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by Rob Horne

It's 9:15 pm and I'm downstairs watching TV when I see a mother raccoon looking at me through the window in the front door.  I call Catherine downstairs and we watch as the mother chases her two babies up a tree to protect them from us. Just the other day she came through the cat door and ran off with a coffee can full of cat food.  When we gave chase, she dropped the can at the door  and stopped to growl at us from the shadows.  Cute, like something out of a Disney movie.

We're having a drought, the creek is dry and food is scarce.  The local wildlife seem a little bolder this year.  For the first time, we have a Doe with two fawns living on our property and we've put out water to encourage them to stay.  We don't have a dog and with hunting season going on, I like to think that we provide a small refuge.  But how far do we go?

The raccoon is cute but thin, and with two babies, she must be struggling to keep them fed.  I consider putting out food but that can only be a mistake.  Shouldn't they be encouraged to survive on their own?  Not only that,  raccoons can be surprisingly destructive.  They have already killed one of our peacocks and, when given the chance, they have been known to kill cats. 

For now, our strategy is defensive.  Catherine has been working for weeks to raccoon proof the peacock cage.  So far she has covered the cage from top to bottom with new chicken wire.  All access points have been reinforced and in a "last ditch effort", she put razor wire around the top to discourage them from ripping through the ceiling screen 

No luck.  They still found a way in and though they haven't killed the peacocks, the goldfish in the peacock pond became dinner the other night. The battle continues.