Our Furry Visitor

Which we caught dining out of the bird feeder on the porch. We’re going to have to do something about that. The little dude’s cute, but it’s only a matter of time before the dog will feel the need to try to hug it with her teeth. And that won’t end well for anyone.

46 Comments on “Our Furry Visitor”

  1. Domesticate the critter so he can join the dog and the cats among the Scalzi fold! I have loved racoons since childhood trips to the Dallas Zoo.

  2. you might want to check with animal control, too — raccoons are adorable but, at least in New England, are notorious carriers of rabies. Not that this guy looks like you’ll have to pull an Atticus Finch on him…

  3. Yeah, you don’t want the dog trying to attack that. Those things are much stronger and far, more nasty and violent than they look if they’re put in a position where they have to fight. Animal Control is probably the right thing to do.

    Gilmoure already won the thread, tho. :)

  4. We had a pair of those that had a litter in our walls. They got up through the crawlspace and nested in the space between a tub/shower unit and the outer wall. Destructive bastards.

    One of the litter was an albino. We saw it around for years.

  5. Raccoons like to leave well enough alone, but their feces often has nasty stuff in it. Just touching it can be fatal to humans. What’s more, they defecate right before they climb trees and such. Seriously dangerous for kids, too.

    So be careful. In Seattle they tell us to live with them and teach us how to do it safely. They don’t trap or remove them because a) there’s always another raccoon ready to move into that territory and b) there’s no where to put them where they wouldn’t be seen as invading another raccoon’s territory.

    Just sayin’

  6. What Harry said, and also note that those baby-brain-eating raccoon poop worms have been implicated not only in retardation but in several known deaths. Also too, no cure, no treatment even.

  7. Adorable, but evil. Definitely call animal control. Humans are some of the best things to happen to raccoons; we leave out all kinds of nice food for them (dog food = teh awesome!) that lets them have strong, healthy babies.

    And yes, they can and do kill dogs.

  8. Unfortunately, animal control might laugh at you if you call about a raccoon. Or the ones where we live would. They also laugh when people call about coyotes. Not bears though. At least they take those seriously. The way we got rid of the pesky beasts is we set up one of those automatic sprinklers. It’s a huge sprinkler and it will activate when there’s motion. So don’t let the dog or cats out at night. Figure out where the pesky beast likes to hang out. Raccoons hate getting hit with this. This thing shoots really hard, really fast. Saved our newly laid out sod from being rolled up one too many times. Raccoons love to roll up sod to find lots of bug goodies underneath. Not sure what it’s called exactly. I tried throwing a tennis ball at them from one of our windows once. I swear the thing laughed at me.

  9. P.S.–Yeah, don’t put the sprinkler on the porch. It might break a window.

  10. Feeding the birds is a huge industry, (literally billions of $$!) but un-necessary, especially at this time of year.

    You’re lucky you don’t live in a bear-infested area. I know the head wildlife biologist for this area, and he and his crew track several bears with radio/GPS collars. They can tell you who has the most bird feeders in this part of the state, just from studying their data!

  11. I had them in my attic and boy those things are noisy! And destructive–and more than willing to tangle with my “outside’ cat. It sounded as though the Saints were practicing up there. And they were not afraid of me! Not allowed to shoot them or poison them, but was finally advised to get a radio set up in the attic and broadcast loud, obnoxious music at ear-splitting levels all day long–since they did want to sleep during the day that finally did the trick.

  12. We’ve had our own little friend scurrying about our backyard and our dog is just as enthusiastic about giving it a teeth hug. Unfortunately for our dog, it’s a rabbit which has made it a habit to flee from large mammals with big teeth. Fortunately for us, rabbit learned pretty quick that this was not the best dining locale. Hopefully, your problem is solved pretty swiftly too.

  13. They (Scalzi & the raccoon) live in the country. Unless the critter is actively tearing out John’s throat I really doubt any animal control agency is going to get involved.
    Just invest in a different bird feeder. If the food source goes away, so will the beastie.

  14. A 22 between the eyes, a litle work, and Athena will have a neat hat. And I think in most of rural America that’s how they’d expect one to handle it.

