Hey, Roomie! It's not cats!

My roommate has made mention a few times that some of the local stray cats like to hang out under our front porch. Well … I got off work at midnight tonight, and as I was coming up the steps from the sidewalk I heard a hellacious racket coming from under the porch, as if I had startled the poor kitties. No vocalization, just a lot of thrashing around, and then I heard something running out from under the porch. So as I got up onto the porch, I peered over the side and …

it wasn’t a cat!

This is the first time I’ve seen one of these up close, and it was pretty neat. He actually stood still while I snapped three pictures (actually, he waited there while I went inside, put batteries in my camera, and came back down to take the pics). I decided not to traumatize him with any more flashing lights, and went inside to make a sandwich for myself.

I decided to give him the heel from my loaf of bread, and when I went back outside he was still sitting there. And so was another one! The second one was a bit smaller; I assume it was his mate. Now I wonder if we’ve got a whole family under the porch!

'Coons ain’t nothing to play around with. They can have a smell to rival Og’s dirty socks, and get into anything and everything in search of food. They LOVE cat food but will even eat horse feed … a friend of mine tried eveything to keep 'coons out of his horse feed until he finally got an old-timey sliding-door cooler like they used to keep Co’cola in up at the stores. The 'coons haven’t figured out yet how to work the sliding door… but there’s still time :). The animals have a nasty bite and are prone to carrying rabies. I strongly counsel you to discourage them from nesting under your porch. Yes, they are bold … my neighbor has a tiny yap-yap dog and he caught a monster 'coon IN the dog’s outside kennel preventing Lucky from entering. When my neighbor approached the 'coon he stood there like Whatta YOU gonna do?? . Encourage them at your peril. :slight_smile:

I’m going to speak up to support NinetyWt’s points. Raccoons are greatly intriguiging and engaging critters. I have a great deal of admiration for them as a species.
As close neighbors, however, they suck. (Kinda like people that way.) They don’t share well, have little if any instinctive fear of humans, and will try to get into anything that they think might harbor food - and will often succeed. And finally, as NinetyWt says - they have a history of being one of the more dangerous rabies carriers out there. I don’t believe that it’s because the incidence of rabies in the population is really all that much higher than in other susceptible species*, but because of how well they’ve adapted to suburban and even urban conditions, raccoons are more closely living with people - and thus have more opportunity to bite/infect humans.

*AIUI some bat species, for example, will have 30% or more infection rates of rabies, without causing any problems for surrounding humans - while I’d be surprised if the rate in raccoons ever gets above the 2-5% level except in epidemic years.

Yeah, don’t encourage those bastards.

I would not encourage them with food or they will never leave.

When I was young there was a man at the end of the street that used to feed them dog food. Every night he would lay large piles of food on his back patio and watch them eat through his glass patio doors.

He died and the food supply stopped. They were so used to people they invaded the neighbors back patios and decks in search of some yummies. There was not a garbage that was safe for blocks.

My mom told me one night she heard something on the back patio. She flipped on the light and there was a big old coon with a McDonalds back in his paw. She said he looked like he had found gold.

My husband saw a gigantic female raccoon come out from under our back porch while he was watering our garden; scared the hell out of him. He said she sat there like she was expecting to be fed, and her reaction when he turned the hose on her was not the expected run-and-snarl, but more like “scoot off a little and look back like a whipped dog.” We were split between “rabid” and “neighbor fed the raccoon so often that she expects all people will feed her and be nice.”

They can eat through glass doors!!!??? :eek:

Before you go all gaa-gaa over the cute raccoon, you might want to listen to act one of this: http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=319

Well worth the 15 minutes.

Hmmm. Well, they apparently didn’t find the store brand white bread very appealing. It’s still there this morning.

Lots of raccoons around here. My friend I bought my house from fed them. There was a couple and their two kits. They would get very close to him if he sat quietly, but not within reach. They would often come to the back screen door, stand up, put their paws on the door, and peer in. ‘I can has cat fud now?’ My friend moved out after a couple of months, and I didn’t feed the raccoons. They quickly stopped coming around.

Funny thing about raccoons. They’re obviously quite clever. But not clever enough to stay off the road when a car is coming. Haven’t hit any myself, but they seem to be the majority of road kill around here. (Cats seem to be in second place.)

Yes, they are adorable.

Don’t feed them. They can take lids off of trash cans, and they don’t bother putting the lids back on when they have scattered the trash all over your yard.

They will bring all of their relatives to the free buffet.

They are known carriers of rabies, and the risk of that combined with their lack of fear of humans makes them dangerous.

But they are so cute!

I adore raccoons. Outside. I have a neighbor who feeds them, and will not be dissuaded. The end result is that every spring, until they get too large, new raccoons come in through my cat door, make a mess in my house, and eat all the cat food. I have one cat who is strong enough to keep them out by batting at the door as it opens, but it clearly freaks him out. When I stamp my feet or yell they do not back off, but merely look at me calculatingly, as if to say, “We’re omnivores, you know.”

I had a friend with a pet raccoon when I was 12. The raccoon would engagingly climb one’s leg. Unlike a cat, it didn’t know (or didn’t care) if you were wearing jeans or shorts. It continued this behavior as a 15-pound adult, except that it would also vocalize and bite. They took it 50 miles away and released it in the woods. It was back within the week. DNFTR.

ETA: Judging from the number of memorials on the highway, this is also true of people.

True story, all though second hand:

A friend of mine was sitting on the couch watching The Tonight Show with his wife when his four year old son comes downstairs and says “Daddy, there’s a monster under my bed!”

“No, son, there’s no such thing as monsters, go to bed”, my friend replied. But the kid kept insisting that there was a monster under his bed. Finally, my friend did the fatherly thing and takes the kid upstairs to show him that the area underneath his bed is free of things that go bump in the night. He crouches down with his four year old… lifts up the bed skirt… looks underneath … Jumping Jesus! It’s the biggest raccoon he ever saw!

The kid was right. There was a monster.

Those things can get anywhere. I even saw one on my patio when I was living in a high rise apartment building in downtown Atlanta. I was on the fourth floor! The urban beastie had climbed up the air conditioner overflow pipe to get at my grill. Hell of an animal, those things. One of the few species whose population explodes when humans move into an area.

Several years ago, I was over at a friend’s house for a night of gaming. My friend lived in a house which had an indeterminate number of cats- and had cat doors so the cats could have the run of the house.

Well, that night, there must’ve been about eight of us, sitting around the big dining room table… when a ginormous raccoon walked in through the front cat door. It completely ignored all of us, went over to the cat food not ten feet away from us, and ate all the food in the bowl. Then it looked at us as it left the same way it came in, to say, “Yeah? What the hell are YOU going to do about it?”

Q: how do you know someone never lived in Toronto?

A: they find racoons an amusing novelty, and deliberately feed them. :wink:

Seriously - this city is overrun with racoons. They are pretty well everywhere. Some even come out in the middle of the day.

My mom has started sprinking the top of the stairs up to her deck with red pepper flakes to keep them away, and it seems to do the trick.

If the neighbour who works for the dog food company gives you a large bag of sample sized dog food packets for your dog, do not forget this bag by the front door.

You will be awakened at 4:00 a.m. by a raccoon party in the driveway.

Buggers were in heaven.

This begs the question: Are raccoons mean drunks? :smiley:

I sent the picture to my sister, who is a former animal control officer. She gave a whole list of reasons why I don’t want raccoons hanging around, so I suppose I’ll just have to call the Humane Society to come get rid of the things. I imagine this 100-year-old house has more than one way they could get inside.

Lasers locked on!