Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Houston, we have a frickin' PROBLEM

Ok, the whole wildlife sanctuary thing may have been a little funny in the beginning, but NOT ANYMORE.  Last night, I thought... I don't even know what I thought.  I was scared.  A frickin' raccoon was outside our front window.  Jude about had a blessed heart attack!!  That cat has some mad cheetah instincts, I tell you!  He was making sounds that I have never heard him make before.  He was in the front bay window and the curtains were pulled closed.  I was scared to open them for fear I might startle him and get attacked.  The weather is supposed to be GREAT this week and I want to take the girls outside.  I don't want J to get attacked by a scared raccoon living in/under our shed.  I was looking on the Web for suggestions because all anyone will tell me when I ask for serious help or advise it to grab a bat.  Sorry, bludgeoning a scared (albeit annoying) animal to death is not my style.  I also can't go the live trap route because then I'm stuck with a GD trapped live animal!  So, to the internets I go!  Here is what he told me:

Check your property regularly to make sure that screens barring entrance into your home, basement or crawlspace is intact. Lock dog and cat doors at night and place ammonia stations in front of the locked door. Regular household ammonia stations can be placed around your yard in the areas frequented by raccoons. Take a shallow dish or bowl, place a rag in it and pour ammonia over the rag until completely saturated. Place enough ammonia in the dish so the rag will continue to wick the ammonia up through the night. Avoid lawn areas, as ammonia will burn grass.

If a raccoon should establish himself under your house, place a radio near his nesting place and keep it on loud during the day. That wouldn't be annoying to the neighbors in the least bit! Locate all entrances and exits. Block them off except for one and use repellents or frightening strategies to encourage the raccoon to leave. To be certain the animal has departed, sprinkle flour at the exit and watch for footprints that lead away from the opening. When the raccoon leaves to begin his nightly hunting (usually two hours after sunset) block the remaining entrance. I'm going to look like a flippin' idiot.  People will surely talk.  What's that, you ask?  OF COURSE I will document the whole process! Duh.

The only long-term, permanent means of coping with troublesome opossums is to exclude them from areas where you do not want them. Opossums are wanderers, and if you see one in your yard, he is probably just passing through.  They favor dens on the ground, which can lead them to take up residence under decks and in crawlspaces. While female opossums spend their lives in more defined areas, the male opossum may wander continuously.

When confronted, opossums often bare their teeth and hiss. While they may look fierce, they generally are non-aggressive and shy. Rather than fight, when hard pressed they will sometimes slip into the death-feigning catatonia that we term "playing possum." The animal's system reacts automatically, throwing the brain and nervous system into a catatonic state that lowers their heartbeat and respiration. Oh, please let THIS happen to me...

Hand-sized motion detectors (usually combined with bright lights) and alarms, intended for indoor use, can be used in crawlspaces or, with proper protection from the weather, in some outdoor situations.  When an opossum is known to be denning under a porch or patio, place a radio near where the opossum is nesting and keep it on loud during the day. Seriously, no OTHER options?? When the animal leaves for her nightly foray (two hours after dark is generally a safe time), locate all entrances and exits, blocking all except one. Loosely close this last opening with netting, straw or another fibrous material than an animal trapped inside can push away, but one on the outside will be less likely to disturb to get back in. To be certain the animal has left, sprinkle flour (good grief) at the exit and watch for footprints that lead away from the opening. When you are sure the opossum is gone, securely close the opening.

So, that is where I stand right now.  Heaven help me...

5 comments:

Dollface said...

omg.. there is a raccoon?? Ok just be calm and keep the girls as far away as possible!! Hope it all works out well, xxxooo

Tia said...

I know this won't help, but last summer, when Chris was out of town, a raccoon climed down our fireplace and left footprints all over my kitchen. I never saw him but imagine my surprise when I came down the next morning to footprints everwhere. OMG. I about had a heart attack. Needless to say, we have since recapped our fireplace. Hope you get rid of the little booger soon!

Shannon said...

OH MY GOSH! Now I'm scared for THAT to happen!

Gramma J said...

I suggest you have Ron over for supper...have him bring his pellet gun and put him in a lawn chair on the patio at dusk.
(omg!! Tia, that is outrageous! I freaked when I had a frog in my basement! Shannon is going to be boarding up her fireplaes now!)

Laura said...

Ask Dalen to come over, then you and the girls take a nice long walk around the block. When you get back, the Wildlife Sactuary will be closed!