A Little Advice

The best advice I could give to anyone is this: if you find a raccoon in your attic, call a professional.  Last month, we started hearing what sounded like scratching and chewing coming from outer wall.  It worried us a little bit, but we only heard it a couple of times so we gullibly let ourselves believe it was just the air conditioning making funny sounds and that we would call someone about it if it got any worse. That means that for three weeks, damage was being done that we still haven’t seen (hint: DON’T IGNORE THE SOUNDS!!)

Last week while we were outside on the porch, a louver from the attic vent came loose and fell out onto the deck.  No one was hurt but it definitely scared us all! We experienced a similar shock when my husband, Ben, climbed up on a ladder to replace the louver, yelped, and dropped it back on the deck (needless to say we had to buy a new louver). When he leaned in the hole, he came face to face with a very angry raccoon; we decided it was best if we waited until AFTER the raccoon had left at night before we tried to reattach the louver again.

That night at about 9 o’clock after we saw the raccoon leave, Ben reinstalled the louver and we called it a night.  The next morning we discovered an absolute disaster outside.  The raccoon had crawled around the entire house and clawed at the vents, the soffit, anything that would reach the attic until it finally got back in by tearing off another vent. We think that she has babies inside and that’s why she was so aggressive about getting back in, and that would also explain the sounds in the walls.  Anyway, we are having someone come out and look at the attic and hopefully the problem will be resolved soon; but again, if you find a raccoon in your attic, just call in the professionals.

Like Moths to a Flame

I don’t know what it is about it, but wild animals are attracted to my garage.  I’m serious!  I’m more accustomed to walking into the garage and finding a random animal than not.  Usually they’re just one time sights and then they’re gone, but occasionally the animal (whatever species) will stick around for a while.  There have only been two times where we had to call a wildlife specialist in to remove them, however.  The first time was a squirrel nest about five winters ago.  They crawled in through a hole where the wall met the roof and began nesting on top of the fuse box.  We thought they were just coming in from the cold for a couple of days but soon we discovered they had actually had babies!  We ended up having to wait a couple of months when the little ones were mobile and would be able to survive outside of the nest before a professional came and removed them; that was an adventure.

While the squirrels were frustrating (mother squirrels are very defensive!), that was nothing compared to the raccoons.  It was summer time about two years ago, I still to this day do not know how they got in but one night I came home from work to see one full grown raccoon staring at me as my garage door opened.  I pulled in hoping it would run out the door but instead it scrambled up to the top of our storage shelves.  Again, I left it alone hoping it would be gone by morning. Instead, the next day I woke up to find my car covered in dirty paw prints and to see several of our storage boxes knocked over and opened.  This happened every night for about two weeks before we could get someone to come out and get rid of them.

In between the squirrels, the raccoons, and now, we’ve had a few other interesting run in’s; these, however, were just small.  Not long after we first moved in, my husband went into the garage for a bike pump and got sprayed by a skunk that had wandered in the night before (that was a bad day).  A couple of months ago my daughter found a bat hanging from the roof, not long before that we had a robin sleeping on the garage door runners, and just last week we had an actual deer sleeping on the dog bed! Along with a few other random encounters and a mice problem a few years back, I can’t figure out what animals are so attracted to in my garage!  I guess it’s a mystery we’ll never solve.

Birds Eye

We have two birds in our attic, I’m not exactly sure how they got in there or what kind of birds they are but they’ve been there for about 5 days.  My husband was hanging up new Christmas lights when he found a large hole left by a woodpecker in the siding of our house.  When he went into the attic to patch it, he was met by a lot of flapping wings and screeching from the birds he startled (and that startled him).  Since then we have only been opening the door and not going inside, we don’t want the birds to hurt themselves from flying erratically and we also don’t want them to attack us.

We went to Amazon and ordered a bird cage to try and trap them, thanks to Prime we were able to get it in just a couple of days and set it up right inside of the doorway baited with some bird seed. The only problem is that it’s been a few days since then and we haven’t had any luck? As far as I can tell they don’t have any access to food or water inside of the attic and we haven’t seen them coming in and out of the woodpecker hole? Either they have a different entrance than the hole that we found or they’re starving up there.

I am really worried about the situation; I don’t want the birds to die up there but I also don’t want them living there!  I’ve read a lot online about bird mites and different contaminants in their poop (depending on the species – which I still don’t know!) and it’s really starting to freak me out.  I’m not sure how long we should keep trying to catch them ourselves before we need to bring in a professional. We already tried calling the local animal control and they told us this wasn’t there kind of job, what does that even mean!  I guess until we figure it out, we’re just stuck with two birds in our attic. Yippee!

