On the loose.

Who says life in the suburbs is dull? The house was just disturbed by horror-movie sound effects (similar to screams, but not quite) coming from the back yard. It woke up Kate and drowned out “L.A. Confidential,” requiring an extra tuck-in, soothing and an investigation.

I watched from an open second-floor window, as the sound of claws scrabbling on bark came closer and closer and CLOSER and…

…a really, really fat raccoon waddled out of the hedge and disappeared into the neighbor’s yard.

Must have been what got into the garbage last night while it sat at the curb. Laid into a bag of stale hamburger buns and spread the mess across the park strip. It reminded me of the night two raccoons crashed through the ceiling during the dinner rush at the Mexican restaurant where I worked one summer. The owner, when I called him to report this news, insisted I was mistaken: “A raccoon is a wild animal. They don’t live in cities.”

Why should they, when they can eat your stale tortillas out of the dumpster?

Where did I read this — a Gretel Erlich story, or somewhere else? It was about researchers who conclusively proved some Alaska ravens were flying 30 miles or so from their night roost to a Juneau McDonald’s, to plunder french fries from the parking lot. They flew back to the roost at night and were, essentially, going to and from work.

I want a pet raven. Or a crow. I always have. I want to walk around with it on my shoulder and feed it the occasional grub. And I’d sic it on raccoons.

Can you tell I’m feeling a bit loopy? Long day, not much to report. We’ll try again tomorrow.

No, wait, there’s this: I was mostly right about the “terrorism” at Georgia Tech yesterday. Huh.

Posted at 11:03 pm in Uncategorized |

12 responses to “On the loose.”

  1. james said on October 12, 2005 at 6:54 am

    Good lord! That site you linked to… the mess of colors and ads jammed randomly together…

    It looked like a spammer threw up on the page!

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  2. MichaelG said on October 12, 2005 at 9:10 am

    When we lived in San Francisco we used to have a family of coonies — mom, dad and three kids — come right up to the back door (a glass slider) and knock. We fed them dry cat food. Yeah, I know you’re not supposedta, but . . .

    What’s the difference between a crow and a raven? Did you know that crows can be taught to talk?

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  3. basset said on October 12, 2005 at 9:43 am

    they do indeed live in cities, as we have seen… a Tenn. state wildlife officer told me awhile back that the largest single concentration of raccoons in the whole state was in the city of Memphis.

    and they will get into anything… when I was a kid my dad worked nights out of a truck terminal, they had to lock up their lunchboxes to keep the raccoons from sneaking in through the loading dock and stealing the contents.

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  4. brian stouder said on October 12, 2005 at 10:18 am

    The Access North Georgia link was entertaining for the following story, too – which was linked on the page as “Street name change draws fire”

    “Kids Quest’s request to change the name of Winn Dixie Dr to Kids Way met with opposition from owners and residents of nearby Windcliff Apartments, which is geared toward seniors and disabled residents. Rochelle Oakley felt the name was inappropriate, “I will be 80-years-old this month, and I don’t feel like I should have to give directions that I live on Kids Way.”

    Craig Towns, whose wife Havilyn Towns owns Kids Quest, responded, “I don’t understand how it can make a difference by using it as directions. With us being the only business or residence on that street that has any address, we’re the ones that it affects.”


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  5. Nance said on October 12, 2005 at 11:08 am

    Some friends of mine went camping and left their unrefrigerated food in grocery bags on the campsite’s picnic table. They thought it was safe from critters because, you know, it was up on the table, not on the ground.

    Two hours later, when they returned from their hike…

    …You already know what happened. But I remember their wonderment at the marks on the Playmate cooler. You know those — they open by pressing a release button on the end, and the whole top slides back. “There were muddy raccoon pawprints all around the button,” one said. “It was almost as if…they knew.

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  6. Dave said on October 12, 2005 at 11:11 am

    Cranky old seniors, I tell you what. Actually, I agree with the old codger and what kind of arrogance makes you think you should be able to get the street name changed because you’re the only business on it.

    As for wildlife in the city, it’s always surprising to see deer practically downtown. How’d they happen to safely get there and once there, do they safely leave?

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  7. brian stouder said on October 12, 2005 at 12:22 pm

    We have a grapevine slowly conquering the length of our backyard fence. It produces sour grapes – at least to unenlightened rubes like me.

    Presumeably a person could make jelly or wine out of them, but we don’t.

    So it is generally a wild-life buffet, but one year the raccoons showed up enmass (we heard noises out back, and when we popped on the lights we saw no less than 9 sets of eyes reflecting back at us! Several had climed the tree with their loot, while others maintained a pickett on the ground between the tree and the fence)

    If they do this every year, we only saw them then.

    On other occasions, I have seen those fellows scurry into and out of the sewer grates

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  8. alex said on October 12, 2005 at 12:27 pm

    On a camping trip at Pokagon State Park quite a few years back, we left the tailgate open and had a raccoon invasion inside our vehicle. In order to coax them out, we filled a skillet full of beer. This worked.

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  9. Nance said on October 12, 2005 at 12:34 pm

    The camping trip I mentioned above was also at Pokagon. They must grow a tough variety of raccoon there.

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  10. colleen said on October 12, 2005 at 2:08 pm

    We live in a neighborhood built in the 1920s…one day I looked in our teeny back yard and saw a raccoon, a rabbit, and a possum. I’m sure our proximity to the river has something to do with it, but stiil… Another night, I looked out the back door to see a raccoon mesing with the trash can…I’m pretty sure when we locked eyes, he waved and said “Yo, how’s it goin?”

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  11. Dorothy said on October 12, 2005 at 2:31 pm

    I had a confrontation with a raccoon who got into my trash cans when we lived in Turtle Creek, PA. The nasty SOB hissed at me when I tried to shoo him away! Throwing water on him worked. He left and I refastened the lids tightly, but then I hightailed it back in the house, in case he came back with some friends!

    On another animal note, does anyone know if squirrels make little noises at night? I think it’s squirrels in the trees in my back yard that I’m hearing. Little whirly click sounds, and sometimes something (a little one?)answers back in like manner.

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  12. Dorothy said on October 12, 2005 at 2:32 pm

    Ah, make that “clicky” not click.

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