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A Raccoon Tale

In mid January we realized that a Mama raccoon had taken up residency in our attic. We were making arrangements to humanely remove her when we heard the squeaking of babies. We read up on the breeding habits of raccoons and found out that raccoon moms have between one and seven babies and that if you try to move them in the first eight weeks the babies will likely die. So we accepted their tenancy for the next ten weeks. Lots of scurrying feet, chirping and mewling was heard as they grew older.

Last Sunday we had a one way door installed at their front entrance and on Monday morning we saw Mama raccoon casing the joint trying unsuccessfully to find an entry point. She even approached the front door where I calmly explained to her that she couldn't come in. The kids asked if she understood English and I assured them she knew what I was saying. We figured she and the babies had been out foraging and now couldn't get back inside. All was good.

The problem became apparent that evening when we heard babies in the attic mewling. The next day we re-opened the door hoping that Mama would return to retrieve her babies. But she didn't come back on Tuesday...or Wednesday...or Thursday...or Friday. By Saturday the chirping was continuing but the sound had migrated to the vent right above our front door.

We opened the vent up and saw a baby raccoon stick his cute little head out, eyes wide open. We were talking with him, trying to convince him to come down into a cardboard box with a heating pad, blankets, cut apples and some tuna when another little head poked out of the vent. There were two baby raccoons! One of them dropped down into our cardboard box, licked one of the apples, and curled up against the heating pad and fell fast asleep. The other one wouldn't come down...then we saw two heads poke through the vent above the door. There were three babies!

The little one that accepted our hospitality was perfectly content to sleep for about two hours. The other two stayed in the vent. Around dusk our guest started to talk and get out of the box. He became increasingly active and vocal and we were trying to put him back into the box when we heard someone respond to him in the bush. Mama raccoon was back for her babies!

We skedaddled inside while Mama collected all three of her babies and relocated them to a spot in the woods. Before departing, she scarfed down the tuna and ate the apples.

We are relieved and delighted that the babies were reunited with their Mama. We hope to see them around the yard in the coming months. In the meantime, we have some work to do to close up the entry points so Mama doesn't return as our tenant next year.

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