A human's got my baby!

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We'd been hearing some weird noises coming from the ceiling over the past few days, and concluded that something was living up there. In Australia of course, it would be possums. But apperantly in Canada, those roof-dwelling pests are more likely to be raccoons. We'd heard lots of stories about raccoons, stories about how annoying and troublesome they are, how they get into your garbage and make a mess, and just how clever the little buggers are! The two things the 'coons have that a lot of other animals don't, it seems, is a good deal of intelligence, and an opposing thumb. These two factors make the raccoon quite the pest... not only can open things, like doors and jars, but they can use their intelligence to reason out ways to do so. Heidi's brother Perry was telling us a story about some people he knew who kept finding a mess inside their locked garage at night... after some investigating, it turns out the 'coons had worked out where the garage door opener was located, and had been opening the door at night, letting themselves in to play in the trash, and then closing the door again on the way out! Now that's much smarter than our dumb possums!

Anyway, it became obvious that we had a raccoon living upstairs in the roofspace. In fact, maybe more than one. Since Dave and Heidi were travelling in Tasmania at the time, we contacted Heidi's mum, who in turn contacted Perry, who in turn arranged to have a raccoon removal team come and do their thing. Long story short, it seems that mum raccoon had given birth to a litter of five babies. (By the way, raccoon babies are called kits). The strategy for removal, apparently, is to kidnap the babies and place them in a box on top of the roof, put a one-way door over the exit, and wait for momma raccoon to come to their rescue during the still of night. Once out of the attic, the one-way door stops mum and the babies from returning so she takes her family and finds somewhere a little more welcoming to take up residence. Problem solved, thank you very much.

Or at least it should have been problem solved. Momma raccoon was a bit more determined than that however. She must have really liked the roofspace in this particular house, because she was determined to get back in, one way or another... when she couldn't return via the hole in the roof (because of the one-way door), she climbed the brickwork, reached up with her little opposing thumb and simply removed a piece of the eave, and went back inside. Four of the kits had been taken from the box on the roof, but one poor little thing was abandoned and left there. We think mum just ran out of energy to come back for him.

Next day when the pest removal guys came back to check, they were amazed at how resourceful this little mother was. They didn't want to seal up the eave just yet in case they had actually returned to the ceiling, so they put a second one-way door over the eave entrance and suggested we leave it a few days to see what happens. As it turns out, the roof is quiet again, so we can only assume that our furry visitors have packed up and moved on to greener pastures.

The next day, Tim, a friend of Dave's, dropped around to patch up the hole in the roof that the little buggers had made. Oh, and if you're wondering what happened to the little orphan 'coon, the pest control guys came and took him away - apparently they were going to put him in with another litter of kits at a different house on the other side of Oakville, where someone else was having the same problem. I'm sure that moving the raccoons on to another place is the humane solution, but as a business model, it seems to me that the raccoons are not the only intelligent ones!

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