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Unwanted Critters in the House?

My husband found a crab scuttling around our garage. A very, VERY dusty crab (hey, whose garage is perfect?), whom he carefully carried outside. We’ve had dust bunnies before, but a dust crab? That’s coastal living for you.

It reminded me of two other critter-meets-garage incidents that took a little more effort to resolve. We discovered that a possum had taken up residence after opening the door from the kitchen to reveal two shining eyes. We had unwisely stacked a pile of cordwood in the far end of the garage (dumb, we know), and it seemed to be where he was headquartered. He had made it through a hole leading from the crawl space that was normally blocked by a brick but had become dislodged. We borrowed a live trap from work (one benefit of working at PETA) and caught the cutie in one evening. The breeding season for many north american mammals is from January to July. Should you discover a family of raccoons, possums, squirrels or other animals nesting in or around your home, in order to avoid separating the young from their parents, the animals should not be removed until the breeding season has ended. We let this guy out right outside the garage and watched him disappear into the night shadows.

A few years later, a rat surprised me by emerging suddenly from a cardboard box on an upper shelf while I was getting a jar of pasta sauce. We have nothing against rats—they’re smart, clean, and resourceful—but I didn’t want to find one in the laundry basket either. We ordered a squirrel-size live trap and baited it with peanut butter and other snacks. You can get live traps from the Tomahawk company. Sure enough, within a few evenings of supervised trapping (checking frequently so as not to starve or dehydrate the poor guy), we caught him. We released him in a park, stopped putting out so much birdseed for the waterfowl (a story for another day), and sealed up any holes we could find. But not all the holes apparently—as a certain crab could tell you.

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  • Claudia Cerio says:

    Thank you for the reminder to humanely catch and release “house critters”. I see alot of tips all over the internet for dealing with them that are not nearly so kind. Please keep tips like thses comming so I can share them with friends and family who might not realize there are humane ways of handling this problem.

  • Michael Myrick says:

    Earlier this summer, I had a mother raccoon and 4 sweet little babies in my attic! The babies didn’t even have their eyes open yet. I decided (after a little online research) to leave them be. The next day, mama and babies were gone. I think she got scared and went to another place to raise her babies. She now (and babies) lives in a tree in my front yard! Three of the babies actually walked right up to my nephew and myself last weekend, while we were sitting on my front porch chatting (at night). They’re so sweet!!!

  • taylor says:

    one time we saw one living but barley living bird in my grandmas house so i would hide it in my freinds house. We named it chirps it had beatiful blue feathers and the brightest feathers so we took it to my parents and finally told them they told me it was the wrong thing to do but it was already better its leg and all.So we finally let it go and it flew to werever it did i creid two nights because i loved Chirps so much ,but it was the right thing to do.

  • francine rodriguez says:


    I have a family of possums living in my back what do i do? She just had babies..she comes and drinks out of the water bowl I leave outside for the stray cats. One stray cat I sometimes see in my yard, was just lying there while the possum was drinking out of the water bowl, once the possum was done, the cat went and drank..I really thought the cat would attack or fight with the possum, but they looked at each other and went there own ways..

  • anais says:

    Call me an idiot, but rats are clean? Sure they’re smart and kind of cute, but clean?

  • Susan says:


    We seem to have a family of rats living under or very near our deck. I have stopped putting out birdseed but do like to give the Stellar’s Jays an occaisional (OK several) shelled peanuts. I am sure he is hiding them where the rats can find them. We also have a squirrel size trap but sometimes the rats manage to get the treat without setting of the trap. Talk about smart. When we do manage to trap one it is off to the local park, however one was so smart it ran under our van and somehow managed to hitch a ride back home cause the next day we found where he had tried to chew his way out through the gyprock. Fortunately he did get away and still living outside – we think.