The Bandits Are Back!

She’s back! We have a neighborhood raccoon who specializes in finding “inconvenient” living quarters. The past few years she’s favored my neighbors’ hollow porch columns, nesting there and raising several broods. For most of the spring she perches on top of the columns, giving my neighbors the evil eye and hissing at them as they enter and exit their home. She’s just protecting her babies (who you can hear crying through the brick walls of the column), but it’s still annoying — and potentially dangerous. Raccoons carry rabies and have been known to charge humans who come too close to their nest.

She spent a winter in my chimney before I had it cleaned and capped. She dug out a burrow under another neighbor’s storage shed and terrorized her inquisitive cat. And now she’s moved into my garage. I don’t go into my garage very often in the winter. It’s an old style barn-door building of questionable structural integrity, but it makes a handy place to store my gardening tools, the bikes and assorted bits of odd lumber. Unsuspecting, I walked into its dark recesses yesterday to fill the bird feeders. From the dim recesses at the back of the garage, I heard a sharp hiss. Then I saw two eyes glowing in the dark. She’s back!

There’s little in the do-it-yourself line you can do that effectively gets rid of raccoons. They’re not easily intimidated by humans. I’ve tried ammonia, mothballs (I can still smell the stink in my attic), ultrasonic gizmos, even a radio blaring Nine Inch Nails. I’ll admit that did get that particular raccoon to leave for awhile, but she came back. I think after a few days, the music kind of grew on her. I thought about trying some of the predator urine sprays you can buy, but after one whiff I decided living with a raccoon might not be so bad.

Raccoons are destructive and leave all kinds of nasty creepy crawlies in their nesting areas. They have a pungent odor you’ll never get out of the floor boards. They’re a critter you don’t want to mess with. If you’re unfortunate enough to be selected as a raccoon’s new home, give Stern a call and let the experts move your “guest” along. Try to do it before she has her litter. Squalling raccoon babies are a sound worse than nails on a chalkboard!