Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Raccoon City

No, I am not caught in the game or the movie, Resident Evil, I have been invaded by a horde of raccoons. Zombies and the undead are more Kathy’s forte than mine. It seems the woods near my house are teeming with the little masked marauders.

Every morning I go about my chores, mainly feeding horses. Last week, at around six in the morning I stumbled into the small barn behind my house to feed the four horses I have in the pasture. I, dutifully and half-asleep, shoveled feed into four buckets and proceeded to put food in each stall. I then opened the stalls for the horses to enter. Every one of them went into his or her stall except Casper. He stood at the door, blowing and snorting, refusing to set one foot into his stall. Now, Casper is a rather large and stocky Appaloosa with a voracious appetite, so for him to refuse to go in and eat surprised me.

I peered around him into the stall. How had I missed it earlier? In the back corner a raccoon was lying against the wall. My first thought was “Oh my God! It’s dead! Rabies!” I slammed the door shut, got more feed and relocated Casper to another stall. I returned to stare at the unmoving raccoon, trying to determine if it was breathing. I didn’t see any signs of life. Okay, so I am an adult and someone had to deal with removing the dead carcass. I did what any one in my situation would do – I called the boys. As all of you know from previous blogs, the boys help me with the horses, well, sort of. I dialed one then the other – no answer. Oh drat, they were headed to school by now. The raccoon problem was mine. I had to own it and do something. I picked up a rock and threw it at the raccoon, hitting it in the side. No movement. Emboldened, I picked up a large stick and threw it at the raccoon. No movement. Obviously the thing was dead. Satisfied that there was no immediate danger of being attacked by a rabid raccoon, I closed the stall, locked it and decided the boys could handle corpse removal later. I went about my chores, no more raccoon on the brain.

Right before time for the boys to arrive, I sent them a text to meet me at the small barn and that we had a raccoon problem. I walked down to the barn to check on the status of the varmint (yeah I know he was dead but you never know – Raccoon City and all). I peered over the front of the stall through the wire. No raccoon in the corner! How had a dead raccoon gotten up and walked? Maybe I was in Raccoon City and it had reanimated (I do have a vivid imagination). Where was it? I looked around and there was no sign of the little thing. Cautiously I opened the stall door a crack. Ninja raccoon! It sprang toward me on its hind legs, front feet up, teeth bared and claws slicing the air. It was ready to attack! Now, I wear boots, real steel-toed work boots, which do not allow the most nimble movements. On my first attempt to close the door, I slammed it on my foot. With one eye on Karate Coon, I finally managed to slam the door shut. I have seen people in horror movies frantically trying to close a door and when they finally manage it they turn and lean back against the door. I always wondered why. I know now – it’s the adrenalin. Your knees are too weak to walk. When I finally gained some strength in my legs, I moved around to peer over into the stall. There sat Rocky, cleaning his face. We made eye contact and I truly think he snarled at me before I could run.

As I stumbled out the door the calvary arrived. The boys pulled up in their trucks with reinforcements. Two other boys who visit on a frequent basis were with them. The foursome was armed with a pellet gun, a cage and wearing big grins. They informed me they were there to get the raccoon. When I asked about the cage, since I had previously told them the raccoon was dead, they jauntily answered: Where’s there one there has to be more. Excited that Rocky wasn’t dead, they proceeded to try and force him into the cage for relocation. He wasn’t cooperating. It’s hard to imagine a tiny ten-pound animal scaring boys who are six feet tall or taller but ol’ Rocky did. He gave them a run for their money. Finally he was forced into the cage, snarling and snapping. My barn is sporting two new holes where the boys shot the tin with the pellet gun. No, they weren’t trying to shoot Rocky; they were just trying to scare him. Rocky left, none too happy. What we all figured out was that Rocky had fell out of the loft and had been unconscious. Poor little guy. Yeah right.

I went down to feed a day or two later and there was a humane trap there, filled with another raccoon. This was must have been Rocky’s dad because he was twice the size. He snarled at me as I walked into the barn and I laughed. He couldn’t get me. He was in the cage. Still, I kept an eye on him as I started to fill the buckets. You never can tell if those Ninja Raccoons have learned how to open the cage door.

Do you have any wildlife stories? Like being cornered by a Grizzly Bear in the Rockies? Or perhaps a simple mouse story. Believe me, I have a few of those too.