  15. What’s Ohio’s stance on racoons? Can you legally put a cap in their ass?

    Big city living will likely preclude the insertion of said cap into said ass, but rural ohio?

    I’m thinking rural ohio animal control is one guy who covers the state and one other guy for Cincinatti. Both will chuckle and tell you they’ll get around to it sometime around december.

    Now, private industry in the form of commercial critter control, they will likely respond to sufficient money…

  16. Yeah, definitely keep the dog away. When I was a kid, one of those guys came into our dog’s fenced run — pretty sure it was hunting the cat — and our APBT tangled with it. The raccoon limped away and the dog was treated by the vet for nasty lacerations on her face. Tell Daisy to stick to bothering skunks.

  17. Some of your Amish neighbors may have some suggestions, but removing access to food is a good start.

  18. Dave H:

    Which is in fact what we did: I brought the bird feed into the house for the evening and will do so for the next several days.

  19. Check with animal control? What do people think animal control is going to do about a raccoon in rural Ohio? Call the National Guard? LOL.

    They are extremely cute critters, but cannot be allowed to move in with people. (And I know two raccoons that are doing just that, so this is an informed opinion.) We had to deal with one that was coming INTO our house to eat cat food recently. We couldn’t figure out why we were suddenly going through SO MUCH cat food. Closing the cat door at night resolved the issue, although the cats now grumble.

  20. I love the Midwest (as opposed to the Southwest). More stuff lives here. Hopefully Mr. Rocky Raccoon will be smart and continue living elsewhere.

  21. Raccoons are fabulous animals, but alas, they are often carriers of rabies as others have said. Also owners of some large canine teeth that most dogs don’t fare well against. You probably don’t want him/her hanging around your house as they are remarkably adept at opening things like window screens, doors, garbage cans, etc. Suggest moving feeders farther away, but better yet, get rid of it for now. Birds can find plenty to eat without the feeder in the summer. I don’t think there’s any need to resort to killing as others have suggested unless you suspect it is ill. From the picture, yours looks to be a very healthy specimen!

    I’ll confess to some bias: As a child I had one as a pet that I raised when I found a nest of orphaned ones – all dead but one. Racket was the best pet ever (though my mother did not usually agree.)

  22. I’ve long assumed that if anything happens to humans, raccoons are waiting patiently for their turn at the top of the evolutionary ladder. In fact, they might be behind global warming…

  23. I adore raccoons and wish at 18 that I’d known half of what I knew at 30 – I would have been a biologist specializing in raccoon research (much easier than bears, which would have been my second choice). Sadly, it is true that they can carry diseases, and that, pound for pound, they are the best hand-to-teeth combatants in the midwest. I knew a beagle that needed 200+ stitches to survive an attack from a raccoon, and that was with the dog’s owner needing to hit the raccoon with a cast iron frying pan to get it off the dog, in a fight that lasted less than 3 minutes.

  24. we had a raccoon who would come in through the cat door (back when we had one and would forget to lock it). He’d help himself to the cats’ food, washing it first in their water bowl. The cats would sit on the stairs and growl, but he was unmoved by this. I caught him one night and he just looked at me, still eating, before I chased him back out the door. The following night, we made sure the storm door was shut, but he went to the kitchen window and pulled off the screen. Left muddy footprints all over my counter and helped himself to the cat food again. So we shut THAT window over night. The NEXT night, he ripped the sliding door screen down. Our landlord didn’t believe us until I showed him the muddy footprints all over the glass and my counter top.

    We named him Aloysius.

  25. You might also try putting out an open ammonia bottle near where the feeder is, or just a couple of rags that have been doused with the stuff. They have very sensitive noses and the smell puts them right off. The combination should get him to leave a bit more quickly.

  26. Yeah, in Wyoming we usually wind up klling them because of the rabies factor – I doubt the one you have is rabid, but I would call animal control and see if they handle coons (as several people have suggested). It’s possible that they do not (I know in Illinois, animal control doesn’t in my county). If animal control doesn’t, I would call a reputable pest control company that guarantees control in keeping with your values (ie, if you want a relocate, find a company that will do a relocate and not kill the coon).

