February 5th, 2009
05:03 PM ET

Raccoons Invade White House Grounds

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/05/whitehouse.jpg]

Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer

A small band of masked intruders has broken into the secure White House grounds and has evaded capture by agents of the new Obama administration, officials said today.

The National Park Service is in pursuit of one very large raccoon and several medium-sized raccoons, who have been spotted roaming the grounds around the Executive Mansion and the West Wing, a spokesman said.

"The idea of raccoons on the White House grounds give us great pause," spokesman Bill Burton said.

So far, the raccoons have evaded capture despite the presence of several "live traps," which are essentially cages with a one-way doors to keep the animals inside.

The traps are baited with apples, cat food and peanut butter, Burton said, but so far to little avail.

None of the raccoons have been seen in the past week, but officials said they still believe the wild animals are roaming the premises. The hunt continues, Burton said.

If the animals are captured, Burton said, the National Park Service will release them, unharmed, into an unspecified wooded area.


Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    " The idea of raccoons on the White House grounds gives us great pause"
    spokesman Bill Burton said.

    Mr. Bill Burton, that would be," The idea of raccoons on the White House grounds gives us great paws."

    Raccoons are cute and I am glad they are trying to remove them humanely. Maybe the mischievous little critters are just glad we have a "change" around the President's home.

    FYI to the trapper: Raccoons are clever and can reach into traps and take the bait without ever setting the trap. Use larger traps so the coons can not reach it from the outside. Your chances of catching them increase highly. Pretty simple logic, eh? 😉

    February 7, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  2. Bob Garland

    With all the things going on in the world we get stories like this? Great reporting and wonderful judgement! What morons run this organization that they think this is worth reporting instead of spending their resources in doing their jobs on the behalf of the freedom of the American people by keeping them informed of the facts of the life shattering events going on in this country and the world. Thanks for nothing. No wonder you are going out of business.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  3. valerie jenkins

    Why is this newsworthy? The news is walking a very fine line. I know that we have supposedly moved past the color thing but i remember a time when black folks were called "coons"???? Perhaps my hairs stood up on the back of my neck for know reason.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  4. Jan Strong-Johnson

    The sad thing about this issue is that racist everywhere are still having tantrums. Get over it already!!! Let's be about the business of letting the world know that we are the greatest country in the world by being a good role model. Throwing cracks and puns out about the racial make-up of our president shows us as being petty and noit worthy of being a super power or a world leader who believes in Democrary and the true meaning of the words in our great constitution- "All Men Are Created Equal"!!!

    February 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  5. April

    Just how long has the White House been having this problem with the supposedly raccoons? If it's been a burden for a while now, why didn't the Washington Post make an announcement about it back then? I just think the timing of President Obama and his family being in the White House, is too coincidental and rather racist.

    February 6, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  6. Ginger

    I posted a comment about how humorous I thought this story was but my comment has apparently been edited. In our journey toward Socialism, we must have to leave our sense of humor behind.

    February 6, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  7. LJRoy

    I wish you could send them over to my neighborhood.

    They should be left alone right where they are (unless they're rabid). As long as no one bothers them, they should be happy just tramping around the yard.

    Just continue to leave food and water for them in a non-public area. They'll sort of be like pets...living on your property being free to come and go, yet not living with you actually coming inside at night (err, day in this case).

    And while you're at it, please introduce a nice lovely family of skunks.

    My question is who's going to take care of them, when Obama gets out of office in 2012?

    February 6, 2009 at 8:17 am |
  8. Jane

    Turn off the President's immune system... Are you kidding? The While House would be invaded by more than a few rascally raccoons.

    February 6, 2009 at 3:02 am |
  9. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Don't tell Mooseburger Palin there is wildlife running around.

    She might try ariel hunting racoons while she is there as there are very few moose to hunt.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:52 am |
  10. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Maybe the racoons have just heard that Cheney and his magic shotgun have left the area and now it's safe again.

    February 6, 2009 at 2:47 am |
  11. dbl.r

    Call Sarah Palin, tell her to get her gun , and jump into her helicopter and blast away ! It wont be as thrilling as shooting wolves in the snow , by chopper , or shooting pregnant moose , but what the heck , the white house grounds are`nt exactly Alaska , I`ll betcha`.......

