Tag Archives: baby raccoons

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!

Raccoon Family in the Cabin

Raccoon (2)When we went cheap on our vacation, we did not plan on having to share a summer with a family of raccoons.

The economy might be improving, as reported on the news, but it has yet to get better for most of my friends and me.  So, summer months are filled with inexpensive “stay-cations.”  We avoid the theme parks, the costly water parks, and even long, gas-guzzling drives.  Instead, we do splash pads, camping at free sites, fishing at the local pond, and plenty of hikes in the mountains.  We skip the high priced tickets of the zoo and museums and opt for a day at a friend’s farm or science projects around the house.

So, when an elderly neighbor couple told us we could use their mountain cabin for several weeks, we were elated!  In return, we were going to do some repairs around the place and spruce it up for their trip up there later that summer.  It was a win-win deal for all of us.  We packed up the truck, threw in the kids’ toys and sleeping bags, and off we went!  The four of us chatted and sang and watched the beautiful mountain scenery go by as we drove deeper and deeper up the canyon and into a side canyon where the cabin sat.  This was better than a theme park, because we’d be able to enjoy it for weeks, spend lots of time with each other and fish and hike and swim to our heart’s content.  This was going to be the best family vacation ever.

Following the directions, we finally headed down the dirt and gravel road that led to the cabin.  It wasn’t a mountain resort, by any means, but it was going to be all ours for the next several weeks.  We stopped in front, the kids spilled out of the truck’s cab, and my husband couldn’t stop grinning.  I was ready already planning where we were going to set up the hammock as soon as lunch was ready.

My husband unlocked the front door and we all brought our heavy loads in, arms full of bags of food, coolers, camp chairs and other mountain living necessities.  The cabin had obviously not been occupied in a while, at least not by humans.  The bright windows illuminated the clouds of dust we stirred up, and the place smelled dank and foul.  “Ewwww!” my six year old said, plugging her nose.  I exchanged an uh-oh look with my husband.

My son, oblivious to the possible gross-ness of his surroundings, kicked open a bedroom door and stomped on in, plopping his load down on the nearest cot.  I carefully placed my load on the small table in the tiny kitchen and followed my son, a vague warning dying on my lips.  He was silent and still, staring at a large raccoon baring its teeth at him and standing in between my son and three raccoon babies.  I could tell by the look on my son’s face he thought this was the coolest moment of his nine years on earth.

The frozen moment passed and I blew into action, grabbing my son and backing quickly out of the room, slamming the door as I passed the threshold.  I then picked up my bewildered daughter and charged out the front door of the cabin back into the relative safety of the outdoors.  At least there, we were not confronted with raccoons who might feel cornered or bite or scratch us, necessitating a trip back down the mountain to the nearest hospital.

My husband figured it out quickly enough when he bravely opened up the bedroom door to see what had caused all the fuss.  We shared the cabin with a family of raccoons.  We had to re-think this whole mountain resort situation if we were to deal with raccoons in the cabin.

We discussed all the possible ways of dealing with the situation while our children threw rocks into the nearby creek.  It was imperative to get the family of raccoons out of the cabin before we could even begin to clean up the mess and start on repairs.  We certainly weren’t going to enjoy our mountain retreat until we got those raccoons out of the cabin.

Finally, we realized we should just handle the situation the same way we would handle it at home.  We wouldn’t try to remove the family of raccoons by ourselves like some bad 80’s cartoon.  I would drive back down the mountain to the nearest town with cell reception and contact our neighbors, the cabin’s owners.  I would suggest to them that they call Allstate Animal Control.  Allstate Animal Control could easily remove the family of raccoons out of the cabin, and I knew they’d also take care of some of the cleanup and repair.  Then, my family would finally be able to move into the cabin from the tent we staked, and we could get back to the business of fixing up the cabin and enjoying the heck out of our mountain vacation.  Lucky for us, our neighbors agreed and we were quickly back on track with one of the best family vacations we have ever enjoyed!

Removing Raccoons

Raccoons in attic
Raccoons in your attic.
(Artwork by Sharon Davis. Contact us for her contact info.)

Who would think of removing raccoonsfirst thing in the morning??

The comforting smell of fresh brewed coffee makes it way through the house in the early hours of the morning.  Alarms are softly buzzing in different bedrooms.  Everyone is sluggishly moving about their morning routines, getting ready for the hustle and bustle of a normal day.  Someone turns on the TV while Mom is scrambling eggs.  Talk centers around homework, after school activities and what the general schedule is for the day.

