enough. lol. No doggie doors in this house!

  • I love raccoons also. Every once in a while you’ll see a couple, probably a momma and babies, wandering around at night. They’re just trying to adapt, like so many other animals, after we’ve taken away their environment. We take away their homes and then we call them pests when they come into our neighborhoods.

    • Exactly, Donna! That’s a huge part of why I feel so protective of them. They’re trying to survive while their habitat is ripped out from under them. So far, the neighbors seem to feel the same way. Let’s hope nothing happens to change any minds.

      Thanks for coming by!

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