    February 6, 2009 at 1:48 am |
  12. Ron , West Coast

    Those were`nt Raccoons , they were masked republicans trying to sneak into the oval office and plant listening devices . Shades of " Trickie Dick Nixon "....... But seriously , if I were Barack Obama , I would have the white house swept for "bugs ", or like I said listening devices after every visit by those shady republicrooks .
    I can`t see the relavance of this story about " Raccoons ", invading the white house grounds , unless ......... well..... the " R ", in the proper name is there , so ......... I guess Mr. Shear did`nt have any ulterior motive in this story about " Raccoons "........

    February 6, 2009 at 1:37 am |
  13. Luis

    People, this is what you call news? You better start demanding more from these empty suits on T.V. and tell them to start asking serious question to our politicians. I cant believe how low the standards have been pushed down. This is pathetic. Raccoons? Wow.

    Good Job CNN, keep up the good work losers.

    CNN = Communist News Network

    February 6, 2009 at 12:30 am |
  14. Don, WA

    The question is...will secret service take a racoon for the president.

    February 6, 2009 at 12:29 am |
  15. Heid in Austin

    I'm happy to know that the White House has a raccoon problem. I do, too! They are pretty smart. I have some freeze dried coyote urine that works after I turn on the sprinkler system. Best to find the food source and get rid of it. Mine was food for stray cats. The raccoons still come around, but it's not as bad as three visits from at least five raccoons every night like it was.

    February 6, 2009 at 12:19 am |
  16. CHRIS

    Hi AC,
    I am seriously concerned about the attitudes of some journalists on CNN, they call the president with no respect, these people need to know that this man is now the president, he should be giving the due respect, he is now president Obama and not just Barack Obama. This concern is mainly about some black journalists such as Tara Wall, Amie Hormes, Joe Johns and the funny looking black guy that was on Larry king yesterday along with miss hormes, they are driving somany people crazy and they should learn to address the president by adding title to his name thanks.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  17. Don, WA

    I've heard that the gopher hunting golf course groundskeeper from "Caddyshack" is looking for work – I hear he's good with all types of "varmits." The president may want to give him a call.

    February 5, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  18. Mike Licht

    When those masked raiders are caught, those varmints will need a good grilling.



    February 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm |
  19. Mark The Carpenter

    Better Coons than Skunks. If you added the smell of skunks to the already smelly stimulus bill, Washington would be un- inhabitable.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  20. Ian P

    Hello all viewers of this page. I wanted to let everybody know that raccoons aren't our enemies, in fact they are just small creatures that really don't know what they are doing. But to get serious, I want to remind everyone that this country faces serious problems. For example our right to own firearms, and of course our right to speech, which is why I am writting in this blog. The first 10 ammendments are also called the bill of RIGHTS. One right which is included in the bill of RIGHTS is the right to bear arms. It is even written in words. Why should we even consider outlawing them? Even if firearms are outlawed it isn't like someone is going to buy them illegally anyways. Most people who abuse guns do not even own FOID cards. How does it make sense to stip away a right in which we have been intitled to for over 200 years? If WE (the American people) have a voice, why don't we use it? Why dont we speak out? I apologize for rambling on about gun rights in a severe raccoon situation, but I have to say something, I have waited to long.

    February 5, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  21. Ms. Dee

    Today I was soo glad, President Obama stood his ground. This is what I voted for, this is what the American people like to hear.

    The republican do not care about the American people, it’s all politics to the republicans.

    This is why I voted Democrat.

    I will never vote for republicans, they don’t care about the American people.

    Everyday, I see different republican saying bad depressing, negative words.

    Word for today, ALL REPUBLICANS SHUT UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  22. sharon

    I think Mike might be right, who do you suppose let them loose George or Dick?

    February 5, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  23. Karen Peralta

    I think the President is in great physical shape, but I know he used to smoke a few years ago. There's a great Swedish legal stem cell treatment where he only has to take about a week off, maybe during his vacation time, and he can get himself completely fixed up, with his lungs turned back to their original healthy tone and pink color.

