Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thief in the Night

If fish could talk, they'd have tales to tell about the goings-on in the laundry room last night.  This morning, Bruce found all the fish food containers knocked off the bench, scattered artistically across the floor.  He announced that one of the cats (probably Poom) did a bit of partying in there while everyone was asleep.


Poom, for once, is safely off the hook -- not in his wildest dreams could his dainty teeth make holes like that in a plastic can.  This is the work of a raccoon.  More specifically, a pissed off raccoon who squeezed through the cat door in hopes of raiding the cats' crunchy bowl.  When he realized that the bowl was empty, he set to work scavenging as only a hungry raccoon can.  The fish food, in all its glorious stinkiness must have smelt delicious.  He did work mighty hard to get to those flakes, but in the end had to give up.

He did, however, have more luck with the packages of Algae Wafers that I periodically drop in the tanks for the sucker fish that keep the glass clean.  Our little bandit had better luck with this and ate all the wafers but one.  That's a lot of dehydrated algae to put away in a sitting.

When I shook out the rugs and swept the floor to clear out the critter dirt and debris he'd left behind, I noticed several small raccoon handprints on the other side of the sliding doors.  He'd actually come into the hall, and made it as far as the pie safe.  He must have smelled that dog treats that we keep in there.  Luckily, he changed his mind and left before trying to break through the screens that front the cupboard doors.  Perhaps the dogs (in the bedroom right across the hall from the pie safe) heard something going on and made a noise that scared him off.

What I do know is that neither Bruce nor I heard anything during the night.  Nothing troubled our slumbers.  That's sort of scary.

We haven't had a raccoon come into the house for over a year and had gotten lax about putting away the dried cat food at night.  Several weeks ago we noticed that the food bowl was empty in the morning and knew we had a nighttime  visitor.  Since then, we've been locking the bowl in the hall bathroom when we go to bed, but I hadn't bothered to last night because it didn't have anything in it.  It never crossed my mind that a raccoon might be tempted by fish food.  It's going to be a pretty easy fix locking these packages and cans away every night along with the cat food.  What has me worried is wondering if a motivated raccoon on the lookout for fresh sushi might not try to get the fish out of their tanks for a little midnight snack.  I have no enthusiasm for moving these tanks yet again -- especially as I'll have to be hauling them back down the hill to school when class starts up again in August.

I'm very much afraid that if a raccoon attempted to go fishing during the night, Bruce and I (along with assorted dogs and cats) would sleep right through it all.  What to do?  It has just occurred to me that perhaps we can solve this problem easily enough by putting the dogs to bed in the laundry room for a few nights.  Come to think of it, this is a brilliant solution -- besides, isn't protecting the house from masked intruders the sort of thing that dogs are supposed to do?

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