Raccoons: Masked Bandits

Raccoons might look adorable but they are deceptive, sneaky marauders intent on wrecking havoc.
Raccoons have bullied their way into my summer kitchen ( Well in days gone past it was the summer kitchen. Now it is a combination garden shed, wood shed and thoroughfare WITH NO LESS THAN FOUR DOORS).  They climbed on top of boxes to reach the top of our stand-up freezer and literally demolished all of my youngest daughter's stored dry goods she is collecting for when she sets up house for the new university term. If something was in their way and not edible, they tossed it down.
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I scrubbed their muddy footprints, swept, vacuumed, picked up broken glass and hide the garbage can on the landing, behind a door, in the cellar because I was airing out the basement with all the windows and one door open. Well , last night they were back, undeterred. I heard a banging and weren't those masked bandits in the cellar, up the staircase and scrabbling under the door, tearing at the garbage bag. Then they had the nerve to push and shove against me on the other side of the door till I banged on the wood and frightened them.

Because we operated a small family farm with livestock as well as sprawling gardens, raccoons were and still are the bane of our existence. This phrase is probably a cliché but I simply cannot force myself to change the wording; it describes these pests perfectly. Their exploits are so extraordinary, that a city dweller might think I am exaggerating. However, every word is the unvarnished truth.

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An abbreviated mischief list:

  • We removed one small pane of glass in a window six feet above the ground to help ventilate our meat-bird barn. One morning we discovered 50 chicks missing with only a few feathers left. Only raccoons, with their sharp claws can climb that high and carry off chickens.
  • Raccoons love to pull down corn stalks, destroying the entire plant, to eat only the largest, sweetest corn cob.
  • At night, as raccoons gather to celebrate their corn feast, they make a loud, piercing sound that can only be described as a cross between a crying human infant and a screeching cat.
  • These thieves steal eggs, terrorizing the hens who make such a racket that one of the male members of our family runs out with a gun, no matter what the hour.
  • They are garbage specialists, opening lids, toppling garbage cans that should protect the green garbage bags from them. Raccoons are not content to simply eat the food waste, they delight in dragging trash all over the shed.
  • Mother raccoons hide their young in hay barns. Accidentally stumble upon her and she turns vicious. One huge, enraged mama raccoon chased one of our sons out of the barn, causing him to scream,

“It’s a bear. There’s a huge bear in the hay barn coming after me!”

He was terrified.

 

  • One afternoon, our wonderful guard dog chased three raccoons up a hydro pole. One blew the transformer, electrocuting himself, as he tried to climb down later that night. He died instantly and cut off our electricity. We need power to even use water or flush the toilet because we run our own pumps in three separate wells.

The electrical crew, who had arrived in a long cherry picker, argued whether they really wanted to go up and rescue the remaining two raccoons.

“Do you want to go up there George?”
“Who me? No way. Why don’t you do it Harry?”
“No way”

They turned to me and stated,

“Tell you what. We’ll turn your power on and just come back tomorrow after they blow the transformer again.”

David, my son, decided to simply open his upstairs bedroom window, aim carefully and take the raccoons out of their misery. The power stayed on.

The only good thing I can say about raccoons is that they did clean our property as they scoured the yard every night for any tidbits of food dropped by our kids.

our children 

The Joy of Mothering
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