Nightime Visitors

Pasadena poacher caught in the act

The evidence was there in plain sight.  Our visitor had come quietly in the night unobserved.  Crab shells littered the pier.  He feasted well.  The crab was picked apart perfectly, as a human would do.

Our neighbor is a professional crabber. As spring arrives, he loads his boat with clean scrubbed crab traps and sets out for the Chesapeake Bay to drop and mark his pots.  Early every morning as the sun’s rays brighten the creek, I hear his motor.  Off he goes to collect his harvest and place them in his live boxes at his pier.  Local Pasadena restaurants, however, would not get this bounty.  

Our crabber wanted to see for himself who was stealing his crabs.  As night fell, he hid himself near the pier to wait and watch.  There was a full moon so he could see his live boxes clearly and he was soon rewarded for his efforts.  A raccoon appeared.  Cautiously he sniffed the air, scrambled onto the pier, and jumped on the edge of the wooden live box.  It tilted and crabs scurried to freedom.  Then the raccoon put his paw into the box.  A crab snatched it; the raccoon had his dinner.  He climbed onto the pier and carefully broke the shell and ate.  Then he repeated his successful venture.  My neighbor discovered he needed a secure lid on his live box.

The raccoon  must have brought friends along or he was very hungry because our trash was strewn all over the street.  Maybe he was looking for dessert to go with the crabs.

We tried cans with tight fitting lids and bungee cords, but raccoons have very long fingers and dexterous paws known to even open doors.  Maybe we should consider ourselves fortunate that the raccoon did not come into the house and raid the kitchen or take up residence in our attic or chimney for some added fun.  I googled raccoon and discovered it means, “one who scratches with his hands”.

My husband quickly tired of picking up trash so he duct taped layers upon layers to the lid to outsmart the raccoon.  Success.  On trash day, we had no mess to clean up.  However, when my husband went to retrieve the can from the street, he discovered that it was full.  The trashmen could not open the lid either.

Next, I suggested red pepper, “Sprinkle it liberally all over the top of the trash.”  We have not seen any evidence of midnight adventures.  The raccoon has moved to another Pasadena neighborhood for amusement.

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