Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fear the Raccoon

The start of spring has brought plenty of news of conventional sorts of raccoon trouble - a raccoon biting a child in New Jersey, a raccoon on a suicide mission causing a power failure in Wisconsin, a rabid raccoon attacking a cat in Maine, and a raccoon getting into a house in Kentucky by ripping a hole in a ceiling, to name a few.

In some cases, of course, we humans are just adding to the trouble. A police officer shot a sick raccoon in a ditch, and the bullet ricocheted and hit a woman in a nearby home. And then there was the woman who hit a raccoon while driving in Indiana: She lured it into her car with potato chips to take it for help, and when she ran out of chips, it turned on her, and she had to call 911.

But it's not violence and disease that's really the scariest thing about these animals. It's that they live among us, they have hands, and they are a little too clever for comfort. That's how you end up with a bunch of racccoons in Ohio trying to move in and live in school buses.

The raccoons have figured out that it's easy to pry open the folding bus doors from the bottom. They get to enjoy a nice warm dry place, and there are refreshments, too: apparently it's a habit for the bus drivers to carry candy in a compartment on the dashboard. The raccoons have figured out how to open that too, even where one driver has added a latch.

People, I can't emphasize this enough: There's a cure for rabies. But there's no way to be completely safe from an animal that can open doors and latches.

Photo by Flickr user and raccoon invasion victim Pip R. Lagenta.

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