MAY 5, 1997

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A raccoon tale in English Hill

raccoon

"Bandida," a female raccoon living in the O'Neil home in English Hill, made a brief appearance last Thursday. A live trap was set up to capture the animal.
Photo by Andrew Walgamott/Northwest News.

raccoon by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
Six months ago, chewed up bits of insulation started showing up on the lawn of the O'Neil home in English Hill. Soon, wood chips could be seen on the roof of the two-story home. And then scratching noises from the attic were heard.
   It was a little too much for Cyndi O'Neil. Last Thursday, she gave the ceiling in her living room a good pounding and out of the siding near the roof line popped a raccoon, a big furry one, two feet long. It hunkered on the roof, drew a crowd of neighbor kids and mothers, then slipped back inside the attic. Seems it had found a home, much to Cyndi's dismay.
   The O'Neils live near a wetland, and other neighbors have noted raccoons patrolling back porches for dog and cat food. Cindy's son Nathan has seen raccoons walking fencelines, and once looked up from shooting hoops to see a big raccoon on the gutter. Most likely the raccoon climbed up an overhanging tree and jumped onto the roof.
   Cyndi called the Department of Fish and Wildlife who suggested trapping the beast by renting a live trap or hiring a trapper which would cost from $300 to $1,000.
   She then called King County Animal Control. They said they only took care of domestic animals, and deer.
   PAWS liked the idea of a raccoon in the attic. "Couldn't you just live with it for awhile? Make him your family pet?" PAWS asked Cyndi. She was amused at the extremes of the options.
   Meanwhile, the raccoon, a female, was eating up Cyndi's home.
   Running out of options, Cyndi came into contact with a local outdoorsman. The fellow offered his services free of charge. He set up a live trap on their roof, and baited it with a frozen fish head and beaver scent. He put a burlap sack over the trap and tied it to the roof. The man said the raccoon had most likely been in the attic for awhile. Urine stains from long occupation are beginning to stain a corner wall. He said that the raccoon was most likely a nesting female. Raccoons have their young in May and June and nurse for two months afterwards.
   Cyndi was very pleased with the man's free help.
   "We're neighbors," the man said.
   "I'm very thankful. This is just a blessing," said Cyndi.