  27. Years ago I lived in an apartment complex that butted up against a grove of eucalyptus trees. Yes, this was in San Diego. One night I got home at around 11:30 and I interrupted a family of raccoons dining on a neighbor’s trash on their back porch. Unfortunately I had to walk right past that back porch to get to my apartment. One particularly aggressive raccoon chased me to my door. And yes, I totally dropped my keys as I was trying to unlock the door. I barely scooted inside in time. A couple minutes later, I opened the door to see if the little fucker was there, and yes, yes he was. He was sitting right on my doormat, waiting for me so he could claw my face off.

    In short, it’s a good idea to keep your dog away from the local raccoon population, for the benefit of everyone.

  28. I suppose that it’s better to live with the devil you know than some you don’t know. An electric fence of the same type you use for cattle may help you to scare that raccoon away – or at least keep a distance.

    Keep your eyes on it and if it’s getting too interested in your place maybe you should feed it with something drenched in Dave’s Insanity Sauce. Won’t harm, but will at least teach it a lesson to keep distance. B.t.w. birds are as far as I know not sensitive to the capsaicin that is what makes pepper hot. I’m not 100% sure, but it may prove for a way around the problem. See the wikipedia page for capsaicin.

    Living in the country means that you have to learn to live with some animals, but also find ways to make them keep a distance.

  29. +1 for the Nasty Critters contingent. We had one poaching some cat food left out for a stray that was hanging around. Attempts to scare him off were in vain, including firing point blank into the ground 6 inches away from him- he didn’t even flinch. We finally removed the food for good and he eventually quit coming around.

  30. Fer cryin’ out loud, some of you people. Breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes, read up on basic info and precautions, and try to be grateful that we haven’t wiped out all undomesticated life on the planet. Yet.

    Yearly human deaths in the US from rabies: 2 or 3.
    Yearly human deaths in the US from lightning strikes: ~40.
    Yearly human deaths in the US from motor vehicle accidents: ~30,000.
    (Estimated yearly raccoon deaths from motor vehicles: ~~15,000,000, extrapolated from a 1993 non-peer-reviewed study of road-kill in New England.)

    Yeah, sometimes they can be annoying neighbors. But think of the annoying neighbors that *they* have to deal with.

  31. bearpaw, I dunno man, if their poop worms eat brains and turn people into zombies, there is no cure, and the only know way to kill said worms is with a blowtorch, im thinking that is some serious shit right there, pun intended, and I think hatting his donkey isnt out of the range of plausible responses.

    especially for rural midwest…

  32. I usually do not advocate killing an animal out of hand, but with raccoons that come way too close to and comfortable around human habitation all bets are off. I also had problems with a mother with two cubs coming into my home and eating my cat’s food.

    After chasing them out (with much hissing, snarling, and grunting), they punched out a screen in my son’s room to get back to the food. After another chase to get them out again (with much hissing, snarling, and grunting), I had to not only nail up a hole that was about eight inches square, but put almost close the window in 90 degree weather to keep them out.

    My cat’s were extremely upset with this process as was I.

  33. Yeah, they’re cute until they start getting in your attic and waking you up every morning at 6 AM. Definitely not cute when the guy you paid $200 i spulling a seriously upset one out of your attic in a cage. Not anything like a Disney critter then.

  34. I’m from Arkansas and my dad used to raise dogs for hunting coon. Meanwhile, being the Ellie Mae Clampett of the family, I had three as pets. They are adorable…entertaining as heck, but not good pets. The ones I had were injured and nursed before released. And MAN can they tear up a dog that doesn’t know what it’s tangling with. A radio works to keep them out and as a bonus keeps the skunks out as well.

  35. Red pepper will discourage mammals from eating out of your bird feeder. Birds are immune to capsaicin, so they won’t even notice it. Doesn’t solve the larger problem, of course, but saves on birdseed.

  36. After reading this, my lady sent this to me. (Steve is my dogs name, and he HATES squirrels)

    If Steve were his dog, it would be more of a “I’ma show you ALL MY TEETH, squirrel!” then run like a spaz back to the door begging to get back inside before something makes a noise

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