Thursday, May 17, 2012

The 'Coon Caper

Just before midnight last night, Ulani stood on the bed and began to bark.  It is not entirely unusual behavior, but as it normally signals her awareness of a night critter, and as it was a night critter I was eagerly awaiting, I arose.

Once she quieted herself, I was able to hear the tinny sound of metal shaking.  Trap!  That's when I got dressed and went outside to take the photo I posted last night.  And now, the saga continues...

I did not sleep well last night, worrying about that damned raccoon.  It must be frightened.  Could it get itself out of the trap?  What if there are babies left somewhere?  Then I would remember finding Lacey's body behind the ladder, headless.

Nope, raccoons and chickens do not go together.

Finally I got out of bed just after 6.  (I don't say "I awoke" because, well, that's not when that happened.)  Now what to do?  The trapped raccoon was next to the barn, in the main morning traffic pattern for me, Ulani and the cats.  That would not do.

And how long will it take for Animal Control to come pick it up?  By 10 am it would be in full sun, which would also not do.

No, the 'coon must be moved.

Next question, where?  Up by the driveway would make sense for easy pick-up, but I want to take Ulani for a walk this morning and God knows I will not walk with her past a trapped raccoon!

I settled on inside the privacy fence up front.  At least when Ulani smells it, she won't have access to the cage and I can persuade her away with biscuits.

Next question, how?  A raccoon is not a lightweight like a chicken.  There is heft under that pelt.  And a trapped raccoon is not a happy critter.  They hiss.  And lunge.

I opted for the garden cart, pulled by the riding mower.  Except the riding mower, recently repaired for a not small amount of money, will not start.  So I opted for the garden cart, pushed by me.  Good enough.

Lifting the trap into the cart was, in a word, scary.  The 'coon hissed and moved around, plunging itself into the back of the trap.  As you can see in the photo, there's only protection from toenails and teeth right around the (rather inadequate) "carrying handle".  Otherwise you are on your own.  Luckily it was only from the ground up into the cart, and it landed softly.

Then we had a little talk.

I think the raccoon nodded its assent at the end of this video.  Don't burst my bubble.

I pushed the cart as carefully as I could, but let's face it, my yard is not exactly level.  I had to stop a couple of times, and realized that making the cart balance on its two wheels while the raccoon changed positions was a real challenge.

At last we arrived in the front garden.  My plan was to place the trap back on the grass, for more 'coon comfort, but at that point it was really stressed out and I decided the kindest thing was to simply park the cart, trap inside, and leave it alone.

Remember that old expression "if the van is rockin', don't come knockin'!"?  I'm leaving this 'coon alone.


The JR said...

Next time you pick the trap up with an animal in it, use a heavy towel like a giant pot holder.

Glad you got it.

Rose H (UK) said...

Glad the little terrorist is captured and your hens and ducks can return to a peaceful life, but I can understand your mixed feeling too. (It does look so lovely)
Rose H

thrifty cook said...

awwww they are just toooo cute only sometimes. my husband says he had a raccoon for a pet when he was younger) i too had coons eat my chickens. and possoms. tooo sad--nature is not kind sometimes...