Storage Wars

Apparently, earlier this year a family of squirrel started living in my storage shed.  I’m not exactly sure when they moved in, but it had to have been late spring after I had traded out my winter gear for my summer gear, because I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary then. But, late last month when I finally went to pull out the snow gear, I started noticing little oddities here and there. The biggest thing that I noticed was the hundreds of apples all dried up and tucked into corners and shelves, anywhere that they would stay! That was my clue that an animal had moved in

A few years back I had a bat problem in my attic, so I already had the number of a local wildlife guy and he was able to come take a look.  When I had told him about the apples on the phone, he had made the speculation that it was a squirrel and when he came by for an inspection, he decided that it wasn’t just one squirrel, but most likely a family. His guess was that they had started storing food earlier in the year and then in late September or so had built a nest and had a couple of babies.  By that time they would have been almost ready to go out on their own if they hadn’t already.  The solution was simple, set out traps for the squirrels and wait.

He set about 5 traps in various spots in the shed that were fairly visible so I could check them every day and also showed me how to rebait them for every few days.  We took a chance and baited the traps with apples, which ended up working out wonderfully!  We removed 4 squirrels from the shed within a week and a half, they had dragged in some old cushion and padding from somewhere and built themselves a nest on top of my snowshoes!  Luckily, they didn’t cause any damage to anything in the shed and we were able to get rid of them fairly quickly and easily.  All in all it was a simple fix and now I’m not sharing my space with anyone!


My already bad raccoon problem, just got worse.  Earlier this week I started hearing odd sounds from my chimney like scuffling, thumps, and the occasional chirping sound.  The chirping almost made me think it was a bird, but it was a more throaty sound than any birds around my house would make, not to mention the thumps and bumps were far larger than a bird. At first I had thought it was a squirrel because anything larger seemed unrealistic considering that we live in just inside of the city, but I was wrong about that one.

To give you a little background for this story, I had just recently purchased a new iPhone 7 (an upgrade from my 5s that I thought was well deserved). Taking precaution, I also bought AppleCare just in case anything happened to it, and good thing too.  Yesterday after having an unsuccessful google session trying to figure out what was in my chimney, I decided the best thing to do was take a peek.  I flipped the flashlight from my phone on, shimmied my way into the fireplace, and held my phone up to the crack in the damper. My light was met by two large, curious eyes; I jumped a little bit but stayed where I was.  He was pretty cute, he had little black ears and tilted his head towards me, seemingly not afraid of me!  Then I did the dumbest thing in the world, I held my phone up closer towards him and  SNATCH!! Just like that he reached down, grabbed my phone out of my hands, and pulled it through the damper!

Just like that, my brand new phone was gone and I was in awe.  It wasn’t until his little face peeked back through the crack that what happened registered and I got angry.  I’m not proud to admit it but I hollered at the raccoon and punched the damper – which did absolutely nothing to help the situation.  Now I’m here a day later using my very old Android and waiting on a trapper I found online to come pull the raccoon out of the chimney and hopefully recover my phone.  This is honestly the craziest thing that has happened to me; all I know is if you have something in your chimney KEEP YOUR IPHONE AWAY FROM IT!!

Santa Claus is coming to Town

There are raccoons in my chimney, no doubt about it.  You can hear them every night, running across the roof and then you can hear them crawl down into the chimney and hit the damper.  If you put your head in the fireplace, you can hear them scuffle around, too.  Obviously this situation itself isn’t ideal especially since it’s cold and I would like to use my fireplace without the fear of accidentally cooking a live animal rotisserie style but the other problem is my son.

He turned 10 this year and my wife and I decided that it was time to tell him the truth about Santa Claus.  Two weeks ago after he made a comment about what Santa was bringing him for Christmas, we sat him down and started to explain the truth. With tears in his eyes he started to ask the heart wrenching question, “So Santa isn’t real?”  I’m not kidding when I say right at that moment we heard little footsteps dance across the roof. My sons eyes lit up, first with excitement and then with anger as he pointed his finger at my wife and I and blatantly accused us of lying to him because “Santa’s reindeer were here right now checking to see that he was in bed”, he followed that statement off by storming upstairs so he wouldn’t be caught out of bed past bedtime and would remain on Santa’s good list.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the do-good attitude that the Santa myth instills in him, but I don’t want the truth coming from anyone other than my wife and I.  The problem is that with these raccoons in the chimney he thinks every night Santa’s reindeer drop off an elf that crawls into the chimney to check up on him; so until we get rid of the raccoons, we can’t solve this problem.  We want to have this taken care of before Christmas so that we can finally start a fire and we can move past the Santa idea.

