Sunday, July 30, 2017
Lee Pitts: Raccoon Relocation Project
The average cartoon watching child in this country has been led to believe that the raccoon is a polite, intelligent, highly hygienic member of the animal kingdom. Well, I am here to tell you that pound for pound raccoons are the most devious, cunning and disgusting creatures on earth.
What Rocky Raccoon and Ranger Rick failed to convey to the kids is that raccoons tip over trash cans, walk in wet cement, dig up gardens and have been known to kill small dogs. For three months now I have been trying to keep them from digging for earthworms in my newly planted lawn.
I must admit that I first tried poison but I soon discovered that any poison that would give a field mouse a mild belly ache has been taken off the market. All I succeeded in doing in putting out poisoned grain was to attract four more families of coons. I could have tried to shoot the masked bandits but they work after business hours and I didn't feel like staying up all night every night. Besides, I had more compassion than that.
So I borrowed a "Warm and Fuzzy, Humane, Safe and Easy Wild Animal Trap" from a neighboring rancher. They are so named because they take into consideration the welfare of the animal. And you don't have to feel guilty about using the Humane Trap because you won't catch anything anyway.
Oh, that's not quite true. The first night I loaded up the trap with the recommended bait. Dog food. Sure enough I caught the neighbor's dog. The second night I switched to cat food and caught a cat. I quickly learned that the secret to using the trap was to stay up until all the other animals had gone to bed for the night and then put it out. This required staying up till two in the morning.
For weeks I was foiled by the coons. I would wake early and rush to the window to see if we had caught any of the pests who were destroying my lawn. And every morning the results were the same. The bait would be gone, there would be several new holes in my lawn and the trap would be empty. The escape artists knew how to use the trap better than I did.
You can imagine the excitement in our house the morning we thought we caught our first Houdini of the night. The elation was short lived however because it turned out to be a Red Fox who just happened to be in a very bad mood after having spent the night in cramped quarters and getting showered periodically by my automatic lawn sprinklers.