Sleeping With One Eye Open

So the squirrel deck is awesome and everything, and the little baby raccoons are precious, but sometimes I just wonder.  They just seem a little too smart…like smarter than the cats for sure (although with that as the measure the bar is pretty low).  They love to put their noses right up on the glass across from kitty noses.  Here’s how I imagine that exchange:

Cats:  It’s a new friend!  Let’s play!

Raccoons:  You look like a tasty treat!

Cats:  We have a nice comfy house.  Why do you live out there?

Raccoons:  Not by choice, moron

Cats:  Wanna come in?

Raccoons:  Yesssss.  First I will eat you, and your little sister too, then I will take your place in your cozy home my little pretty…call the flying monkeys!

Well duh, I know that there aren’t any raccoons in the Wizard of Oz.  I guess there might have been some in the forest all along the yellow brick road but they weren’t featured characters or anything.  Anyway, loosen up, just having a little fun here.

After watching the raccoons on a particularly rambunctious evening, I asked Dan if there was any chance the little rascals could get into the house now that we’d invited them to our doorstep.  Dan gave me that look of his that says “why is she still talking?” and brushed me off.  But right after that, wouldn’t you know that one of the raccoons started reaching for the door handle?  I’m not kidding you!  It looked right at me (in my mind it had a bit of a rakish attitude) while it just hung from the door handle.  I called Dan over to prove my point, but he just laughed at me.  That happens a lot but that’s a whole separate blog topic.

Most of the time the raccoons are minding their own business, like in this rare daytime footage.


Just as I was feeling comfortable again, the raccoons and kitties were frolicking through the glass as usual, but I swear to you it looked like one of them was trying to get in the door.  I went over there and sure enough, the raccoon was once again hanging off the door handle.  But this time, it was looking at the lock pretty intently and pawing at it.  So I banged on the glass to frighten it away.  Newsflash—it barely blinked.  I have suddenly become the Jane Goodall of the raccoon world.  I am at one with the raccoons.  Look, I get it  They don’t have opposable thumbs and cannot possibly help themselves into the kitchen.  I mean, they can’t, can they?

Once again convincing myself that I was overreacting, I decided to just look up a little information about the raccoons, hoping to find that they are clumsy and stupid.  Nope, quite the opposite.  Paraphrased from Wikipedia:

Raccoons have extremely dexterous front paws and are noted for their intelligence. In a study in 1908, raccoons were able to open 11 of 13 complex locks in fewer than 10 tries and had no problems repeating the action when the locks were rearranged or turned upside down. The study concluded they understood the abstract principles of the locking mechanisms

Wow, a study on raccoons opening locks.  Are you freaking kidding me?  It was not imagination/paranoia.  You’re only paranoid if they’re not really out to get you.  Seems to me I have some pretty good empirical evidence here.

The timing is bad—I just wrote last night extolling the virtues of the squirrel deck.  Now I’m wondering if we’re playing with fire.  Maybe just a sign that lets them know they’re not welcome?



I mean if they’re that intelligent and all.  I’ve asked Dan to put some real thought into moving the squirrel deck into a freestanding, middle of the yard type thing.  But he thinks (as usual) that I’m being ridiculous.

We need your help!  Please weigh in with your opinion on what, if anything, we need to do.  In the meanwhile I’m going to sleep in the kitchen, propped up on the door to make sure there’s no funny business.


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12 Responses to Sleeping With One Eye Open

  1. The other night there was a racket outside. It sounded like the birdfeeders were getting attacked and that’s exactly what it was. There was a raccoon on top shaking the (squirrel proof) birdfeeder and 3 of his buddies were on the ground having dinner. I opened the door and yelled. I think he yelled an obscenity back.

  2. Betsey says:

    Can raccoons open combination locks?

    • jfoerhirsch says:

      Philosophers have pondered that very question for hundreds of years. It’s controversial, but I think if they practice enough they can do it.

  3. mimijk says:

    Even Marlon Perkins took some precautions (he threw Bill in with the crocodiles)..I say move the squirrel deck…

    • jfoerhirsch says:

      Marlon was always safely tucked away somewhere safe while he whispered the narration to pretend he was close by. But when I was a kid Marlon and Disney made a good line up for Sunday nights

  4. Myrna says:

    Just a few questions:
    Do you have a deadbolt on the door?
    Do you keep the door locked?
    Can the door be unlocked from the outside without a key?
    Did you give a raccoon your key?
    My advice: Keep the door locked and the key in your pocket…not Dan’s.
    He obviously doesn’t have the paranoid gene. I saw that commercial featuring the woman who let a raccoon in her house because she needed glasses and thought it was her cat. Raccoons are very smart, but I know you are smarter than that woman.

  5. Lisa says:

    Live dangerously and lock your squirrel door.

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