What’s Living in the Attic?

There are raccoons in the attic of our rental home.  My family has lived here for about 7 weeks now, but before that it sat empty for 2 years; I think they probably started nesting here during that time.  The first 3-4 weeks we didn’t even notice them because of all the racket we were making trying to get settled in, but after that we started to hear sounds almost every night and we started to suspect that we weren’t the only renters in the house.

It started as just small thumps from the ceiling, and at first I just attributed it to the new heating system, I figured everything was still adjusting.  Then we started to hear scraping and thumps in the walls and the sounds of baby animals whining and calling out to their mother.  That’s when we figured out who our house guests were.  Obviously we couldn’t call anyone in to confirm our suspicions until our landlord approved it, unless we wanted to pay for the inspection out of pocket; so we called him and let him know what was going on.  He told us he would take care of it and set out some live traps hoping to catch the raccoons himself, but no luck. We suggested that he call a professional Wildlife Removal Technician, but he wanted to try everything else first; so, we waited.

It wasn’t all that bad, we knew that the landlord would take care of any damages caused by the animals so that didn’t bother us.  The problem was, my daughters were terrified of the sounds they would hear at night.  They’re 6 and 8, so their imaginations are vast and even though they knew what the animals were, they were so afraid that they were trying to eat them while they slept.  Cue sharing a bed with my kids for two weeks. BUT, last night my landlord called and told me I could call in the big guns, so there’s an inspection scheduled for later this afternoon and hopefully the raccoons in the attic will be long gone by the end of the week!

Night Raid

So we’ve had raccoons in our yard for about a long time now.  We live in a bit of a rural area so this isn’t a new thing to us, but what is new is my dog: Minnie.  She’s a toy Australian Shepherd that my husband surprised me with on Christmas last year.  I absolutely adore her but we’ve never had a small dog before; in fact we have only ever owned full size Labradors.  He bought her for me when I casually mentioned how fun it would be to have a little lap dog to cuddle with when he’s deployed.  Well he’s a better listener than I guess I gave him credit for because there she was, with a bow on her head under the tree just a few months later.

The only real problem with having a tiny dog like her in a place like here is all the other animals that she has to compete with.  She’s only about 10 pounds so most of them outweigh her greatly; usually we don’t have a problem with any of them, except the raccoons in the yard.  It’s not like she attacks them or anything either, in fact she’s terrified of them! They attacked her when she was very young and she’s been careful of them since, but since she won’t fight back they definitely pick on her.  I’ve had to scan the yard with a flashlight every time she wants to go outside at night for months!  It’s absolutely ridiculous, but I love my dog too much to leave her to her own devices.

Now last night was the same routine, Minnie scratches at the door around 1 am, I scan the yard for any reflection of the raccoon’s eyes, and then I let her out.  I must have been very tired because I missed them last night and not long after I shut the door I heard my little dog crying for help.  I ran outside barefoot in little more than a nightgown and robe to save my Minnie! Two of them had attacked her and while they hadn’t done serious damage, I still had to take her to get sewed up this morning as soon as her vet’s office opened up.  I have had enough of this.  I know I should let her learn to defend herself but I’m not just going to stand by!  I’m going to finally take care of these raccoons in my yard one way or another!

Legion of the Undead

My landlord is a vampire.  There’s no other reason he would ignore so many bats in the walls for so long; they must be his relatives.  But seriously, we have been renting this house for two years with an ongoing bat problem and have still received NO help from Mr. Dracula whatsoever. How could anyone in their right mind let people live like this!  We’ve complained and called and asked for help countless times, but he will either ignore the calls, the question, or just us completely! I don’t know how to deal with it anymore, it’s worse than it has ever been and our landlord is much farther than “a phone call away”!

They’re in the walls on both sides of the house, and I’m pretty sure they come in and out from the air vents, but I read somewhere that they need just a ¼ of an inch to get inside so I guess it could be anywhere.  You can hear them leave the house at night, and it can be terrifying when you aren’t used to it.  There’s screeching and fluttering and it lasts for a good 10-15 minutes and then in a couple of hours as they all come back it happens again!  In the morning the front step will be covered in bat guano and we’ve even found dead bats in the past. Not to mention that you can smell them from the inside of the house (the chimney is the worst).

I know you’re probably wondering why we haven’t just moved yet, found a different house or even an apartment; why would we live in a bat cave?  Trust me, we are looking for houses and are planning to leave the second our lease is up, but we really don’t want to leave this for the next family.  I have three kids that are terrified by the bats in the house and will sometimes go stay at grandmas to get away from it; I’m even scared by the problem.  I’m hoping I can make the overlord, excuse me, LANDlord address the problem before it becomes someone else’s. No one deserves to sign up for Dracula’s army unknowingly.

Gone Postal

I’ve been a mailman for about thirty years now, and boy let me tell you about some of the things you see.  And it’s not just the people, either!  I’ve seen my fair share of home drama, yelling, throwing lamps, and storm outs; but it’s the encounters with animals that I’ll never forget. At this point I’m surprised they don’t train you in animal control as well as package identification!  Beyond dogs and cats, I’ve seen raccoons, bats, mice, and a load of other wild animals.

The most common ones (for me at least) are the snakes, especially during the hotter months.  They’ll lay themselves out on sidewalks, driveways, and even porches.  When I was a Boy Scout I learned to identify most of the snakes in my area, so I can always tell whether or not they’re poisonous, but the people inside the house aren’t as capable.  Once, when I was delivering a package that needed a signature, a big ol’ bull snake was out sunning himself on the porch.  Well when the young miss from the house opened the door and got a look at him, she screamed so loud I just about dropped the package, then she fell unconscious right in front of me!

