Well, this pattern of being awakened at 4 am or 5 am continued for days. Always in the middle of the night. And then it stopped. Just as suddenly as it started. I forgot about it completely. I guessed that the squirrel had taken off for greener pastures.
Then a couple weeks later, there it was again. Scratch, scratch, scrrrrrrratch. Dogs going nuts. Now it became an every night occurrence until finally one night I was so pissed off I grabbed a flashlight and a ladder and climbed up into the crawl space in my closet, which is the entry to the attic. I was spewing cuss words all the way up the ladder. At the top of the ladder with my head poking up into the attic, I looked around. And about six feet away from me,
Here's what I saw:
NOT this cute little thang:
Or this adorable baby:
I stupidly thought that I could "shoo" it away and that shining a flashlight into its face would scare it into fleeing and the raccoon would never been seen again. Ha! Was I naive.
What actually happened was the raccoon look at me with a very blank expression on his face as if to say, "whaaaaaat?" After bitching him out (yeah, he was intimidated, I'm sure ....), I closed the door, climbed back down the ladder and went back to bed. I certainly wasn't going to try to catch a raccoon in my attic, by myself, in the middle of the night. But at least now I knew what I was dealing with.
I went back to sleep and dreamed about my little visitor:
The next day I called a humane wildlife capture service but they couldn't come out for a couple days. Apparently I wasn't the only house in Austin where raccoons were taking up residence.
Now he started to get more bold and was walking around in the attic during the day, making his raccoon noises. I could hear him crawling around above my head in my office (I work from home). It was like he was stalking me in my own house. Scratch, scratch, scrrrrrrratch. Scratch, scratch, scrrrrrrratch.Thump, thump, thump. Scratch, scratch, scrrrrrrratch.
The wildlife capture people came out and since their trap couldn't fit through the attic opening, they set it next to the house. Um, yeah. Like that's gonna work. "Oh don't worry ... this will get him," the guy told me. "They love wet cat food and I put a can of it in the back of the trap so you should have something in there tomorrow and then we'll come by and pick it up and take it out somewhere and release it. Problem solved." Well, the only thing that trap caught was my friend's new puppy when she got a little too curious about the cat food. Good thing it was a humane trap.
So, the trap was a complete and utter failure. We couldn't figure out where the raccoon was getting in, so it was hard to place the trap at the entry point. Several more days went by until ...
I was jolted awake around 4 or 5 am (it was still pitch dark out) by a loud crashing noise followed by more strange noises. But the noises weren't in the attic. They were IN MY BEDROOM. I saw something dark dart across the room and run UNDER MY BED. I quickly grabbed the dogs and closed them in another bedroom and grabbed a flashlight. I bent down and looked under my bed and here's what was looking back at me:
And it was UNDER MY BED, GROWLING AT ME! I called a neighbor who lives two doors down and he ran down in his robe. What ensued could have been a scene from a movie. My neighbor and me chasing this raccoon around my house with a broom at 4 am with the dogs going completely nuts in the bedroom. We chased it into the den where it scaled walls and bookcases and windows, toppling over all my knickknacks and whatever else got in its way. Finally we opened the front door (genius idea and it wasn't mine but my neighbor's) and the raccoon ran out the door and was gone. He even used the front walk.
I later figured out that the raccoon had been walking around in the attic when it apparently fell through my A/C closet and down the shaft. Its body weight hit the inside of the closet door, knocking it open. And depositing the raccoon into my house, right outside my bedroom.
Luckily, the next day I was able to locate a hole in the ground where I thought the raccoon was gaining access. I made sure the raccoon was NOT up in the attic again and then closed up the hole. My little late night visitor was never heard from or seen again. At least not by me.
Animals Matter. Yeah, even raccoons that invade my home. Raccoons play an important role by keeping down rat and insect populations. If you have the same problem, please don't set out poison or try to shoot the raccoon. You can call a humane animal capture agency and they'll help you "relocate" your visitor. And please make sure there aren't baby raccoons left behind.