I have seen the face of evil and it wears a mask. In my quest to rid myself of Public Enemy #1, I overlooked his demon spawn brethren.
That’s right, my latest nuisance is the masked bandit himself (sorry for the flash eyes). Actually I must instead refer to them as bandits since there are about three of them that have taken it upon themselves to terrorize my bird feeders. For the the longest time I could not figure out why my seed kept disappearing so fast. At first I thought the birds were just really hungry, but as time progressed, it kept going down faster and faster. That’s when I noticed these guys coming around.
Sure, they look kind of cute, but they have this feature called opposable thumbs which apparently fuels their passion to climb. It just so happens that my feeders are attached to a tree. Yes, you know where I am heading with this don’t you?
I actually figured my rope approach to hanging the feeders would prevent the little varmints from being able to reach them. Obviously, the squirrels figured out how to navigate this obstacle, but I figured the weight of the raccoon would deter this kind of bad behavior. That would be a big error in judgment based on the fact they apparently took some pointers from monkeys. Check this acrobat move out.
I like this shot a lot for a couple of reasons. First off, it shows exactly how my birdseed is disappearing. It reaches its mischievous little paws into the larger feeder openings and throws it to the ground where his friends are waiting to eagerly to feast. Interestingly enough, only one of the three is ever up in the tree at one time so there must be some kind of short straw thing going on. The other reason I like this shot is it shows the hanging technique it has mastered to defeat my rope system. Check out that back leg latched onto the branch. In case you are having trouble seeing it, here is a closer view.
Please continue reading after the jump. I have a bunch more pictures of this demon spawn.
This particular night I was trying out my new zoom lens so I let him go about his business. The fact he (or possibly she) did not care I was standing about 20 feet away at the time should have provided a foreshadowing of pending nightmares.
Paw full after paw full it kept flinging the seed and corn to the ground until the magic show began. While looking through the lens (or glass as the photogs stroke themselves by saying) when the raccoon decided to defy gravity and suspend in midair. Keep in mind there is only a few stub branches on that side of the tree.
Apparently it just wanted to rest the hind legs a bit. Needs a little more on the P90X routine and less foraging for food if you ask me. He dragged his tired carcass back up to a resting place to ponder another approach.
Those are not flash eyes by the way, but rather naturally glowing devil eyes. Eyes that clearly see me, clearly understand what I am doing, maybe not clearly understanding that the long lens (oops, glass) is not a weapon, but in all cases could not care less. The reason is another approach has been planned. A new angle to reach the prize.
What to do, what to do. Use the laser eyes and slice open the tubes or reach out into space and pull the feeder on over to the branch. Apparently he learned the pendulum principle in raccoon school.
Personally, I would have gone with the laser beam eyes. But then again, I am lazy like that. There appears to be some leg acrobatics going on even to do this particular trick. Personally, this is just showing off in my opinion. Look at me all counterbalanced and agile flinging your expensive food all of the ground so my friends can get fat.
The anger is starting to rise and the blood begins to bubble in the vessels. It is time to show this furball who the boss of this acreage is. The head honcho, the maintainer of the landscape and the filler of the food tubes. I spy a branch on the porch and bend down to grab it with full intentions of reliving my childhood days as a pitcher. The catcher sends the signal, the arm rears back, the grip is tightened… wait.. wait.. oh crap what is that.
Fangs. Maybe time to rethink getting him agitated at this particular point in time. Laser eyes and razor sharp fangs. This bandit means business. Panning down to the ground reveals an interesting scene. Apparently they brought a friend with them. Apparently when you get new glass everyone wants to come out and have a party.
I ask you, is there an uglier rodent out there than the possum? Rat tail, ugly dirty white fur, black beady eyes and a muzzle full of needles. These will be highlighted in a future post for sure. What I was not prepared for is the reaction when the possum got to close to the raccoon. Apparently friendship stops at the food tier. All of a sudden both animals took up offensive positions. To the possum’s credit, it did not back down one inch. A few hisses and a display of fur was all it took for both sides to decide eating was a whole lot funner than bloodletting.
Now that the pictures posing was over, a decision had to be made to deal with this infestation. At the time, they definitely did not care one ounce about me or feel any danger as a result of my presence. This started a long line of failed attempts to get rid of them
- Ice Cubes – this was supposed to be the genius plan. An effective projectile that would melt away requiring zero post attack cleanup. Grab some ice cubes and loosen up that rocket arm. Let’s re-stress the word supposed. I threw about 50 ice cubes and did not even come close to any of them. I blame the poor aerodynamics of the ice cube (elongated auto-ice maker shape) and unbalanced weighting. To top all of this, they would just go over and lick the ice cubes taunting me a second time. For the record, I finally hit one on about throw number 150. Right on the back causing the raccoon to look back over his shoulder, smirk … and go lick the ice cube again. AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHH!
- Water – this was actually recommended by my brother which is better suited for the city dwellers since I live on a well and water is close to gold currency (and definitely more valuable than paper money these days). I decided the hose option was out, but a glass of water should do the same trick … I thought. 6 glasses later I still had not reached a single raccoon. On the 7th I covered one and it definitely took notice. Shaking all over, making angry glances back at me and a complete lack of interest in leaving. I do believe he gave me the bird, but I was unable to capture it with the camera.
- Aggressive Noise – I tried going to the porch landing putting me less than ten or fifteen feet from the targets. There was zero desire on my part to get on ground level with them.. did you see those teeth? Anyway, I grabbed the railing, sucked in my diaphragm and emitted a horrific hiss and growl that resulted in a lightheadedness. This at least caught their attention. They raised up their heads and sniffed the air for intruder details. That ought to do it. Run along before the big bad beast voices his presence again. Instead, their noses revealed that the hisser was actually the dork who could not even hit them with ice cubes. Back to their feeding, but not before turning their butts toward me.
- More Firepower – Although an avid hater of PETA, I really do not enjoy killing wildlife especially since I pretty much came into their territory, carved out my space and called it my own. But these raccoons were getting on my nerves and costing me a serious chunk of change. Time to bring out the pump BB gun and up the ante a bit. With the pump, I could vary the velocity allowing me to use a single pump for those around the tree and increasing the number for the farther out shots. I aimed for next to their tails it hopes that would scare them. I doubt a single pump would penetrate their skin since we used to spend our summer days playing war against the neighbor kids with mandatory single pump rounds (protect the eyes and you are pretty save beyond a little stinging). This got their attention and resulted in them vacating the premise immediately. They still come around, but they are definitely starting to fear me. The minute I come out now they hear the pump and dash for the woods. Let’s hope this works since the next step will be the 9MM and I’ve been honing my aim for years.
This post got out of hand, luckily tomorrow is a vacation day for me. Hopefully you enjoyed the pictures. Until next time, keep your eyes out for this deviant creature in the woods.
Did I mention the laser eyes?