Raccoon Alert


Raccoons might look adorable but they are deceptive, sneaky marauders intent on wrecking havoc.

Raccoons.

Because we operated a small family farm with livestock as well as sprawling gardens, raccoons were and still are the bane of our existence. This phrase is probably a cliché but I simply cannot force myself to change the wording; it describes these pests perfectly. Their exploits are so extraordinary, that a city dweller might think I am exaggerating. However, every word is the unvarnished truth.

An abbreviated mischief list:

  • We removed one small pane of glass in a window six feet above the ground to help ventilate our meat-bird barn. One morning we discovered 50 chicks missing with only a few feathers left. Only raccoons, with their sharp claws can climb that high and carry off chickens.
  • Raccoons love to pull down corn stalks, destroying the entire plant, to eat only the largest, sweetest corn cob.
  • At night, as raccoons gather to celebrate their corn feast, they make a loud, piercing sound that can only be described as a cross between a crying human infant and a screeching cat.
  • These thieves steal eggs, terrorizing the hens who make such a racket that one of the male members of our family runs out with a gun, no matter what the hour.
  • They are garbage specialists, opening lids, toppling garbage cans that should protect the green garbage bags from them. Raccoons are not content to simply eat the food waste, they delight in dragging trash all over the shed.
  • Mother raccoons hide their young in hay barns. Accidentally stumble upon her and she turns vicious. One huge, enraged mama raccoon chased one of our sons out of the barn, causing him to scream,

“It’s a bear. There’s a huge bear in the hay barn coming after me!”

He was terrified.

  • One afternoon, our wonderful guard dog chased three raccoons up a hydro pole. One blew the transformer, electrocuting himself, as he tried to climb down later that night. He died instantly and cut off our electricity. We need power to even use water or flush the toilet because we run our own pumps in three separate wells.

The electrical crew, who had arrived in a long cherry picker, argued whether they really wanted to go up and rescue the remaining two raccoons.

“Do you want to go up there George?”
“Who me? No way. Why don’t you do it Harry?”
“No way”

They turned to me and stated,

“Tell you what. We’ll turn your power on and just come back tomorrow after they blow the transformer again.”

David, my son, decided to simply open his upstairs bedroom window, aim carefully and take the raccoons out of their misery. The power stayed on.

The only good thing I can say about raccoons is that they did clean our property as they scoured the yard every night for any tidbits of food dropped by our kids.

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19 thoughts on “Raccoon Alert

  1. They really can be mean…trapped 3 of them so far this year. Actually 4, but one was able to gnaw a hole through the metal cage and squeeze out. All I can say is he must have been hurt to squeeze out that tiny opening with pieces of chewed off metal poking out. Scary…really! Great post!

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  2. When I lived in the suburbs on Long Island, I was coming home late one night and the path to my home was blocked by three raccoons. They were the size of ottomans (The stools, not the people. But it was close.) There were restaurants nearby which I think contributed to their size. Anyway, we all stopped and stared at each other. It was a 10 minute stand-off. No way was I making the first move! Finally, it started to rain and they left. So, I can completely relate to how that electrical crew felt 🙂

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  3. A long time ago, at Sleepy Hollow State Park (sounds like it should be in a children’s book), we parked our pop-up camper and tried to set it up as soon as possible. The mosquitoes were terrible. We pulled out the supplies and put them on the picnic table. My husband was going to take the car back to Grand Rapids and come back a few days later while I camped with the kids (something not for the faint of heart). My daughter Erin was sitting at the picnic table. She said a big raccoon came out of the woods and grabbed our loaf of bread and ran away with it. I said, “You didn’t try to stop it, did you?” “No” she said, to my relief. But we really missed that loaf of bread. My husband was gone with the only car, and the campground did not have a camp store, so I couldn’t buy more. I learned a lesson.

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  4. We almost got a “pet” raccoon. I held him for a few minutes, then he began digging in my ears, then went for my nose. He became very unhappy when I tried to dissuade him, and became more persistent (he was on my shoulders). When I finally got his current owner to remove him, I turned to my (then) husband and stated flatly, “NO WAY.”

    A couple of weeks later, the “adorable little creature” got upset with the guy’s wheelchair-ridden father-in-law and ripped his leg to shreds before someone came to his aid.

    I think “Bandit” went to see Jesus shortly after that episode. I hope he’s happy there. 🙂
    \o/

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      1. I dunno. It was only a one-time deal. You have to handle the buggers all the time. Around my house (in town) we only have the occasional opossum…they like the cat food.

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  5. We used to have chickens, we only had 4 or so at the time, more for pets than anything. I woke up one night to chicken havoc alarm. All the chickens had their heads chewed off. One raccoon was still working on one of the chickens, and made growling noises when it saw me. Pretty frightening sight. They only killed the chickens, didn’t even eat them!

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