Attention Landlords – Raccoons On Board!

April 27, 2010

My new eBook, “So You Want To Be A Better landlord” is now with the graphic artist for layout and formatting. Still looking at May 2010 for the release.

Speaking of being a better landlord, sometimes landlords can’t prepare for everything.

A couple of weeks ago I was notified by a group of my student tenants that a Mama Raccoon had apparently taken up residence above the false ceiling in one my rental properties. The student tenants could hear what sounded like newborn kits making their little whimpering sounds. After visiting the property and shining a light up into the ceiling area, I was greeted by the head of a rather large Mama Raccoon, who growled a bit to let me know she wasn’t none too happy with the intrusion. I named her Mama Anna.

My wife and I both grew up on farms and had pet raccoons, so we know a little bit about the behavior of Mama Raccoons. They are very protective and can be vicious when protecting their kits.

Well, figuring there was no way Anna was going to come down away from her kits, I put my live trap near the path she normally traveled (according to my tenants), so maybe she might wander inside and we could relocate the entire crew. No such luck!

Today, I receive a distress call from one of the young men informing me they could hear sounds from inside one of the walls in the kitchen, which sounded like one of the kits had fallen down, inside the wall. Sure enough, when I checked the light switch, the kit was lodged just above the light switch inside the wall cavity and behind the wiring. So what is a good landlord to do?

I took my pry tool and very gently removed the drywall and managed to pull the little kit out of the wall cavity. She was about a week old, eyes still closed tight, and whining like crazy.

Now comes the brilliant part! Knowing that Mama Anna was looking for her missing kit, I decided to put the little kit in a cardboard box just outside the garage door in an attempt to lure Mama out of the garage. Of course everyone at the house had to look at the little kit and take pictures. Finally, we moved everyone away and waited patiently. After about 10 minutes, Mama Anna creeped slowly out of the garage and toward the kit. Then, like someone had set her tail on fire, she grabbed the kit in her front paws and took off for the entrance to the storage room. Once inside the storage room, boxes and stuff flew everywhere as she scampered up into the ceiling area with the kit, before I could get the garage door closed. So much for my plan. Did I mention that Mama Anna is also huge!

So…tonight we have whimpering kits in the ceiling; Mama Anna piddling and pooping all over the ceiling tiles; and a live trap in the garage filled with the worse smelling fish I could find, hoping to lure Mama Anna the Raccoon down from the ceiling to eat. Stay tuned…this is the stuff you don’t read about in landlord books!

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