The raccoon with expensive taste (never a dull moment in the Philly suburbs)

Crab legs? Really?

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Illustration by Kayli Rife
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I moved back home to Philadelphia about 4 years ago. I never saw myself as a “suburb dweller,” but during lockdown, it became obvious that living in South Philly was not in the cards for much longer. We needed space. Land. A place for the dogs to run. Fewer neighbors.

In August 2020, we made the move. Without giving away our exact location, we’re kind of close to Valley Forge. We have an acre. And 15 or 20 trees. It’s been interesting, to say the least.

And then yesterday happened.

We bought an old, old house, like 100 years old. Tons of work needs to get done. Over the past week, we’ve had three crews working tons of hours (it’s an HVAC, electric, and bathroom remodel). They’re awesome. Mostly South Philly guys we dragged out here. The electricians got started super early to get cracking on the work in the attic. And then one of our electricians came downstairs white as a ghost. Scared. Did he see a ghost?

“So um. You have a raccoon in your attic. And well. He’s um. Eating king crab legs. He hissed at me. He’s built quite a nest up there. A nice fuckin’ setup.”

My wife April started asking questions, but I needed us to jump into action. A raccoon? In our attic? She was stuck on the crab legs. Rightfully so. It was weird.

As one does, I took to Twitter to share with whoever gave a crap what was happening. Turns out, a lot of people were interested in the king crab legs.

April hit the phones, repeating the phrase “We have a raccoon in our attic, can you please help us?” over and over. I laughed. The electricians laughed. Our bathroom guy Pat came and I told him what was going on. He immediately asked about the crab legs. “Where the fuck did it get those from?” We didn’t know. (We don’t eat them.) The electricians stayed out of the attic and worked on other rooms.

Everyone we called gave us the same answer: “We can set a trap next week and wait 7 days.” But we didn’t have that kind of time. We need our electric redone and this will just delay us in having grounded three-prong outlets. I’m not saying we live in a deathtrap, but let’s just say that I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes worrying I forgot to unplug the microwave.

Finally, April got a hold of someone from A Wildlife Pro. Kris was on the way. We dubbed him Kritter Kris.

People wanted me to take photos or videos. No way was I going up in the attic. It was nice of everyone to keep us company and offer support, though. By the way, everyone on Twitter is a raccoon expert.

As time went on, we started to get concerned there could be babies up there too. A real situation. We were waiting for Kritter Kris to come save us, and of course the raccoon family…HUMANELY. Kris finally arrived, and he was ready for war.

He had a trap and a gas mask and a bunch of tattoos. This man was like Dog The Bounty Hunter but for suburban critters.

After about 20 minutes, Kris came downstairs empty-trapped. He was shaking his head vigorously and we immediately imagined the worst. It wasn’t one raccoon family. It was TWO.

He asked us to come talk to him outside. Away from everyone working. Oh no, this must be awful. Terrible. Awful.

Then he gave us the news:

Not only was it not a raccoon, it was most certainly not a king crab situation. Although we still have no idea what this fuzzy thing is. Fake flowers? A pipe cleaner crafting project?

Here’s what we learned today:

  • This shit never happened in South Philly
  • Raccoons DO actually like crab
  • People on Twitter love a real-time story
  • People on Twitter are experts on humane removal of critters
  • Kritter Kris is a badass motherfucker
  • Always remain calm in a crisis
  • This would make a great M. Night movie (he’s practically a neighbor!)

And if you’re thinking of moving to the burbs, I now have a great group of folks to help you out in ANY situation.

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