Sunday, June 27, 2010

Um, yeah, it wasn't a 'he'...

So the big raccoon was trapped on Monday night, remember?   And remember that comment I made that I could have checked whether the creature was a he or a she?  Might have been a good idea.

Thursday night (3 whole days after the raccoon was trapped) we were in the back yard when we started to hear this terrible noise.  Sort of like a flock of angry birds.  But screechier.  And more grating.  It was coming from the shed below the deck where the other raccoon was found.  Medman had a terrible suspicion and as myself and 3 kids (we were babysitting a couple friends) sheltered inside the sliding glass door, Medman bravely pulled open the door of the shed.  Then he put on big gardening gloves and pulled out FIVE BABY raccoons.  Tiny ones.  Hmmmm, apparently the adult raccoon we trapped then tortured on Tuesday was a new mama.  That makes me feel much better. 

Judging from my extensive quarter-of-an-hour-Googling research, these little guys were about 2 weeks old.  They mostly kept their eyes shut, had no teeth, and were incredibly weak and pathetic.  Called animal control to come get them and guess what?  They don't work after 5pm.  Yes, baby raccoons, we see that you are actually moments from starvation, death by dehydration and your mother was ripped away from you, but hang tight in this cage for the next 15 hours and someone will rescue you. 

So, knowing we had to keep them all night, Medman attempted a little feeding.  Now cow's milk might be lethal to raccoons for all we know, but we figured animals that spend much of their life eating rotten trash must have decent digestive tracks.  And lest you say, "Awww, how cute that he fed baby raccoons with an eyedropper!!!", let me give you a sampling of the sounds that went along with this...

(Raccoons screeching deafeningly and clawing each other blindly.)
Medman: I have milk right here.  Get over here.
(Raccoons screeching deafeningly and clawing each other blindly while ignoring the offered milk.)
Medman: SHUT UP! Open your mouth.
(Louder screeching.  I go inside to escape the noise.  Raccoons ignoring the offered eye dropper and licking spilled milk off each others backs while still screeching.)
Medman: Shut up!  Get over here.  Stop doing that.  Are you stupid?  Right here.  No, open your mouth.  Will you guys shut up???

It was truely heart warming. 

The next morning, after ignoring several suggestions by Medman to take them to the Walmart parking lot and sell them as pets for $50 each, we got Animal Control to come and take them.   After all, who would want raccoons for a pet?  We could have been $250 richer.  Turns out Mr. Animal Control did indeed raise two baby raccoons once.  Named them.  Fed them from a bottle.  Made them a tree house.

And that knowledge made my lean-to look much more normal. 

On second thought, I'm comparing myself to the crazy Animal Control guy.   Just more normal than crazy doesn't necessarily make me normal. 

I sure hope our raccoon adventures are done. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lunatic alert

Well, I should be painting.  One of the reasons the blog's been neglected of late is that we moved to a new house and have embarked on a painting project of mythical scale.  But more on that in another post.  Instead of painting I had to come blog because I have no one here in person to share my lunacy with. I'm sure it will be long-winded, so just close it up now if you are in a hurry.

SO, since moving into our new house we've had a bit of "Wild Kingdom - Midwest America!" 

A few days after moving in, I was at the local grocery store when I got a text saying "I found a mole in the drain!"  Seeing as Medman is in fact a doctor, no one would fault me for thinking brown-skin-tag sort of mole.  And in the drain?  Which drain?  Ewww!  But as you have already guessed, it was the small mammal kind of mole (the majority of the members of the mammal family Talpidae in the order Soricomorpha to be exact).  Yes, a baby mole in the drain of our laundry room.  Here is his little bedraggled self after Medman rescued him then let him remain traumatized for an hour until the rest of us got home to see him.  He was then released into the wild. 

But it gets better.  There was a field mouse that lives under the front porch.  Scared the daylights out of me as I tried to walk out the front door and there's the gaggle of bunnies that live around us and munch on our yard all day, which are quite cute and the blue jay that torpedoed our sliding glass door during lunch.  But the creme de la creme of our animal adventures has been the raccoon.

