Help me get a raccoon out of a stomrdrain before the big storm!
June 28, 2008 4:40 AM   Subscribe

There's a juvenile raccoon stuck in the storm drain in front of our house. How do I get it out?

I live in Oakland County, Michigan. The drains seem to be sealed. Even if they're not, I don't think I could lift it. No idea how the little guy got down there, but I don't see how he's going to get out, either. A big storm is due today.

I put an upended rake into the drain so he could climb up, but the holes are too small and I don't think he can get out.

Any advice on who to call or what to do?
posted by clarkstonian to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Okay - it's a stormdrain. I preview and still I get it wrong.
posted by clarkstonian at 4:41 AM on June 28, 2008

Animal control?
posted by gramcracker at 5:01 AM on June 28, 2008

Animal control won't be open for at least another couple of hours. It's not (except for the raccoon) an emergency, and the local fire department is closed as well, except for fire emergencies.
posted by clarkstonian at 5:09 AM on June 28, 2008

if you have a pick or large crowbar, you can try using leverage to list the grate. they usually just sit and are not sealed or fastened, just heavy!

you could always call the NON EMERGENCY line of the local police deptartment and ask them who you can contact. they are ususally helpful in a situation like this
posted by Mr_Chips at 5:29 AM on June 28, 2008

Freeing stuck animals is never pleasant for either you or the animal- he is scared, but you will scare him more. Be prepared for that.

Can you just get a pair of heavy gloves and grab him? Can you fashion one of those "loop on a stick" animal grabbers out of stuff around the house? Rather than a broom, what about a branch or something that's a little grabbier so he can grab onto it?

Trick him into eating Acme brand Iron Pellets and use a big red magnet to pull him out??
posted by gjc at 6:38 AM on June 28, 2008

Storm drains have pipes that go somewhere, usually do a dry pond that the rain water drains into. the little guy probably entered the pipe and followed it to the end, which is the catch basin at the street.

therefore he's probably not so much " trapped", but more "lost" and may find his way out if left to his own devices. An upcoming storm may even help him find his way back out, as the rain may "wash" him out

it may not be as hopeless as it seems
posted by Mr_Chips at 6:53 AM on June 28, 2008

Is there a manhole nearby? Try lifting up the cover and hanging the rake there?

If there aren't any fires going on right now, I don't see why the fire department wouldn't come out and give you a hand.

You may also want to call the water department or some municipal authority, as they may be interested in preventing a possible situation in their storm drains. If the raccoon gets caught somewhere during the storm, and somehow causes congestion in the pipes, you could have a flooding problem. Semi-hysterical ranting along these lines might encourage them to send out a truck?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:49 AM on June 28, 2008

Your regular Animal Control/Humane Society might actually not be able to help you...they will probably have you call a wildlife specialist. Raccoons are meeaaannnn creatures.
posted by radioamy at 10:25 AM on June 28, 2008

Do you have a shop vacuum and a sock lying around?

Barring that, load one of those humane squirrel traps down there and load it up with peanut butter. The little guys cannot resist the siren call of peanut butter, even if they're about to get flushed down a stormpipe.
posted by bhance at 12:10 PM on June 28, 2008

Have you tried calling a pest control company? They probably have a lot of experience clearing critters out of tight spaces - if they won't come out, they may be able to refer you to a volunteer in the area who specializes in raccoons.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:20 PM on June 28, 2008

Okay - he's free, or he will be free. We ended up calling the non-emergency line to the Sheriff's dept.
They both gave us permission and showed us how to pry up the drain (with the crowbar) - there's a trick to it. Thanks for the suggestion. I have no idea how he got into the drain, but it's a lot easier to get in than to get out - he was clinging pathetically to the underside of the grid and crying at the top of his lungs - no way to get him through the holes.

The problem was that it was weekend. Neither animal control nor the water department has anyone in place on the weekend to handle this. Meanwhile, we're due a severe rain pretty much any time now, and he probably would not have survived the deluge.

The drain pipe is long - and under water - to a deep lake - maybe he'd have made it if he'd been flushed out, but there's a pretty good chance he'd have drowned. He'll be able to climb out now when it's dark.
posted by clarkstonian at 6:08 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nice work!
posted by Marky at 6:31 PM on June 28, 2008

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