Suddenly, someone says, “Shhhh, shhhhh!  Listen!”  Everyone stops talking and looks awkwardly at each other while trying to figure out what they’re listening for.  “What . . . “ Dad says, but he’s quickly shushed.  There, softly, everyone hears it.  A quiet scrabbling coming from right above their heads.  Then, a small squeak.             Someone volunteers to run outside and see if there’s anything on the roof, but nothing is spotted.  The scrabbling reoccurs.  Dad sighs.  “Must be something in the crawl space.”

Suddenly the day isn’t normal anymore.

Dad gets out the ladder, grabs a flashlight and climbs up into the small hole in the ceiling.  He shines the flashlight around every corner, and almost misses it, but there!  A shiny flash of eyes staring back at him from above the kitchen.  One set of eyes?  No, more.

Dad comes back down the ladder where everyone else is watching expectantly.  “We’re going to have to get help.  I think there’s raccoons up there.”

Everyone bursts into exclamations.  “How did they get up there?”  “Why our house?”  “Come on, Dad, you can get ‘em!”  But, Mom walks over to the computer, gets the number for removing raccoons, and calls.

When the raccoon removalserviceman arrives, he verifies there’s a mother raccoon and her pups up in the attic.  They’re nesting on the opposite end of the house, far away from the crawlspace access, so he suggests the best way to remove the raccoons is to cut a small hole in the ceiling close to their nest.  He’s going to reach in and remove them one by one.

Mom’s worried about the mess.  Dad’s worried about having to patch up the hole afterward.  But, they decide messes can be cleaned up, holes can be patched, but those raccoons must be removed.  The small hole is cut.

The brave serviceman climbs up a ladder, wearing heavy gloves and armed with nothing more than a mirror.  The mirror lets him see where the raccoons are.  He looks, retracts the mirror, and sticks his arm up into the hole.  A short time later, one pup is removed.

“AWWWWW!” says everyone, including Dad.

One by one, the adorable raccoon pups are removed and placed carefully into a bag.  Soon, the bag is wriggling and squeaking.  Although these are pests that have invaded their home, the family can’t get over how cute they are.  Still, they’re happy to have them out of the house.

Removing mamma raccoonisn’t as easy.  It requires a specially devised noose, but she’s removed, spitting and growling and unhurt.  She’s carefully loaded into the truck, along with her pups.

All of a sudden, the house is quiet again and the family goes back to their routine activities.  They still love talking about their little raccoon family!

Raccoon Removal

raccoon removal
She thought she’d found a place safe from anyone attempting a raccoon removal.  Quiet, warm, free from predators such as bobcats, cougars or coyotes, the attic she found would protect her babies while giving them the best shelter she could find.  It was certainly better than the small hole in the rotten tree outside where it was freezing cold and wet from the slushy rain that had been almost nonstop. 

            Digging a small depression in the attic’s insulation, she gave birth to her four cubs.  At night, she would slink out for a short time, forage for food, and go straight back to her nest. 

It was a perfect life.  Warm, protected, with plenty of food, she was prepared to hole up in this soft place with her cubs for a couple of months.

Everything was just fine for a few weeks, until . . .

            Scratch, Thump!  A form appeared from the floor, and then, threw something onto the wooden beams and foamy insulation with a muted clang.  A bright light swung around the warm, dark space, catching her eyes and making them gleam in the darkness.  This was it, this was the thing she feared.  Raccoon removal. 

            There were at least two of them, great big men armed with a shovel and heavy gloves, growling incomprehensibly at each other.  Reacting quickly, she snapped up the nearest cub in her teeth and ran to the far end of the attic, hoping to get back to the nest in time to snatch up another one.  No such luck, the men were faster.  There they stood by her babies, hunched over, huge, shining that awful light into her eyes and muttering.  All she could do was growl and bare her teeth, hoping that would be enough to frighten them away from the nest.  She would charge them if she had to, but she desperately hoped it wouldn’t be necessary. 

            All four of her babies, including the one she had next to her, shivered with small, weak chitters, crying out for her, crying out for life to return to the safe haven they had known until now.  She paced angrily, nervously, never once taking her eyes off these men who had come for raccoon removal. 

            No!  One of the men reached down and scooped up two of her cubs in one hand, placing them gently in a bag.  Anguished, she watched the last of the remaining cubs in the nest disappear into the bag as well.  She was not going to let them get her final cub, safely curled at her feet.  A shovel landed near her, but she didn’t even flinch.  She was not going to make raccoon removal an easy thing for these men to do.

            She feared for her own life, as well as that of her cubs as she was dragged out of that attic, shoved into a cage and hauled outside to be placed on a large truck.  Her fears quickly turned to relief when she was quickly reunited with all four of her cubs and taken to another warm shelter.  Nothing would ever be as warm or as comfortable and free as that soft den in the attic, though.