Tuesday, March 1, 2011
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.