When you hear a sound in your walls for eight weeks, but see nothing, you start to think you’re a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
I haven’t talked much about my raccoon roommates lately. I just figured I’d let them do their thing until they got big enough to move on (as promised by at least two local wildlife groups.) But lately, they’ve become a little more nocturnal, waking me around one, and again around five AM, moving through the walls for at least an hour before they settle down. And it took a while but the dog has finally caught on, going nuts every time she hears scratching in the walls. It actually took her seeing the mother raccoon one night on the patio for her to make the connection.
So after nearly two months of cohabitation, because they’ve shown no signs of leaving on their own, today I have begun Project Exodus.
Step one was to evaluate the situation. I’d been warned how destructive raccoons can be. A little after noon today, I ventured into raccoon territory (aka attic and cubby hole) and discovered the damage isn’t bad at all. It seems they’ve designated one small area as their litter box. There are some chewed boxes and torn up insulation, but no damage at all in the attic, aside from the vent the mother comes in and out of.
I knew the mother would be out in the middle of the day, and hoped the babies would be with her. And when I say babies, I was thinking one or two at most, which seemed all that there could possibly be based on the sounds they made. Obviously, not the case. I snapped this photo of the well-behaved brood in their little nook beside my bedroom dresser. I was thrilled to finally see them, and how beautiful and healthy they look. And I was also glad to see how big they are, which makes me feel a little less guilty about what I’m about to do.
Apparently, there are three ways to try to convince a raccoon that your attic is not the Raccoon Ramada. One. Illuminate the space. For me this is easy. I have light fixtures in both areas where they’ve been living and just flicked them on thise evening as soon as it got dark. Two. Ammonia soaked rags. Raccoons are very clean and the smell of ammonia drives them crazy. They think it’s urine. Three. Blast the radio. Raccoons don’t like human voices. To help that along, I chose a country music station, though I think that will probably torture me more than them.
As I write this late at night, I hear the radio upstairs and I feel kind of bad, like I’m scaring children, terrorizing a family, turning them out into the cold cruel world. Then again, they haven’t left yet. Stay tuned…