Friday, June 12, 2009

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Worse, things that go "munch" in the night! Since the two or three night raids on the gardens a couple of weeks back we haven't had any more trouble, although something upended and emptied a neighbour's recycling fountain a few nights ago, and the pump burned out.

The big live catch trap has been sitting about six feet from the back end of our trailer for those couple of weeks, and hadn't caught anything. That changed at 11:45 last night when we heard a clang! and some very vigorous cage rattling.
We couldn't see what was in the trap from inside so we got the flashlight and went outside to have a look.

Here ya go... although this was taken this morning. I'd say a 10-12 pound raccoon. It snarled and growled and threatened and we decided to go in and leave it in peace. But the racket would have awakened any dead who happened to be nearby. So, with hopes that it (and we) might sleep if it had a full stomach I cut a half of a sweet potato into strips, opened a five ounce can of turkey and giblets cat food and took it outside. Though the coon threatened to do me serious injury I managed to poke the sweet potato strips inside and spoon the cat food through the wire onto the metal floor.

The cage had a 1/4 thick piece of plywood laid over the floor, about 12" x 20". We could hear the raccoon ripping this plywood apart as it growled. Eventually I heard munching and the scent of sweet potato drifted through the window. Things got a bit (but not a lot) quieter. We closed the window and turned on the fan to mask the noise, and at about 2:30 I finally went to sleep.

This morning when I went out at 7:00 the coon was sound asleep in her cage. She woke as I approached, but didn't growl at me. I took a couple of pictures and fed it more sweet potato and cat food. Also tried to give it water, as I imagine ripping up that much plywood would work up a powerful thirst.

Catherine arrived and covered the cage with an old sheet, and as the sun moved around, she moved the cage to a sheltered, shady position while we waited for the fellow to arrive to pick the coon up for relocation. He came, rebaited the trap, put down a new plywood floor and said we may catch this one's mate.

The one we caught is a female, and he said he could tell she'd had kits this year. While she may not have any surviving kits I hate the thought of little baby coons on their own too early. They might be weaned by now, but would be easy prey for the coyotes, eagles and hawks. Still there's no way you can allow a coon to roam a campground like this. It's too dangerous for tenters, and the pets people tie and leave while they go to the beach or town. Nature and man collide violently all the time, sadly. While the Mama coon will be relocated to a lake farther up in the mountains, all we can hope now is that the young ones will follow her scent here and be caught themselves, so they can be reunited.

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