Another time, I was trying to deliver quite a large package but no one was answering the door so I opened the screen to leave a note with the date and time I came and a bat flew down and hit me square in the head!  I guess it had been sleeping between the screen door and the front door and I had woken it up with my door bell ringing.  I even got sprayed by a skunk once!  I was walking down the steps after dropping off some mail and out of nowhere (but actually from under the stairs), a skunk sprayed everywhere.  I guess I had spooked it from stomping around, who knows?  All I know is after all of these years, I definitely consider myself a well-rounded expert on both mail delivery, and wildlife.

Too Good to be True

You know that feeling when you find the perfect house, fully furnished and no problems? Yeah, neither do I; but I almost knew what that felt like, I came really, really close.  My husband and I were shopping for our first house together between the things we wanted and our budget, it was hard to do.  So, when we found a house that had practically everything on our wish list, we were all in! The thing is, we didn’t realize that we were buying a pigeon problem along with it.

We called the realtor to tell her we were interested then asked if the house had already been inspected, she said the house had been on the market for a while and would probably need to have a new one done. So, we called an inspector and had him go look at the house.  Everything looked good to him; well ALMOST everything, if you don’t count the 79 dead pigeons and poop that covered the attic from wall to wall!  When he called and told us I was in absolute disbelief, not to mention how disgusted I was at the idea of such an extreme pigeon problem!  I wanted to blame the owner but considering that it was a widowed man that had been moved into an assisted living facility that seemed a like a little much.

The problem is that we still love the house.  It’s just outside of our preferred neighborhood, it’s not far from either my husband or my job, and it is a great looking house.  The problem is, I don’t know if we can afford the down payment AND a clean-up service, especially because I know it will be a big project that will push back our move in date – which means another month’s rent we don’t have.  So like I said, I almost experienced that wonderful feeling of everything going right, but not quite.  I’ll let you know after we deal with this pigeon problem, though.

Shelter from the Storm

We’ve got a problem, a big raccoon problem! This winter has been a particularly cold one, and not just for people it seems.  Now I would have guessed I had a squirrel problem or even a beaver problem before I said raccoons, I didn’t know they chewed on things! Well I mean I figured they chewed things, but not like this.  I mean, it’s not just a couple of bite marks here and there, they chewed a hole through the back wall of our wood shed.  It looks like they’ve been hiding out in there all winter.

They aren’t afraid of us at all, either.  That’s what worries me the most.  My daughters have a play set out back that they love but I’m so worried that something will happen with the raccoons that I’ve stopped letting them go back there without my husband or I.  I’m not kidding when I say they will walk right up to you, and the past couple of nights they’ve came up to the back porch and started scratching at the glass door trying to get into the kitchen! Not to mention that they are breaking into our garbage cans regularly and scattering trash all over.

This raccoon problem is getting too out of hand; I am worried out of my mind about my kids, I’m scared to go outside, and I don’t know how long they’ll be there!  We need some serious help ASAP. I’ve called animal control and they were absolutely no help, and the local humane society doesn’t want to do anything either! I am seriously freaking out about this, I just need to get rid of these raccoons, please!

A Skunk Load of Problems

We have skunks in our yard, I don’t know where they came from but they’re always there.  There was a time for about three of the four years that we’ve lived here that I couldn’t go less than a week without seeing a skunk in close proximity to the house.  We’ve had to go out of our way to keep our black lab inside when possible and watch him closely when he’s outside.  He is a big dog, he wants to be outside ALL THE TIME.  And even though he’d already been sprayed twice, he still chased the skunks when he sees them.

Last year was the worst of our skunk problems; they dug a hole under our deck and began to live there.  Luckily there was never an incident where they sprayed under the house, but you could definitely detect the skunk odor when you were outside and in the front room. Eventually it went away and for a while there was a bit of a rotting smell, but soon after it dissipated and we assumed that one of the skunks had died and the others had evacuated the hole under the deck.  We were kind of hoping that that would be the end of the problem.

Obviously, we were wrong.  For about six to seven months the coast was clear and everything was normal, but earlier this week we started to smell skunk in our yard again.  We prayed that it was just a fluke thing, that one had just passed through the neighborhood and nothing more would come of it.  Well last night as I took the trash out a skunk crossed my path.  Right there, in the middle of the driveway it fluffed up its tail, hissed, stared at me for a moment, and then trotted away.  I don’t want to risk having them under the porch again, someone help!


I have always been sensitive to loud and repetitive sounds, my ears aren’t sensitive or anything, they just drive me up the wall.  Pen clicking, slurping, tapping, you name it and I probably can’t stand it.  Now I don’t know what I did to earn this kind of karma, but I have a woodpecker problem. And it doesn’t appear to be just one woodpecker, either, actually it’s a nest of them. If I had known about the problem sooner, it would never have gotten to this point.

I know what you’re thinking, “If sound bothers you that much, how in the world does a woodpecker pecking at your house slip past you?” I went to stay with my parents in Minnesota for two week to both celebrate Christmas and get some skiing in for the year.  Trust me, I found out about the woodpecker the day I got back. I was putting in a load of laundry when I first heard the drumming on the outside wall of my house.  No sound has ever made me as frustrated as that sound did; it pierced my soul and I felt every tap beat along with my pulse.  It was nauseating.  I grabbed my headphones, put on some white noise, and went outside to find the culprit.

There, on the corner of the second story, I could see a hole and a few feet to the right was the woodpecker himself, working on another.  I climbed up on a ladder to stuff the hole with an old shirt but I discovered a nest inside, and inside of the nest were four ugly, pink babies.  I can NOT live my entire life in a house with a woodpecker problem, surviving the next couple of weeks until the baby birds are big enough to leave the nest and I can hire someone to help get the other one to leave.  Wish me luck!