|Thanks to Arleen at Starting Over, Accepting Changes-Maybe|
When we first moved into our home, we were greeted by short, bandit wearing neighborhood scavengers. These uninvited guests quickly turned into permanent residents who took refuge under our deck. We called animal control to relocate the raccoons, but every time they trapped one in a cage, another one came to take his place.
Next a handyman installed chicken wire under the deck, but the raccoons managed to tear through it. Soon a family of four had moved in, and were often seen walking outside our patio door. Things only got worse when I would hear them playing on our roof late at night. Before I could figure out what
was causing the noise, the mama raccoon peered at me through the skylight. She smiled as if to say, "What are you gonna do about it?"
The animal warden came out again, and told us that even when they release them into the wild, they usually come back anyway. This was reassuring, but like everything else we decided to take a wait and see approach. As our kids, and raccoon's grandchildren went through puberty relatively unscathed, we continued to coexist together. I was waiting for one of them to come down the chimney, but my husband didn't seem to mind until a recent chance encounter.
While he was watering our flowers in the backyard, he noticed an unusually large rock. When it awoke, he almost came face to face with one of our house guests. The raccoon didn't like being disturbed, and quickly stormed off. Fortunately, it rained the next day, so there wasn't another bully confrontation on the playground.
A few days later, I noticed something moving while we were watching TV. We were in the same room off of the deck, where the raccoons usually went on their evening stroll. I stood up when I realized it was a mouse. My husband chased it around the room, as I jumped around pointing, while clinging on to my trusty Swiffer Sweeper. Eventually, my younger son came home to help us evict the mouse. When my husband trapped him in a plastic container, I reminded him how mice often come back. He and my son had a good laugh, as they guided him out the kitchen door. A second later, as he ran back into the kitchen, I tossed my boy the Swiffer, and he blocked it like a hockey goal.
The next day, his sibling was found in the same location behind the TV. My brave son chased him out the door, and this one didn't look back. The pest control service came out within half an hour, and apologized for being late. He found an opening in the basement, and sealed the area to prevent more mice from coming in. When he was surveying the deck, he noticed our raccoons. The exterminator warned me that raccoons carried ticks which could possibly get into our home. This was all my husband needed to hear.
He immediately started researching humane wildlife removal services, when he came across one that offered a ten year guarantee. Traps were set, and two men started digging under our deck. They surrounded it with steel that was "guaranteed to last." We had mouse traps in the house, and raccoon traps on the deck. The house was still. No more bowling matches on the roof, or indoor hide and seek games.
When the man came to remove the empty cages, he noticed that the bait was gone. The raccoons had the last laugh, by pulling out all but one marshmallow from the trap. I still don't think we've seen the last of them. They probably just went for a long, summer camping trip, or else they've just moved the party into our attic. After living with the raccoons for all of these years, a pair of mice might have finally driven them out. In the meantime, we still have to be on the lookout for moving rocks.