At the Right Place, at the Right Time

Annual Wildlife Control Issue - Annual Wildlife Control Issue

Reid Smith, a service technician at Kingfish Pest Control, saved two baby raccoons from a customer’s attic earlier this year.

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September 10, 2021

Kingfish Pest Control service technician Reid Smith did not expect anything out of the ordinary when he was called to remove a dead raccoon from a customer’s attic in May. Smith located and evacuated the animal from the home, but the homeowner kept hearing noises coming from an adjacent room.

Two days later, Smith was back in the home searching for the source of the noise in the 120°F+ heat. After investigating the attic for hours, he heard a noise coming from the back of the house and began to remove parts of the attic vents and soffit. He came across a baby raccoon, not more than two days old, with its eyes still shut. The creature was suffering from malnourishment and from the extreme temperatures.

He put the baby female raccoon in a box and started to reassemble the attic vents and soffit he previously moved. Then, he heard another noise. After an additional 30 minutes of searching, he found the raccoon’s sister, whom had fallen over 10 feet and landed in between the wood frame and brick pocket of the house. He said, “I was like, I need to do anything I can do to get these little babies out of this woman’s attic.”

He said he instinctually felt the need to rescue the other raccoon because its mother had passed, and its sister had already been saved. Smith moved the bricks away and fashioned a harness out of wire and rope to grab the fallen animal. He was able to rescue both raccoons without any additional harm to them and he said he felt proud of his accomplishment.

When he informed the homeowner of his find, she was shocked but also excited in a way. He added, “I didn’t want to leave these old girls in there and she was thrilled that I was able to get them both safely.”

One of the raccoons rescued by Kingfish Pest Control service technician Reid Smith (right).

The next step was transferring the pair of raccoons to a wildlife rescue so they could be nursed back to health. (Kingfish had taken previously captured nuisance wildlife to this particular center.) He said the center’s staff told him he was in the right place at the right time and that he did everything correctly in the process of saving the animals. Smith asked the worker if he could get updates on their condition since they were in such bad shape and because he felt connected to them. He added, “They were special to me just because I feel like we were there for each other at the same time, type of thing.”

Both raccoon sisters grew to be healthy and happy and were transferred to a wildlife preserve so they could live as normal a life as possible. Smith decided to share his story on social media after he received updates on how well the babies were doing. He said, “I love what I do. A lot of people are intrigued with what I do. So, it’s just kind of very sentimental in a sense.”

If the babies’ mother were still alive, the situation would have been handled much differently, Smith said. The plan would be to take out a piece of soffit and set up a one-way door, so the animals could exit the home safely. Afterward, the home would be sealed to prevent future intrusions. He said, “I don’t want to have to kill anything. I want to try and get everything out as safely as I can. It’s here on earth for a reason. It deserves a purpose in this world.”

Throughout his time as a PMP, Smith never experienced a situation quite like this before. He has found squirrels and possums trapped in homes, but never baby raccoons. If someone encounters a raccoon, Smith recommends keeping your distance — especially if the animal appears hostile or territorial — and calling a professional specialized in wildlife exclusion.

Smith has been a technician for four years and has spent a year and a half employed at Kingfish. He is the only technician specialized to handle wildlife at the company but he also works in general pest control. He said, “[I’m] very handy when it comes with tools and construction stuff like that, so I’m usually the one doing the exclusions.”

Kingfish Pest Control operates in the Jacksonville, Fla., area. Services include treatments for pests such as mosquitoes, termites, rodents as well as wildlife exclusion. This year, the company became a “proud partner” of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Smith added, “We’re growing at a pretty fast pace. So, everything’s going very well for Kingfish.”

The author is an Ohio-based writer.