We were almost overwhelmed with excitement as we moved into our urban historic house with years of restoration plans to backfill our recent retirement freedom. The move could not have been smoother and even our adult children who had been raised over 25 years in our previous country home were happy to see us in a new setting with new challenges.
The very first evening Max barked as we could hear noises in the night and the next morning they were there – 8 in total, 3 large ring leaders and 5 followers.
These masked marauders looked cute and cuddly and for a short time were somewhat entertaining, but we soon learned that this was the calm before the storm and the raccoon mafia should not be underestimated. Before we knew it, we had an $800 vet bill and were unable to peacefully spend time in the back yard to BBQ or doing anything for that matter. According to our neighbours …. “oh yes they are a real problem” one having had similar vet bills … “just keep your eyes open and you will get used to them”.
According to the local pest control company the only way to get rid of these thugs was to find their den and close it off requiring the mob to move on and hopefully out of the vicinity. What surprised us was the regulations around live trapping in Ontario Canada as their relocation had to be within one kilometer to protect the animals from territorial fighting, separating young raccoons (kids) from mother and father and stress. The problem is they would be back the next day.
After careful monitoring we were able to determine that the den was a hole under our neighbor’s garage immediately on the other side of our wooden fence. We decided we would fill in the hole once we had caused the terrorists to move on.
I wouldn’t say I am a member of Greenpeace but I have always had respect for any kind of life form – excluding spiders of course. So we ignored suggestions of poison and the use of a pellet gun which would both be dangerous for the area and simply beyond our norms. It also reminded me of the first time we trapped a mouse in our old house – my daughter did not speak to me for days requiring live traps only from that day forward, but a word of caution – just don’t drop one in your car during the relocation process.
We decided to try a number of home remedies readily available on the Net which supposedly would send the mob packing. These efforts, and sometimes in combination included:
- Leave bright lights on outside all night while playing a loud radio —– a few sleepless nights and no solution here.
- Various potions of ammonia, cayenne pepper, predator urine and even moth balls poured around the areas they frequent would be sure to rid them —- did not work but did make many of our neighbors nervous.
- We even sprayed the critters with the garden hose, but the mob simply whisked away only to return as soon as the hose was gone —– admittedly this was the most fun!
Perhaps these methods were good deterrents but were not effective supporting a coup-de-tat. After much debate, we decided to capture the entire family of raccoons and relocate to their natural habitat.
Capturing was kinda fun. If you need to capture a raccoon we have determined that the best bait in the world is an open can of tuna. One by one we captured each and every rascal and transported to their new home all in one evening. We could hardly set the trap and get back into the house before we could see another eating his new found delight and what started on a Friday evening was complete by 2:30 am Saturday Morning – caught and relocated the entire family to the same location.
Following our success we tore down the fence and patched the hole in our neighbours garage foundation – that was two years ago and we haven’t had a critter back since.
Max now rests comfortably at night!