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01 July 2019 @ 10:18 pm
Why, Whale, Why?  
Last weekend, I discovered that the solar panels that heat our pool were leaking water onto the roof, which was puzzling. The installing company made a service call Wednesday to check it out, and told us that raccoons had chewed through some of the panels, which we'll now have to replace. NOOOOoooo! :O

Just before Christmas, we paid more than $5,000 to get a bunch of squirrels (and their rat friends) out of the area between the first and second stories of the house, and to repair the damage they'd done to the roof. /o\

This is maddening. Back when we had the Whale, we had no squirrels in our yard. Any skunks, possom, or raccoons that passed through didn't stay for long, and our problems with mice and rats ended once we started putting the Whale out at night. But then we lost him to kidney failure 5 1/2 years ago, poor guy. :(

Before the Whale, we had another male cat who kept the critters out of the yard, so until this year, we never realized how bad our problem could be. The kitty we lost in December was worthless as a hunter (she was afraid of the outdoors), so the situation has been building for awhile. We're still looking for a new cat, and really hoping for an indoor/outdoor cat that hunts, but no results thus far. We really don't want to be forced into a weird situation where we might have an outdoor-only barn cat and an indoor-only house cat. Oh Whale, why did you leave us so soon? :(

The Whale was a large animal, but I don't think that's necessary for a good hunter. The other male cat, Thor, was only about 11.5 pounds. There's no telling whether Thor's sister, the 6.5-pound runt kitty, was any good at hunting, since her main prey was the rubberbands the mail carrier used to dump at the postal station in the middle of the block. Tigger overlapped with both Thor and the Whale, so her abilities (or lack thereof) were never obvious. No string or pencil was safe from her, but that's not saying much.

When I say 'large,' I mean biggish, but not freakishly huge. 'Huge' brings the "Absolute Unit" sub-Reddit to mind. Fortunately, that has mostly devolved into people posting pictures of animals (often, their own animals), rather than human beings. Some of the critters are obviously fatlets, and others... who can tell? The sheer verticality in that one is too distracting to judge. Plus, whatever is going on here. There are also several rabbits of an alarmingly large breed. Like, phobia-alert large. :O

The "Chonker" sub-Reddit is mostly cats, missing the opportunity to feature something like this fellow here. He could be puffing out his feathers a little bit, but wow. He looks less like a bird and more like a croquet ball in a bird costume. :O

By contrast, the Whale was merely of the "I take up an entire sofa cushion by myself" and "My bed is a dog-bed" size. Big and long, but not in a "Did my mother secretly breed with another species?" kind of way. :)

bleodsweanbleodswean on July 2nd, 2019 03:02 pm (UTC)
There is no question at all that the dogs keep the bears and lions off the property. They also "alert" and that's important to me out here alone. Little Dog is old now and I'm beginning to become concerned about not being aware that someone/something is on the property. Anyway, I understand what you're saying about a mouser and that's surely why we first started keeping cats to begin with! Good luck on your continued search.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 2nd, 2019 06:26 pm (UTC)
Just a warning, since you're installing solar panels for the pool yourself! Who knew raccoons would chew on those? WHY?

They're not food, and I can't imagine they taste that good. :(

Do you have kitties now? I thought there were just dogs...
cindytsuki_no_bara on July 3rd, 2019 03:10 am (UTC)
that sealblob fatlet is so round and adorable. and big. the quail's the best, tho. a croquet ball in a bird costume, hee.

my guess is the raccoons chewed on your solar panels because they could, because the raccoons in your neighborhood are assholes. how annoying, tho. i hope you find another cat like the whale, who will hunt your yard free of critters.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 3rd, 2019 05:57 am (UTC)
Isn't that little sealblob cute? It makes me want to squeeze it, and then rationalize why it wouldn't be super bad to keep it as a pet. :O

I've seen pictures of other quail of that species that are similarly round, but I've never seen a California quail shaped like that. They're more pear-shaped, and their feathers aren't as pretty. I'll tell you, though, I can see why that roundness might make people think about eating them, even if they aren't very big.

I scared the raccoons out of our yard just the other night (though they came back right away). It looks like they visit here regularly now, which is the last thing we need.

I did get a good look at one of them, though-- about the size of a house cat, and SO fuzzy, looking at me with its little bandit face. Why must they be so cute?!?
cindytsuki_no_bara on July 4th, 2019 01:49 am (UTC)
>>about the size of a house cat, and SO fuzzy, looking at me with its little bandit face. Why must they be so cute?!?<<

self-preservation, probably. the same reason kittens and puppies and baby humans are so cute - so we don't kill them out of frustration.

i wondered if that quail was naturally that round, or if it was just the quail equivalent of chubby. it's super cute in either case.
passing_through: ack Justinpassing_through on July 7th, 2019 06:44 pm (UTC)
You have raccoons? The most exotic animals we have in our neighborhood are rabbits. We don't even have squirrels. I think it's because our neighborhood was built on farmland and there weren't any animals in this part of town to begin with.

Where my mom used to live on the other side of the highway in the oldest part of town, they have a neighborhood fox that has lived there for almost fifteen years. It strolls around the streets occasionally and never bothers anyone.

I don't think our particular little town in Texas is home to many raccoons or other exciting wildlife. Mostly squirrels, birds, owls, rabbits, snakes, and an occasional fox. And for a few summers, we had two big green anoles that lived around our front porch, which I loved. I think they're adorable.

One time Katie's cat got out into the back yard when a rabbit was there and the cat chased the rabbit around the yard but the rabbit was too fast and escaped through the fence. Being a house cat, I don't know if she would have known what to do with a rabbit :)

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 10th, 2019 10:40 pm (UTC)
The raccoons are kind of a surprise, but even though we're part of a larger neighborhood that was built up about 65-70 years ago, there's a creek running through parts of it. The creek is across a busy street and maybe 1/2-mile to a mile from our house? I'm not sure. But that's where the raccoons come from. Where they live the rest of the time, I have no idea. :O

One thing we don't seem to have is snakes. I have no idea why-- maybe the ground is too hard?

I see them along the bike path (often rattlesnakes), and riding near my office it's clear there are a number of them living in the farming fields. But I have _never_ seen one in our yard, and that's with having lived here 31 years and in two completely different neighborhoods. It's kind of odd, really. The same is also true for moles/gophers/etc. Unless it's a bug or a worm, things that burrow in the ground seem not to like our yard.

Given my various projects involving shovels and the trencher, I guess I shouldn't be surprised...