Granny’s Playground

Well, it’s not bad enough that I’m so excited I’m not getting much sleep, what with lists and plans charging through my head all night, but now the neighbourhood raccoons have decided that my roof deck, right outside my bedroom , is their favourite playground.

Two nights ago, I got up to peer out the screen door to see what the racket was. There was Big Momma raccoon with her 4 babies – not so small anymore – and Momma was watching indulgently as the kids used my deck chair as a trampoline/slide combo. The sprung steel frame bounces satisfyingly, and apparently thrillingly to juvenile raccoons. But when it bounces, it hops across the deck, making clangs, bangs and scraping sounds. So it was chase each other up the chair, bounce around and tussle for as long as it took to be forced to slide down or fall off. Then repeat . . . . and repeat . . . . and repeat!!

This went on for well over 2 hours.

I watched for a while since it really was pretty entertaining despite sounding as if there was demolition going on out there. I tried to chase them away, first by banging on the metal part of the screen door, which they all ignored, then I opened the door and made shooing sounds, but at that point Big Momma turned around and gave me a look that made it plain that she would not accept me coming any closer to her babies.

Last night they were back, but this time just the 4 kids. Momma must have thought they were big enough to go out by themselves, I guess. They played trampoline for a short while, but soon found a new game. They’d chase each other around, ganging up, trying to force each other into the large copper bowl I have out there to catch the rainwater from the Japanese rain chain. It was full of water, and they were racketing around, splashing, grunting, growling, rolling on the ground and just generally having a wonderful time. And of course keeping me awake again.

This time I had put a baited raccoon trap out there. Those guys are cute as blazes when they’re little, but incredibly destructive as they get older, not to mention vicious. And if they decide to make your house their home, it can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get them out and repair their damage.

I went back to sleep last night, and woke up to find that the trap was sprung, and one little raccoon was inside (well, not so little – he must have been 15 lbs already). The other three were still loyally keeping him company even though the sun was up and they should have been in bed, asleep.

All four of them were diligently trying to dig him out of the trap, too. You should see my garden!! It has a huge crater in it from all the excavating around and under the trap. The guy in the trap had pulled all the dirt and plant matter under him into the trap, so that, since he was too big and heavy to pick up and shake, there was a trail of dirt and gravel, flowers and grass, laying itself down on my floors as my tenant, Jake, carried the trapped raccoon for me across the bedroom, down the stairs and through the living room and kitchen.

I popped the trap and contents into the trunk of the car, which I had previously prepared with several layers of really heavy cardboard. Those guys have long razor-sharp claws and will shred anything they can get their little paws on.

I drove him down to Cherry Beach, which I call Raccoon Heaven. Lots of tall, mature trees, water, garbage cans and a chip truck. What more could any city raccoon want?

I shook him out of the trap, and he ran up a nearby tree. When he was safely off the ground, he stopped and just sat there and looked at me with these sad little orphan eyes. Never mind what he and his siblings had done to my property – it was me that felt like the villain in the story.

I shooed him further up the tree until he was safely sitting on a branch that would do for sleeping.

Now I’m wondering if I’ll have a repeat tonight and he’ll be joined by one of his nest-mates tomorrow.

I’ll let you know.


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