attic update

Remember those critters in the attic? My GF climbed up there several times (which involves getting the huge ladder from the garage and shimmying through a small hole in the ceiling-- kind of a production) and shone a flashlight around, with no luck seeing any animals. But she also didn't see piles of poop, or obvious destruction, so that was some relief. Things quieted down a lot for those couple of days, so we put the big ladder away.

And then after a few days, we started hearing noises again. Sometimes it sounds like they're bowling above our heads -- you can hear things rolling around. (The attic is unfinished, with lots of little spaces for hiding. Nothing is stored up there. Because of the way the house was added on to, there's two levels to the roof, and all kinds of crawl space.) Oddly, though, the noises have to be really loud for the dogs to notice. The dogs are much more anxious about critters in the yard, or under the house. Several times I've noticed Speedy (who's really the hunter of the pack) peering up intently at one corner of the house at night, but I've never been able to see anything, until two mornings ago. Speedy got me up at 5:30 asking to go out and pee (which is not unusual for her). But what she really wanted to do was go out and sniff and look up at that corner.

Now, usually, Speedy gets so worked up about whatever she's looking at, she winds up barking loudly and scaring it off (squirrels etc). But she was really intent and quivering. So I joined her and stood for a long while in the yard, looking up at the neighbor's tree which practically touches our roof. Finally I was rewarded by seeing a little masked bandit face! That's right, a raccoon. She was just sitting in the tree, I think eating some berries from it. Then something small and super fast (I'm guessing this was one of her babies) rushed past us on top of our fence and jumped up into the tree with mama. The thrashing of the tree branches was too much for Speedy, who started barking, and I saw mama raccoon lumbering across my neighbor's roof to the big tree in our front yard. I couldn't see stripes on her tail, but her face was masked so I'm pretty sure she's a raccoon. Certainly not a possum.

The good news? once the babies are weaned, they'll likely all leave the attic. Then we have to try and figure out their entryway and block it up. The other repellent suggestions I've read have been pretty easy and nontoxic to try -- natural orange spray, cayenne pepper, talk radios. GF's going up there probably scared them away for a little while, because they don't like light or noise. And, luckily for us, raccoons don't eat in their den. There's no food they're getting from our attic or around the house (our trash bin has been unmolested, and the dogs eat inside). So they're just playing and sleeping up there.

We still have wild creatures in our attic, but somehow knowing what they are is comforting.