The Raccoon

One morning in Squantum (first year) Primitive, we woke to discover that our kitchen had been invaded by a raccoon. It had broken in through a screen, and invaded our food, leaving its footprints in flour on the floor.

We repaired the screen and cleaned up, but a day or two later, it broke in again. Ordinary window screen was no match for it, and we were reluctant to spend time strengthening our defenses. Someone had a far simpler idea: every evening, we would leave a stale muffin or two in the hole in the screen. The raccoon would generally eat its way through the muffin and retire, sated, without entering the kitchen. This didn't always work, though; sometimes it wanted more, and broke in anyway.

We determined we would trap the raccoon, and obtained a really large size "Have-a Heart" trap. We baited it with a peanut butter sandwich, and sat around waiting. Sure enough, after a few hours, there was an audible slam as the trap was sprung. We raced outside, and shone our flashlights on the trap. The doors were closed, all right, but the clever raccoon was still outside. We watched as he pulled the remains of the sandwich through the mesh of the side of the trap, and disappeared into the darkness. It appeared he was familiar with "Have-a Heart" traps. Perhaps he had designed them.

Defeated, we didn't know what to do next. But Mother Nature has a way of making things work out.

A few mornings later, we entered a kitchen that reeked of skunk. The place was a mess, and the footprints in the flour and spilled milk told the story clearly. The raccoon had returned, but this time, it had met up with another nocturnal visitor, a skunk. They had not gotten along with each other, and the footprints told the tale of a brief, but monumental battle.

The odor in the kitchen gradually subsided with scrubbing and time, and neither the skunk nor the raccoon ever returned.

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