What Goes Bump in the Night

I’m afraid we have squirrels in the attic, and my eleven year old daughter is afraid we have ghosts. Earlier this month I sent her up to the attic to start pulling down some of the Christmas things, and I guess while she was up there she heard something bumping and rustling around behind some of the boxes.  Just like any one from my bloodline would have, she ran downstairs crying and jumped into my arms only to report that our house was in fact haunted. To my horror my 6 year old overheard that and quickly started to cry as well. They both have requested that we either move or have the house “cleansed”; now I know my youngest daughter is only copying her sister but I have no idea where they learned that term but I would go so far as to blame it on my little brother (he likes to tell them ghost stories).

Despite the fact that Halloween is long over, I can’t convince either of them that there aren’t any ghosts in our house. And it doesn’t help that whatever animals are up there like to make noise right around bed time; let’s just say I’ve spent the last three nights squeezing into my bed with two extra sleepers.  I’ve had my husband look around and he definitely thinks that squirrels are the problem animals, we found some pine needles, sticks, grass, and other nesting materials burrowed into some of the insulation and that’s what we’re drawing our conclusion from.

Needless to say, we need some help and NOT from an exorcist or a ghostbuster.  We think we’ve found where they’re getting into the attic from – there’s a small hole that has opened up in the soffit right alongside of the chimney and it looks like it’s being used frequently. I really do need to rid of these things as soon as I can.  It’s bad enough that my brother won’t stop filling their heads with nonsense but now the squirrels in the attic, it’s almost validating all of his stories!  For the sake of my kids’ sleep and my sanity, I really need someone to get rid of these squirrels.

Little Drummer Boy

One thing I am sure I didn’t ask for from Santa for Christmas this year, was a woodpecker problem.  I know I wasn’t good all the time, but I didn’t do anything that would put me on the naughty list!  Okay, so maybe I can’t blame it on the big guy but I’ve got a real issue on my hands that I don’t exactly know what to do with! I’ve had mice before, but that’s obviously a very different problem and it had a much simpler solution; I can’t exactly set a trap for a woodpecker now can I!

I don’t know how long it has been happening either, which sounds crazy but my husband and I both work crazy hours so I guess it’s just been making it’s noise while we were gone. That or we’ve just been so distracted by the holiday season that we’ve ignored it which is an entirely plausible scenario.  But actually the seasonal decorating is what brought the woodpecker problem to our attention.  While he was hanging up the Christmas lights, my husband noticed some holes in the side of our home; at first he attributed them to knots in the wood but after seeing more than 5 he decided that that probably wasn’t the case and we started to do a little digging.

Did you know that it’s illegal to kill or trap woodpeckers? Yeah, like I said much different than a mouse problem.  We’ve looked up a couple of DIY home solutions but I’m honestly worried about them working and with Christmas only a couple of weeks away I can’t deal with that.  My parents and in-laws would not be happy if they woke up to the banging of what sounded like a tiny drum outside of their rooms.  All I know is I have to get this woodpecker problem fixed as soon as possible so I can keep my stress levels low and the festivities high!

What’s in the Air Duct?

There’s an animal in the air duct of my home, I’m not exactly sure what animal(s) it is though. A few years back we had some problems with mice in the walls of our home and of course occasionally our cats would bring a mouse in alive, but with a little bit of poison it took care of it! I set out some of the same stuff this time but whatever the animal is, it’s still clunking around up there.  Not to mention, the sounds that it makes are almost definitely from an animal larger than a mouse.

Since the house backs up to a forest-like area, wildlife is common around the yard, and since it’s happening on the lower level of the house, it’s possible that it’s a skunk, right?  Now that I think about it, the other night I heard it walk from one end of the vent to the other and I could smell the slight distinction of skunk.  But that wouldn’t make much sense, no matter how close the outside of my house is to the ground, the venting isn’t low enough for a skunk to climb into it; at least not any skunk that I’ve seen,

Okay this shouldn’t be too hard to figure out, if it’s not skunks or mice it could be squirrels? Raccoon’s maybe? Actually, raccoons would make sense, I usually only hear sounds at night and I can tell that they’re leaving the air vents and then coming back later.  I was thinking about just closing off the vent they’re using to get in when I hear them leave at night but I guess if the animal in the air duct is a raccoon then it’s entirely possible that it has babies inside right? This is definitely something I’ll need a second opinion on.