Saturday, February 17, 2007

Over the Hedge: A Declaration of War

Ahhhhhh aren't raccoons just so cute and furry and fuzzy and don't you just want to give them widdle cuddles and maybe a nice doghouse outside, with a bowl of food of their own?

The answer is NO.

You do NOT want to do this and anyway, it will not work.

In a way, you've got to respect the persistence, resilience and courage of the large, hairy, disease-ridden rodent.

But then you recall, it's my damn house.

We had a meeting aka a party with my neighborhood friends last night in which my husband and I shared the raccoon story.

After laughing their asses off at me, and when they finished cracking jokes at our expense---which I'll admit I made it very easy for them to do, esecially after I threw in the haunted stereo and why I never call 911 story---our neighbors were very sympathetic, particularly the ones who live just across the street. The husband shared his own armadillo story, and reminded me that we live next to the Defender of All Flora and Fauna aka Daffy.

I like Daffy. She's great. I'm a big proponent of her environmental issues, actually. She's a nice neighbor and lots of fun, as is her family. I can't even tell you the great things she does for the community. And the neighborhood. She's given me landscaping advice, lets my kids come into her yard (a natural habitat akin to a nature center full of flora and fauna...the kids love it), donates time (and animals) to any kid event, and often provides educational lectures. Plus, she'll rush to my house every time I ask for help due to something really horrid like a snake. She'll handle snakes. You've got to admire that in a person, seriously.

However, Daffy is occasionally the conscience you wish would, you know, zip it. Shh shh shhh I know this is wrong, but it feels so right. You know what I mean.

When we shared our raccoon situation, Daffy immediately advised us to...let it go. Deal with it. She reminded us that this is their world too, and we did, after all, invade it.

I'm normally sympathetic to this, truly.

But it is after all my house. Just ask the bank. I pay them large sums of money for the privilege of paying more large sums of money to maintain this home. It might be on land traditionally inhabited by the raccoon, but in this case, I say might trumps right.

I'm having trouble convincing the raccon of this. The raccoon appears unconvinced as to (a) my might and (b) his lack of right.

He has---and I'm not making this up---slowly but surely shredded the now locked cat door. If we won't let him in, he will chew us out of house and home.

We're thinking of spraying the door with some of that nasty pepper stuff, but suspect this will end up backfiring on us somehow. I hear Mary Poppins singing, "A spoonful of pepper helps the cat door go down...the cat door go down...the cat door go down..."

The dog continues to tree the raccoon. But I think that's just all fun and games to him. The racoon, that is.

Our neighbor told us to keep in mind the "brick that accidentally falls on the head" tactic for dealing with overly intrusive wildlife, but warned us that little birds have a habit of being excellent eyewitnesses and tattletales for Daffy.

In the end, my husband's inclination to be humane is lessening by the day and with each bolder countermove by the raccoon.

So far, it's a draw. However, in the immortal words of Gordon England, "We will prevail, we have to prevail."

For myself, I am also trying to keep in mind the optimistic voice of WIlliam Falconer, "I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of kindness and compassion."

But I must say, the little voice that seems to be whispering right now about "losing is not an option" is getting louder...

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

Tags: ,,, ,


Christina said...

Have you thought about calling the humane society and asking for their help?

If they can't remove and relocate the furry guy, perhaps they could loan you a live trap so you could catch him without hurting him and give him a going away party in the car on the way to a state park?

Julie Pippert said...

Christina, we have contacted several agencies. They will loan us a live trap. That is the most they will do, unless possibly the creature is rabid or has attacked. They warn us though that we are not allowed, by law, to relocate or transport the animal, once caught. So we said, "To what end do you loan us the live trap?" and they shrugged LOL. The problem with relocation is that you have to move the animal to somwehere else that another animal has probably already claimed which means a territory battle.


I just keep hoping he will give up on the house...

Bones said...

2 words. Cayene pepper.

Put it everywhere. dump it in your trash. Sprinkle it anywhere Daffy likes to go. Mix it with peanutbutter and drop dabs of it around. vermin hate spicy food. He'll get a couple noses full of it, and then go find a better place to hang out.