Something is Flipping Our Lid

The tile grain grate in our back yard popped off again last night. One of the landscaping pins Sena used to secure it was bent and the other pin came out when the lid was flipped. The grate is always flipped upside down. Sena wondered if something might have pushed it up and over from inside the drain.

That would pretty much rule out Bigfoot, but something is flipping our lid.

It might be a rodent head-butting the grate from inside. Or it could still be a raccoon, picking it up with its fingers from above, either by the lip or the slots. We’ve never seen the culprit.

We have seven of these grates in our back yard but only one gets messed with. I’m not sure I want to spend $30 on a critter cam. You can order them through Walmart. They can run off several AA batteries. I suppose I could try to mount the camera to a support post under the sun room.  I’m still not sure if it would have the range to capture something several yards away. And they’re not available in the stores, not even in Fin and Feather. Local rental stores don’t carry them.

I searched the web for animal control service and it’s difficult to find. In most instances, there’s a professional you could hire for a minimum charge of $100-$500 or more—if you know what animal you want removed. Other options include the dog shelter or the police. The pros have an advertising strategy which naturally steer you to their own service.

We don’t even know what is flipping our lid.

Our options are limited.

We could try to duct tape things together. It’s not ideal and I’d probably get the tape all bunched up.

We could try getting a worm gear adjustable clamp that would fit around the pipe that the lid fits inside of and cinch it tight.

We could screw the lid to the pipe. That would probably solve the problem but we’d like to be able to remove it easily.

I could stay up all night with the yard light on and try to catch the critter in the act. That might lead to a more focused solution. It might also lead to me just nodding off in the chair, no matter how much coffee I drink. And if an extraterrestrial is involved, I might get abducted and then I’d be screwed, literally. That probing routine has got to be a violation of intergalactic law.

Get a critter cam and get a picture of the perpetrator.

Which of the options would you pick? Any other suggestions?

Update: We opted for the worm gear adjustable clamp. Sena found one at Menards that’s a little over 7 inches in diameter. It cinched down enough that I couldn’t lift off the lid. Let’s see if a critter can figure out how to knock that lid off now.

She found a few other things for me to do while I was out there: got rid of a couple of basketball-sized wasp nests using a blowtorch. After I rebuilt the house which burned to the ground, I had to check for Bigfoot turds in the yard and I slipped on one, cracked my sacroiliac, got it fixed at the ER and when I got back home, I had to throw some sod on a bare spot in the yard that was about as big as a football field but I persevered nevertheless and watered it down but got soaked to the skin and had to dry off by doing a few hundred wind sprints between Iowa City and Des Moines. Next up was to heft a few dozen bags of dirt and mulch to the back 40 where Sena’s building a city park; the Ferris wheel is on backorder—all this before dinner.

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