Just as an FYI, I am having a party at my house tomorrow, so instead of cleaning and preparing I thought I should blog. Forever the procrastinator.
I was SHOCKED how many messages I was sent about this happening to other people. Kinda glad it's not just me, but freaked out that it's so common. This whole "things living in my attic/walls." If you don't know, you can read part one of this story titled "I Am Not Alone" HERE.
Well, I was right. We had a momma raccoon and her 5 BABIES living with us. See how that is in past tense? For that I am thankful. I am also crazy thankful that they are ALL still living! Thank you A1 Wildlife Services! This was quite an ordeal. It took them an hour and a half to get them all out.
There were a lot of "ifs" involved and plans.
If we can get to the babies...
If the mom is with them....
If she runs away....
If she hides in the attic....
If she puts up a fight....
If we can get her in the first 24 hours...
If, if, if....there were a lot more of these ifs...
Anyway, they did have to cut into my walls/ceilings to get to them. Here's how it went down:
Wildlife Wrangler Steven and his partner Alex carried their supplies to the attic. To include saws, poles, cages, scopes, nets, etc. Later they also asked for a coat hanger. So they were armed. I kept my distance. I was nervous. I also had my little Roo home sick from school. This meant 2 things. 1, she would be in on all the action and 2, she would be traumatized if things didn't go well. I would be too. It was a good day to be home.
We heard lots of pounding, sawing, ruckus in general. We sat anxiously downstairs waiting for the results. They would run downstairs and out to their trucks to grab something every so often. We would get bits and pieces of information along the way. Like 3 babies, now 4 babies, wait 5 babies! She's in the nest with them. We have her cornered. She's curled up in a ball. We can't get the catch pole on her. She's putting up quite a fight. The babies are young, haven't opened their eyes yet. (so cute by the way.) It was like a play by play. But it was as if we were listening to it on the radio instead of watching it on TV. Sitting on the edge of our seats the whole time.
Then it happened.
Steven came down the stairs with a net on a pole.
In the net? 5 babies. Squirming, eyes closed, whining babies. Cutest raccoon babies you ever did see.
They were all fine. Thank goodness! Roo was so excited to see them. We took lots of pictures to show her sister and her dad.
Next they took them outside to put them in a cage.
Down came momma in another cage.
They put the 2 doors next to each other and the momma joined her babies. HOORAY!!
He put them in a shady spot.
There was also this other little "matter" they had to tend to.
Like, in another wall I had 4 other animals. They were, let's call them "expired." Not cool. Apparently also raccoons. Apparently also not from this year. Probably from before we moved in, or we would have smelled them. Awesome. Here's the theory: Momma raccoon really likes our house and she nests here every year. There is the possibility that where she nests (between the ceiling and attic floor) has opportunities for the babies to crawl around and accidentally fall down the empty walls where she can't get to them and they can't get out :( I am having Scott cover all the empty walls. He's thrilled. It's just in case. I can't keep reliving this. Anyway. They had to cut my walls open to get the "expired" 4 out.
What does this all equate to? Repairs and dollars. Sheet rock repair, paint, etc. All over several days. Plus the weekend was involved, so that's more time. Did I mention that this was taking place in my work/craft/catchall/hideout room? The one I had just painted? Of course it was. I was actually thankful that if it had to happen, it happened in a room we were renovating. Would have been even worse if it was in one of the finished rooms. I also told Wildlife Wrangler Steven that they had to at least patch my walls before they left. Now that I knew "things" could get in my attic, I didn't want them having an interstate into my actual house! Freaking out! So they were very sweet and hooked me up. Probably thought I was a total lunatic. Which I was. A little bit.
During this time, my friend Lynn brought Hazelmonkey home from school. WW Steven was nice enough to show them our roommates and a couple of baby squirrels he had wrangled from another attic earlier that day. They were so excited. It was like a petting zoo, only you can't pet them or even get your hands near the cages for that matter. So, I guess it wasn't really like a petting zoo at all except for the whole animal part.
As my new heroes prepared to leave, I started feeling a little desperate. Desperate for them to found the entrance the momma used to get in. He said this is the first time in his 7 years of doing this that he hadn't found the entrance. I didn't want to be his new statistic. I was told that it was probably the size of a grapefruit. That shouldn't be that hard to find! AAAAHHHHH!!! I started to sweat, I started to pray, I was frantic. Panic set in. I didn't want them to leave me alone with a giant hole into my attic for all the neighboring animals to come and go as they please. Help me Wildlife Wrangler Steven!!!!
And then it happened. They took one last stroll up on the roof. And the stars aligned. They found her entrance. We cheered and rejoiced from the ground as we stared at our saviors! They sheet metaled (pretty sure that's a verb) it right up and all was well with the world.
And they were off
Now, while I still worry about getting new roomies up in the attic, we are all resting a little easier tonight. They have a very special release technique that helps the momma to be able to retrieve her babies without the fear of people nearby, so I am thankful for that. They have 400 acres of preserve where they release them. I hope they find a happy new home in the wilderness. Thinking about sending them a house warming gift....