    The treatment involves turning off his immune system for a few days, nothing extreme I understand, and then injecting him with adult stem cells. They will tone his entire body and remove impurities, plus helping him with his overall health and also bringing his lungs back to normal. Then he spends some time in a bubble while he's getting his immune system back.

    This has been legal in Sweden for years, and it costs only $150,000 total for one treatment. All kinds of movie stars and important people are getting this treatment. I hope myself to get it done someday. They (the Obamas) could pay for it in installments and maybe their health coverage covers at least some of it. If I'm lucky, my stepson might pay for my own treatment. I have severe chronic dystonia/dyskenesia from being put on a psychiatric neuroleptic medication after a difficult pregnancy.

    My left side spasms and my neck turns to the left, sometimes uncontrollably. Fortunately, I can still work my job ghost writing and being a copy editor and ghost writer. I just wish Pres. Obama could read my posting, as he would probably feel much better and be more healthy than ever and able to lead the nation with a greater spring in his step.

    February 5, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  24. Emma

    I can't believe this makes the news..Instead we should be talking about the plan"We as Citizens" are creating to help us get out of this hole. The Americans who went through the Big Deppression made it! These are the Americans that made this Country what it was before Bush got ahold of it!!!
    No nonsense strong hard working people, that started pushing, when the Country needed a push.

    February 5, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  25. Don, WA

    So now the president is escorted by secret service, and game wardens while on white house lawns?

    February 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  26. Paul

    Coons? When racoons try to get on our back porch, Momma just chase 'em off with a broom.

    February 5, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  27. jarrod

    the racoons are just lobbying the parks and wildlife bill.....If they close the parks they won't be able to riad the trash can

    February 5, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  28. anne cotton, fairhaven, mass

    this obvious mother and children group has come forth to give the wh the chance to show the country the difference between the chosen administration and what would have been if Palin/McCain had won. She would have been out there picking them off from marine 1, with cheney riding shotgun, literally,

    I like the idea of them there. they will give the girls some giggles.

    Seriously, in my long experience with backyard wildlife, racoons love bird seed and it is almost impossible to keep them out of a feeder. the wh could hang a foot long house feeder from a long low branch and set up netting (made for this purpose) above it that comes down when weight is added to the feeder/branch. Just don't send them to my neighborhood where my local rocky racoons are eating the cat food I put out for the abandoned cats.

    Mike in New York, get a life.

    February 5, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  29. Jim,

    Lets see here- Tresspassing,resisting arrest,failure to obey a Federal officer-Do they get a fair trial before they are deported?

    February 5, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  30. Amanda Walton-Ontario, Canada

    I guess the Raccons have gone back in hibernation since the weather turned colder. If you don't plan on hurting them, don't give them the peanut butter, deceased Raccons on the White House lawn doesn't make for good photo ops

    February 5, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  31. Pat Canada

    My Guess would be they were planted. Most likely by Republicans or Karl Rove's well paid thugs.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  32. susan , san geronimo

    Try persimmons, they love them,
    Trapper Sue

    February 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  33. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Maybe it was about this that Mr. Cheney was foresee. (Laughing. ..)

    February 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  34. Mike in NYC

    Someone let the 'coons loose as a racist joke.

    I for one am outraged.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  35. Carol B., Virginia

    Peanut butter? Agreed, Presley. Maybe the goal is Salmonella or heart attack on a plate. However, it's great to see the wildlife returning after eight, long years and too many Yosemite Sams . It's also nice to see this article among the serious world issues du jour.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  36. Presley

    Baited with Peanut Butter???
    Maybe they got the memo about the Peanut Butter recall. They should just put small bags of garbage in the traps, the ones around my home seem to fancy that.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  37. Annie Kate

    Raccoons at the White House – that's funny. Maybe Cheney left them there to spy for him. I hope these get caught soon and taken somewhere else to live – I wouldn't want them around my house either; they carry too many diseases.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  38. Charlotte D

    Rather than release the racoons to the wild, ask them if they have paid their taxes. If they have, nominate them for a Cabinet post like Secretary of the Interior. Is that job taken?

    February 5, 2009 at 5:11 pm |