It was pitch black when I saw two raccoons scuffling around the shed. I looked for several seconds because at first, I was pretty sure they were stray dogs. I haven’t seen a raccoon in a while but apparently they’re having weight issues with the rest of America because they were recognizably obese even in bad light. One of them made eye-contact with me for a fleeting moment. There was a glimmer from his night-vision eyes and he slowly retreated backwards like a human would. The thing is, these weren’t the nice, fat raccoons I’ve seen on the internet.

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These two raccoons were like the psychotic, animal version of the Wet Bandits and I’m fairly sure one of them had tattoos. A third party observer might think the raccoon was the scared one based on the backwards retreat but truth be told, I was the most terrified. When I get scared like that I stop breathing. It stems from yesterday my childhood when I’d imagine an intruder and hold my breath so they couldn’t hear me. Because of these terror rehearsals, I can hold my breath for 2 hours given the right conditions. I don’t know if it’s effective because I haven’t been tested “for real” but I haven’t been sprayed by a skunk or been bitten by any large animals.

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Because psychological terror is the worst kind of terror, I researched how to get rid of dog-raccoons. What else was I supposed to do? Go out every night and wonder if we’d meet again? I needed to be proactive and there’s no easier way to do this than aimless Google research. Many of the suggestions were violent, involving large guns and shooting precision I do not possess. I know how effective I am with guns based on a year-long battle with a garden gopher. My father and I went 0 for 800 on those gunshots and the gopher won decidedly and still rules the land. Other suggestions on how to defeat a raccoon were more basic:

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I’ve narrowed it down to three tactics based on vigorous evidence-based practices. You choose what works for you. I’ll be holding my breath doing one of them as well.

1.) Shoot it with gun.

2.) Jorhe’s Bat Technique.

3.) Soak tennis balls in ammonia and put them in area of raccoons.