It’s hard to imagine, but yesterday I captured raccoon number seven in one of our live traps. Our 15 acres is not particularly large as farms go, and our Storage Barn is fairly small when compared to our neighbor’s structures, yet it is obviously a hit with the neighborhood wildlife — at least the raccoons!
This most recent captive was a young one — probably the smallest of the seven this year. Like all of the rest, it was terrified of its situation in the trap, but unlike the others, this little one found a way to avoid having to face what came next. Whenever I would approach the trap, it would roll up into a tight ball with its head tucked down near its rear legs, and its front legs over the top of its head. In this position, it couldn’t see what was happening – sort of the raccoon version of the ostrich hiding its head in the sand. Honestly, it made me even more aware of how scary this whole experience must be for this poor young creature who was only looking for food, water and shelter — all of which are provided to the barn cats in our Storage Barn.
Yet I cannot allow these cute little raccoons to make their home in my barn. As cute as they are when small, they grow up to become large and often vicious adults, who in past years have eaten our chickens and cats, and laid waste to the many things we store in the barn. Yes, the young ones are cute. But like all babies, they grow up too quickly and become adults with their own agendas. For our raccoons, that includes wreaking havoc in the barns — something I just can’t abide.
So like numbers one through six, this little one got a free ride to the nearby wildlife refuge, a heavily wooded area next to a good-sized creek. As soon as I set the trap into the grass, Number Seven uncurled from his head-hiding position and quickly turned towards the escape door. I barely got the door raised an inch before my young captive wriggled out of the opening and ran off into the undergrowth, following the same path as the many others I have released there. As this little one scurried out of sight, I called after it to look for its mother and siblings — who were likely hanging around nearby — but it was gone, eager to leave the nightmare of capture behind.
I once again hope that this is the last raccoon for this year, but I can’t help but wonder whether there will be more. Since each litter can have up to five kits — and I’ve now trapped two different adults this year — there could still be more young ones left if they are coming from two different litters. I guess I’ll have to continue resetting my traps to see whether there are any more “relocation volunteers” waiting for me during my morning chores. I’ll let you know!