Monday, December 03, 2007

How to trap a raccoon

Probably more than you want to know about what we've learned from our animal-trapping experiences, but this all may to uselful to someone who drops by sometime. Brought to you by the Havaheart Trap, a wonderful invention.

Raccoons are particularly gifted at getting the food bait out without entering the trap. Few of us trap them on the first try, but some things will increase your odds.

You can check the Havaheart FAQ for lots of good advice, including ways to prevent trapping neighbor cats. Some might be worth a try. I personally will not recommend using the first suggestion: Havaheart says cats won't be attracted to peanut butter on whole wheat bread. It may depend on the cat -- I live with one who adores peanut butter and harasses me for a fingerful to lick off. Some of the other suggestions they make for baits that are raccoon-friendly but disliked by cats might be better.

Meanwhile, a little can of Fancy Feast [TM] worked for us. It's nicely fragrant and Rocky ought to make a beeline for it. A neighbor with outside cats might want to be notified on Trap Night and might be willing to make other arrangements for his cats for the night. He's motivated to cooperate, or he sure oughta be, because his cats are at risk from this raccoon as well.

So: The critter will work diligently and patiently, showing much more intelligence than do many of our elected officials, to get the food out through the bars and avoid entering the trap.

A huge trap makes that harder but has disadvantages. These traps are well-structured and heavy, even empty, and with an Occupant, they're a job to carry. Plus the Occupant will be scared and angry, and will express himself in rather smelly ways, so you'll be glad if you can fit it in the trunk of even a compact car for transport to Hundred Acre Wood.
Even if the trap is fairly large, the little ba- the critter will pull and shake it, tip it, and patiently jostle the food over to a reachable position. We wire the bait bowl or can in place to thwart that.

We place the trap against a wall and put the bait on that side,

...then block other sides with scrap wood, or whatever you've got. Voila'. An irresistible midnight snack and only one way to get to it.

And when you get him, have something disposable -- scrap cardboard? -- or washable (You will want to take it straight in to the washer) to put under the occupied trap as you transport him to his new home.

You'll then want to hose the trap down or leave it out in the rain!


ronnie said...

*shakes head* Absolutely fascinating. I had no idea that raccoons - even raccoons - were this clever.

Good stuff to know!

Sherwood Harrington said...

Just one question before I set out to emulate your trapper-tise this weekend: do the Havaheart traps turn all trapped critters into 'possums, or just raccoons? I'd hate for Oolie to get snagged accidentally under any circumstances, but especially if it's going to turn him into Pogo.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Only if you buy the trap at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Shop. Otherwise, transmogrification will not occur. HTH!