Hooray! Successful--and quick--raccoon catch!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sunny Side Up, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    We returned home from our trip into town about 10 PM and found one of our guinea hens hiding in the front yard, far from the pen she usually beds in with her 3 sisters. At first we just thought she had gotten preoccupied trying to lay an egg, & scooped her up to put in her pen.

    When we got to the back yard we found only one other guinea out of the pen, could not find nor hear the other two guineas. They usually call to each other whenever they're separated, but they were completely silent.

    We also found that trouble had visited the chicken-wire tractor where a batch of half-grown chicks are kept. One was headless & hanging out of a tear in the wire, another was dead & dragged further away from the pen, and three more were completely missing.

    These are a bunch of mixed-breed chicks that were hatched at our county fair, I had supplied the fertile eggs for fairgoers to watch hatch in the brooder in our poultry tent. I ended up with 18, some I picked because they were especially appealing, others were just left over after the sale. Sadly, one of the most unique pullets was the one decapitated, and two other pullets were missing. The other carcass was a nice meaty male we'd been looking forward to eating, and the last missing one was a little barred male runt.

    We piled the rest of the chicks into a rabbit cage & brought them up onto the patio for safety overnight. I then set my three Hav-a-Hart traps in & around the pen, baiting them with the chick carcasses, smelly canned cat food, and canned sardines.

    Before I finally went to bed at about 1 AM I went back out & saw a very bold raccoon near one of the traps. I was afraid I would scare him off, but he showed no fear, just annoyance that I was shining my flashlight in his eyes.

    Happily, by sunrise I had a trapped raccoon -- AND -- the two missing guinea hens AND the two missing pullets had returned alive & well! Hooray!

    I've learned from experience that raccoons can get out of those live traps, so I always reinforce the door after a catch. This time I used big zip ties to hold the sliding bar of the door at the top & also to hold the bottom of the door to the wire bottom. I also take wire or strong cord to tie the sides close across the door. You must BE CAREFUL to keep fingers well away from the sides where the animal can reach with hands or teeth! This raccoon was snarling & lashing against the sides anytime it caught a glimpse of my hands.

    I have a big plastic garbage can that just fits this trap, I always fill it with the water first so the animal isn't so frightened at the end watching the water rise. That also keeps it from struggling for so long & possibly escaping the trap. It just takes a minute for it to drown. Again, BE CAREFUL lifting the trap into the can so it doesn't get the chance to bite you through the wire.

    I will continue to set the traps for the next week to see if this raccoon has companions who also need to go. This morning I bought some beautiful new native plants at the annual sale at a local nature preserve. The raccoon will make good & fitting fertilizer for these plants.
     

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