Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Little Rascals

Remember these three amigos?  I posted about them here at my blog a couple of months ago.

Well, they're all grown up and making pests of themselves in my yard.  They've chosen a slight depression under a tree in my backyard and are using it as their campsite at night.  Their sleep and play and digging has matted down and killed an oval-shaped spot of grass in that spot.

Then, night before last, they managed to get up on the roof of my house - I think they shimmied up the drain spout, from the sounds they were making - and thumped around and played hide-and-seek up there for hours.  The cat was beyond distraught, and I was wishing I had a shotgun.  I went outside with a flashlight and walked around the house, eventually finding them playing on one of the roof ridges at the front of the house.  They froze mid-play when I trained the flashlight on them. 

So I stopped by our property management office the next day to request a couple of traps, which were delivered later in the afternoon.  That night I baited them with tuna fish and chunks of banana and then went to bed.  When I awoke this morning, it was still dark.   I wanted to get a long run in before it got too light out, but before I started, my curiosity got the better of me, so I grabbed the flashlight and went out the back door to peek at the traps...no critters.

Returning from my long run, I walked around to the back to check the traps again in daylight.  I wanted to see if there was any evidence of them taking the bait.  My treacherous plans had been foiled!!  The bait was gone, the traps were "unsprung!"

Readers of my blog may recall my previous attempts to trap the pair of raccoons that were terrorizing my back yard last year.  They were no doubt the parents of the trio that are now terrorizing my back yard this year.  I was not successful trapping either of those racoons but did manage to trap a large opossum.    But the trap at the time was a slightly different design.  In that case, the trap was sprung near the entrance, when the weight of the animal tripped the latch on the door and it closes behind the animal.

These traps are different.  The trip mechanism is at the rear of the trap.  The animal must travel all the way into the trap and go all the way to the back.  An animal that is facile at backing up can very easily get into the trap, retrieve the food, and then back out, without tripping it.   These clever raccoons, with their dextrous front paws, were able to get in, grab the food, and get out.   Well, at least they have figured out that the traps equal treats.  So I've re-baited them, only this time I've put the food up against the back wall so that the raccoons must go all the way in.  If they do, they'll step on the plate and that should trigger the trap.  We hope.

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