He was first heard scuffling around in the two story deck we have outside.  We commented, "That sounds big..."  Then, while we were innocently watching Mythbusters we saw a movement outside and there, coming from a gap between the lower part of the deck and the floor of the upper deck was a masked face.  He was watching Mythbusters too.  Then we saw his hulking shape shuffling across the top of the deck.  I'm not joking about the hulking.  Having just seen Transformers, I have a theory that this isn't actually a raccoon, it's an alien robot who has landed on earth and disguised itself as a raccoon.  Just it got the proportions wrong.  It's Megacoon. And I hated him.

So we call Animal Control on Saturday morning, after the first sighting of it, and are told that Animal Control only works on the weekdays.  Which only makes sense since animals don't exist on the weekends.  All weekend we watched this tyrant take over our back yard.  D, who is considerably smaller than the beast, was of course not allowed to play outside since Megacoon was not nocturnal.  Instead he wandered about starting at dinner time as though he owned the place. Ooh, I hated him.

Monday morning arrived and with it Animal Control who set up a trap baited with dog food.  Wonderful.  Finally we were going to catch the son of a bandit and get our yard back!  All day I obsessively watched the trap.  Evening came and started to go before we saw the little monster appear.  He headed straight for the trap, entered, tasted the food, then exited.  Yes, he exited the trap.  Medman and I, who were at the kitchen window with our noses practically pressed against the glass as we peered at the monster, were stunned.  What happened to the trapping part of the trap?  The coon just wandered about the outside, then finally reentered the trap and settled in for a nice meal of dog food.  And still the trap door remained wide open.  This is the door that would snap shut every time the Animal Control officer breathed too heavily near it.  Although it seemed like an hour, it was probably only several minutes before *snap*, and the door shut.  Oh happy day.  Done with the racoon!

Except we weren't.  And here's where the lunacy begins.  Although we despised the creature moments ago, watching it's little pea-brained self go blindly into the obvious trap, we felt slightly sorry for it.  Then, in the trap we still felt sorry for it.  Then as thunderstorms raged all night we felt a little more sorry for it.  Then morning came, Medman went to work and the lunacy became all mine.  And it got bad. 

Here's our little captive before the rain storm:
And I'm sort of sad for the wild creature trapped in a little box.

Around 9:00 am a TREMENDOUS thunderstorm struck.  Tremendous may not even be a big enough word.  There was a deluge of rain and serious flooding.  This is a picture taken from the same place during the storm.  Yes, it got that dark.

And I felt sorry for the creature who couldn't huddle small enough to get out of the torrential downpour of rain.

Then the sun came out.  And this poor fellow, who is normally nocturnal, was stuck baking in the sun.  Where was Animal Control? He was supposed to come by in the morning to check the trap.  But no, turns out he wasn't working.  Ok, so who's going to get the raccoon?  Oh, I can take him and release him somewhere??? Thank you, miss police dispatcher.  I'll just strap him into Belle's carseat and zip down to the nearest conservation area.  She'll see what she can do....

Meanwhile, the creature is panting and SWEATING!  Did you know raccoons sweat?  Well they do.  Huge drops of sweat from their noses and ears when they are trapped in direct sunlight on a 95 degree day. 

Here he is lying on his back panting.  (come to think of it, this would have been prime opportunity to tell if the 'coon was indeed a "him", but I didn't check.)

So there I sat, feeling more and more sorry for him.  So, praying the neighbors weren't watching, I went out side, had a nice chat with him from the porch, poured some water in his empty dog food dish  (I even went back inside to get more when he tipped over the first bowl in his frenzy to get a drink, although I did call him a yo-yo and point out to him that any creature clever enough to get into ANY trash can in the world should be smart enough to keep his bowl upright...) ......

...and then...

...I made him a lean-to from a cardboard box.    Yes, a lean-to.  I know I used to hate him, but don't judge me for my craziness, you weren't there!  He seemed quite grateful.

It was 2:45 before some poor officer pulled up in the Animal Control truck and took away a very pissed off, very hungry and dehydrated 'coon. 

And now we have our yard back.  It's lovely again.