I don’t want these neighbors!

I’m not always the brightest bulb in the pack. Sometimes I need a few clues to catch on to what’s going on. Like last weekend when I saw the remains of a small furry animal in the mulch bed behind my house. It’s face was unrecognizable at the point I found it, but I noticed it had a tail – not a rodent or squirrel tail, but I couldn’t quite tell what kind. Despite living with an avid outdoorsman who taught me more than I ever wanted to know about the circle of life, I was grossed out at seeing a carcass becoming one with the earth, so I didn’t look any closer. Took the shovel from the garage, flung it into the wooded area nearby and forgot all about it.

Today after spending the afternoon at the pool, the kids and I were hanging out on the deck. I must have gone inside to get dinner ready when T-Rex mentioned something about seeing a raccoon go by, but wouldn’t explain any further. An hour or so later I went inside to clean up after dinner and looked out to see them pointing through the floorboards to something underneath the deck. Being the imbecile I am, I continued to clean up. Earth to Susan! Hello? You see where this is going, don’t you? The kids started tossing a frisbee Aha!around out back until I heard them chattering again about a raccoon. A raccoon under the deck. No, actually a raccoon in a crawl space under the house next to the deck.

I got down and from a distance looked where there’s a gap between the mulch and the bottom of my house under the family room window. A masked face stared back at me. No anger, no aggression, just on alert, wondering what I’m going to do. And that’s when from the corner of my eye I caught sight of 2 little masked marauders making their way under the deck towards her.

Shit. A family. I then remembered seeing what may have been rings around that little carcass’ tail. Eew.

So, tell me: has anyone ever had to get rid of racoons living under a deck or house? I read online that loud noise, rags covered with ammonia and coyote urine spray will get rid of them. As for the coyote urine, that’s right up The Ex’s alley, so I’ll ask him about that. Do you have any other suggestions on how to get them to move out? I’ve already warned the kids that they can carry disease (T-Rex: “what does that mean?”) and to stay away from them (Drama Girl: “Aw, but they’re so cute”) and me: “for God’s sake, don’t leave any food around or drop it under the deck!”

Go Away!


13 thoughts on “I don’t want these neighbors!

  1. Suggestion for an alternative title to this post: “Don’t You Be My Neighbor!”

    Unfortunately I have no great suggestions for getting rid of raccoons. You’ll need to remove all potential food: make sure your garbage is secure (they can chew through plastic, and they can open latches), fence off your garden if you have one.

    If you or a neighbor has a pond, you’ve got a bigger issue.

    The times when I’ve had raccoons around the house, the garbage was always the biggest problem, but one that could be solved with better trash cans and with remembering to put the lid on tightly. A pond is more problematic because you can’t protect it from the raccoons. They’re quite fond of water, and of the frogs and fish that live in water.

  2. Thanks, Cindy. No ponds around, just a bunch of townhouses, and the garbage cans are pretty secure, only going out one time a week. I think mama r. just likes having a cozy den to raise her young ‘uns down there, which is fine and all BUT GET OUT, I TELL YOU, GET. OUT. I have visions of a colony (do they live in colonies?) under there hosting dance parties before the summer is out. Ps. Like your title much better!

  3. curt says:

    I’m with cynthia — when I read the title of this post, I was hoping not to find a story about me! 😉

    anyhoo, I have to laugh — for another reason related to your post here. just yesterday morning, as my eyes were fuzzy from lack of sleep and contacts or eyeglasses, I was looking out my back sliding glass door when I heard this REALLY high-pitched screaming coming from the side of the deck. rufus the yellow lab looked at me like, “WTF?”

    so, I looked out, fuzzily, and saw some sort of critter/varmint scurrying around out there. so, armed with the long piece of wood that I use as my sliding glass door stopper, I ventured out onto the deck just to see him looking up at me from the foot of my deck stairs. I still couldn’t tell exactly what the hell he was, so I chased him until he ran around my building.

    furry bastard.

    if I see him again, he’s going down. which reminds me — where is my softball bat?

  4. Tom L says:

    Back in the Montvale days, we took a short bungee cord and strapped it over the barrel tops (from handle to handle) so they couldn’t remove the lid. Which takes us to this point, the same with bugs in my apt. building or critters in the suburbs: make it easier to go to the neighbors house than for them to make their way into mine. I bring you this selfish moment…

  5. Sheri says:

    I thought for sure this would be an article I could relate to. I’m ready to get rid of our neighbor, however it is a critter of the human kind that you cannot remove with coyote urine, let alone any kind of urine. Very much like a raccoon, he leaves his trash everywhere and manages to stink up the place. He digs holes around his house and manages to shack up with different female species on occasion. Are we really so different??

    P.S. I guess this now explains my love for FarSide cartoons.

  6. So what was that carcass? The father?

    I am also partnered with a man who is a member of the NRA, who likes fishing and sees “guns” the way a child would see “teddy bear.”

    Last week he was driving us somewhere when we ran over this possum. I have never driven over an animal. There was a hideous bump. He, however, kept driving.

  7. Sophie says:

    I have no idea; I wish I did to help you out. In such circumstances, I usually decide that outsourcing is the best, and I call The Experts. Have you looked in the Yellow Pages yet? Hmmmm… what category would that be under… Pest control… Neighbors, exterminate… Animal (tho’ cute) removal…

  8. Hi, all. Thanks for your tips and empathy. I really have nothing against raccoons, but I’m living in a state of high alert (orange, not red) worried that they will somehow find their way into my house, or that I’ll never be able to open my patio door again without having a new guest rip through the screen and pull up a chair at the dinner table. (If they could help me cook, I might reconsider.) Anyway, bought some Critter Ridder at Lowe’s. It’s not supposed to kill them or anything; only repel them with the odor and taste of black pepper. I figured I’d wait until the weekend and then spray it around. That will give the babies a chance to gain some strength before they have to high-tail it out of there.

    BTW, Mamcita, the carcass I found was another baby r. that didn’t make it.

    So if the Critter Ridder doesn’t work, I’ll evaluate other options. More details on suburban wildlife than I’m sure you want to know, but there it is.

    PS. Sheri, I’ll be sure to tell you whether the Critter Ridder works, but I’m pretty sure the label said it would be harmful to humans. Now don’t let me catch you running out to buy some!

  9. Chris says:

    My parents had raccoons in their back yard – eating it – they call a pet externinator of sorts who trapped the raccoons and let them go somewhere else (or at least that’s what they told her as she is a HUGE softee for all animals).

    The other stuff they tried – from the hardware stores – never worked. Actually more came because of whatever they used because they ended up liking it.

    Good luck!!

  10. curt says:

    breaking news on the neighborhood raccoon invasion.

    I have spoken to a few more of our neighbors. and, supposedly:

    – the varmints are here because one of our neighbors was feeding them. if true, this neighbor should be held in the gazebo so that we can throw rocks at him/her.
    – a few of the raccoons were spotted down at a nearby house here in the ‘hood and, when the homeowner saw them, he called the police, who promptly responded and shot one of them dead. the responding police officer said that where we live is “infested” with raccoons.
    – one of our neighbors was bitten by a raccoon that was supposedly rabid.

    take that as you will.

    for me, I think that it’s very unusual for these rodents, which are habitually nocturnal, to be so active during the day. and, they are very brazen — at least, the satanic one I came in contact with a couple of weeks ago was.

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