Saturday, February 9, 2013

Block party or crime report?

I did not take photos. The activities in question wouldn’t be suitable for a general readership blog.

I found out about the party at 9:30 when the noises of festivity in the street reached upstairs where I sat reading. The dogs did not react until I ran downstairs, grabbed a flashlight, and dodged around them to reach the front door, at which time they helpfully began barking to let me know that something interesting was going on. Imagine their misery, especially party guy Miró’s, when I stuffed them back inside as I closed the door after me.

The sounds were a screeching and a skittering, a growling and chattering, accompanied by dogs’ barking from the two houses in the neighborhood where dogs are left outside at all hours and in all weather. You know the word for that: neglect.

Without the unearthly wailing that cats make, the culprits had to be raccoons. My flashlight located them in the driveway next door, just on the other side of the fence and line of trees that border my yard. Suddenly stilled, four golden eyes reflected the light. They had not been fighting. I hadn’t known raccoon jollies were so noisy.

I really, really didn’t like the idea of there being more of these vicious animals in the area, but there was nothing I could do. Returning to my front porch, I heard the noises resume, followed by a crash and clatter that meant they’d overturned the garbage cans, a noise that finally prompted the householders to open their door.

I don’t know how far raccoons travel, if they live in that neighbor’s yard or if they just use the driveway as part of their freeway system, but I’ve seen raccoons on that property several times before. Each time I worry that the raccoons will climb the fence into my yard and get at the chickens or be here when the dogs are out, an equally bad scenario. Like any thief, a determined raccoon will break in; the best you can do is set up deterrents to make them feel that breaking in isn’t worth the bother. Note to self: encourage dogs to pee along the fence line.


  1. Don't even get me started about raccoons..there is no love lost for them in this household. I used to have a lovely pond with fish, fish which we enjoyed until they reached a certain size. Then we would go out and see the mess in the pond..the slashed plants and fish scales everywhere...ugh..they are nasty creatures. We tried all sorts of things to no avail and so after about three tries, we gave up...Nasty raccoons!

  2. Yikes! Raccoons can be nasty indeed. I have not see any in my hood. Protect your chickens for sure. I think the hounds can take out those stinkers....but best NOT to find out!

    We see a fox every once in a while. My neighbor said she found a dead kitty on in our back yard (prior to fence and Violet). She is sure the fox got it but maybe a raccoon.

    I feel bad sometimes for these animals because of all the building in the area they have no where to go. Every year, it seems, in very populate New Jersey they kill a black bear because it's in the neighborhood.

    So sad.


  3. Best of luck with that. Stanzie hates Raccoons to the core and has had too many encounters and trips to the vet. We cannot let her in the yard after dark now, leash only. We do not have any poultry or feed as attractants, but they come for the pond and the garden...Bad Raccoons!


  4. We hope your chickens are safe and you could get to sleep! Surprisingly, we don't seem many coons in our yard.

    Love ya lots
    Mitch and Molly

  5. Raccoons are so mischievous. I remember a whole family of them trying to get into my apartment years ago. They were checking every window (my angel cat Graphite was NOT impressed!).

  6. Fortunately we don't have them in the UK. They sound quite scary and very destructive creatures.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Those raccoons sound like trouble to us. Sure hope they don't come over to your yard and scare(or worse) you chickens. So far we've never run into any raccoons at our place up north, but before we were born the folks had a raccoon experience. Mom was alone up north in a rented cabin on a creek. Mom's 18# Persian cat, Chuck, was asleep in the screened window. A sudden scream awoke Mom at around 3am and she ran to the window. NO Chuck. AND, the screen was laying on the living room floor. Afraid of what she might find, she grabbed a flashlight and went outside looking under the deck. She saw those glowing eyes you mention, on a coon the size of a bear cub. Mom started crying and calling Chuck's name and praying at the same time. She ran inside and called Daddy in AZ to tell him that Chuck was missing and possibly eaten by a raccoon. Just about then Chuck peeked his head around the corner from the bedroom! With the morning light the crime scene revealed raccoon fur on the floor and NO cat fur. Chuck ended up with an infected cheek from where the coon got him, but he didn't loose any hair!! bol. If Chuck were still alive we'd send him to your house to protect you and the chickens!!
    Smooches from pooches,
    BabyRD & Hootie

    1. That is one amazing story. A scream at 3 am? Missing screen? It's like a horror movie! But Chuck must have been one fabulous cat.