  1. It's not the ten-pound animal that scares those big boys; it's the word "rabies" and the fact those little animals hiss and snarl and sound way bigger than they are. I've had a couple run-ins with raccoons though mine weren't Ninjas.

    I had my mouse escapade last Thanksgiving where I came face to face with one in my pantry. I trapped 4 of them before the maintenance guy was finally able to locate where they might be coming in and stuff the holes with steel wool. There's nothing quite like seeing a mouse scurry across the room out of the corner of your eye and then have him taunt you by hiding behind the sofa. And for a couple days the darned things were managing to eat the peanut butter off the trap without springing it. And then there was the morning I woke to this little squeaking sound and found one trapped only by his little leg, dragging the trap behind him.

    Thank God for steel wool!


  2. I try to stay away from wildlife and the outdoors.
    I once saw a stuffed black bear at Rau Antiques in New Orleans. It was taller than I expected. I once met Bear Bryant when I was 19. He was not as tall as I expected, but then I was expecting about 20 feet.

  3. Hey PM, I have had such mouse problems at the barn. The cats love it but I hate the little critters. We did have a couple of Norwegian Wharf rats (I think here they call them Gopher Rats). We were using big traps and this one gnawed its leg off and could still scurry. My hubby hit it like a golfball straight toward me. The dang thing went up my pants leg. I've have never gotten out of my pants so quickly! LOL

    Jean, I can understand, the Bear was a big man right along with Shug. They seemed larger than life. We also have minks running the creek by our house. They look like weasels. I keep wondering how many I would have to trap to get a coat.

  4. Like Jean, I try to stay inside buildings and in cities and away from wild life. This hasn't always been the case, I grew up waaaaay out in the county and there was lots of wildlife every where you looked. I once hit a deer with my Ford Pinto. Ahhhh, the memories!

    Cheryl-thanks for a funny blog!

  5. Oh! I was quite sure, as I started reading your blog post that this racoon was squealing for brains, Cheryl! While I'm impressed by Rocky's ninja antics, I admit I'm a bit disappointed that the creature had just fallen unconscious. ;)

    You have the darndest stories about life in the country. LOL! Don't stop passing them along. :D

    PM, rats! Nuff said. ;)

    Jean, funny comparison between bears.

    Stephanie, I'm sorry you hit the deer. Might have been Bambi's mother. :(

    I love the outdoors as long as I'm not dealing with mosquitos and bugs. Lived outside growing up, climbing trees and hunting for snails and pincher bugs in Japan. I'm not sure when I got so squimmish. LOL!

  6. Oh, and I love the racooon with the glowing eyes. ;)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Okay, I have to admit...I followed the link having seen the title, in high hopes of hearing something about zombies. I'll have you know, you did not disappoint. Nay, nay. I was absolutely -delighted- by your encounter with the Juvanile Zombie Raccoon Ninja. (JZRN...I'm coining that and selling it to Cartoon Network. >.>)

    I could have warned you about the wiley critters. Never underestimate anything with oposible thumbs...or prehensile tails. And your boys are correct, they're not solitary. They tend to have litters of between 4 and 6...and mama is rarely too far off.

    I still remember the summer we caught a whole family of them raiding our apple trees in broad daylight. Mama ran off into the woods, but her six babies decided to scamper up the closest tree to evade us. The closest tree, of course, being the apple tree. The problem with that was said apple tree was a dwarf that stood no more than 7 feet. (While the adults are clever, their youth seem to share a lack of common sense that rivals that of humanity.)So we all donned leather work gloves and went picking them off the tree branches by their tails to be deposited into a wire chicken cage. We then humanely relocated the snapping varments to a nature preserve. Problem solved. :D

    ~Angela Blount

  9. Stephanie, you might be a lot safer to stay in the buildings. The more I read, the more I get afraid of all this wildlife.

    Kathy, yeah life in the country is always one thrill after another, one I could mostly do without. LOL I didn't need a heart attack the other morning. And if there is a mosquito within a hundred miles it will bite me and I will swell up like a toad. Hate them and hate spiders!

    Ew, RP. Oppossums! They are a menace to horse owners! They carry a disease that affects the central nervous system of a horse. It's really bad and usually the horse has to euthenized. I am always watching for possums. As for the raccoons. we have caught two more since I penned the blog. All are being relocated since I also discovered they carry leptospirosis, a very bad disease that affects cattle and humans. Gee, I never used to worry about all this. I guess the older I get, the more I worry.