Washington, Feb.6 (ANI): Critters are now roaming the grounds of the White House, and to deal with the problem, the Secret Service has called in the National Park Service (NPS).
The NPS is in hot pursuit of a pack of raccoons that were spotted roaming the manicured grounds near the White House; the Washington Post quoted a spokesman, as saying.Masked bandits scurrying through Washington aren't news to the seasoned trappers who have made a handsome living relocating varmints from attics, crawl spaces and chimneys in homes.
"The idea of raccoons on the White House grounds give us great pause," spokesman Bill Burton said.
Some wonder whether the raccoons have been there all along, and the Texans who previously occupied the White House (Bush and family), with the entire ranch dwelling they did, paid no heed to them.
Still others believe the Obamas' dithering on the purchase of a guard dog gave the intruders a window of opportunity.
But John Hadidian, the director of Urban Wildlife Programs for the Humane Society of the United States, said he believes the raccoons are new to the 18 acres of President's Park surrounding the White House.
"My theory on what's going on has to do with the acorns," Hadidian said.
Hadidian isn't talking about the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, but about the mysterious shortage of acorns, the nut of the oak tree, that is a diet staple for many of the urban creatures who share our city.
Hadidian spent 10 years studying D.C. raccoons for the Park Service. He said they prefer Rock Creek Park, where there is one raccoon for every three of the park's 1,700 acres. And the shortage of acorns in that park is driving them to look elsewhere.
Raccoons use the city's storm drain system like their personal Metro, an underground world that allows them an efficient, citywide route of attack on garbage cans, he said.
"They probably are just looking for food," he said.
"They move into buildings where there are structural deficiencies. I'm going to assume the White House is pretty secure and well maintained. I think they were just passing through," he added.It's not the first time that monumental Washington has had a run-in with the natural world.
A frightened deer was fished out of the Tidal Basin just a couple of years ago. And in 1997, three does smashed into the White House fence.
Rather than call in a specialist -- with humane traps and peanut butter bait (the non-salmonella kind) -- the Obamas might choose to look to past administrations for inspiration.
President Calvin Coolidge had a pet raccoon, Rebecca, who often sat on his shoulder or was cuddled by the first lady. Rebecca terrorized the staff, however. (ANI)