I awakened around 3 am last night to a large racket inside our house. Being the only one there at the time, it didn’t take long for even my groggy brain to understand that there was an intruder. Actually it sounded like a large gang of clumsy intruders, perhaps those who flunked Stealth in burglary school.
Although I sensed a problem quickly, it took me a longer time to get my body to move to do anything about it. How many were there? Mightn’t a wise response be to pull the covers over my head? Probably the best response would have been to call 911, but in my state I couldn’t think that far.
So, I pulled on some shorts and moved cautiously in the direction of the last sound I’d heard. I was relieved, and then distressed, to see the large screen from a skylight lying on the floor. This meant I was probably dealing with a raccoon and not a person. On the other hand, I didn’t relish dealing with a raccoon at that time of night, either.
I then saw that a large, iron plant stand had been toppled, breaking pottery and seashells. But there was no raccoon. I moved to our dining room, where I saw that he/she/they had upended a candle chandelier. But where was the culprit? There was no sign of the offender, so I started systematically searching, closing off each room once I’d determined that it was intruder-free. Finally, I found him, pretending to be a bear rug next to the fireplace. I say “him” not based on a close inspection, but because he was huge! It’s no wonder that he managed to force the screen through.
By now, I was mostly awake, but also clueless about what to do next. I had a broom, and considered a frontal attack, but then remembered that he might carry rabies or distemper, not to mention large teeth and claws. I tried reasoning with him, but he just stared back at me. Finally, I decided on a lure-him-out approach. I cut up an apple and left sections, one near him and others 10 feet apart leading to the front door, which I’d propped open, and then some on the porch. It did occur to me that I’d just created a delightful invitation for his buddies to come join him. Still, it seemed worth the risk.
Despite all the apple sections, he just stared back. I couldn’t tell whether he was hurt or just frightened. I know I was the latter and worried about the former.
I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t move while I was standing there. So I went upstairs and then online, checking out phone numbers for animal control and websites on raccoon management. I came down to check on him, but still no movement. I did it again a half hour later. And again. That probably slowed the process, because the next check showed that he had left. Or at least left his fireplace rug position.
I closed up and went to bed. I made sure the bedroom door was firmly shut, because I wasn’t convinced that he was really gone, or that he was the only one.
Morning showed that the evacuation procedure had worked. But it also revealed that he’d made an amazing mess in a short time. There was raccoon scat in two different places. Objects were overturned. raccoon scratches and smell everywhere.
I’m sure that my nighttime visitor was from the clan that earlier invaded our pool house. They had cut a hole in the roof on the back side where it was hidden by trees. They then settled in to a project of chewing rafters, destroying electrical work, and embedding their odor in the wood. It took a major construction job to recover from that.
This visit was probably notice that if we close off one option, they can just move in to share our quarters. I don’t know what they have planned next, but I’ll be ready.