Pest of the Week
Anyone who has gone mano a mano with a raccoon knows that this is one wily mammal, and would not be surprised to learn that raccoons have actually expanded their range over the last 200 years. In addition to being smart, raccoons are also incredibly cute, with little humanoid paws and bandit masks. But the reality is that they can wreak havoc in your garden and home.
Raccoons feast on fruits, vegetables, and nuts—and they’ll help themselves to the ones in your garden. Pet food, bird seed, and garbage are also on the menu, and raccoons are not stymied in the least by the lid on your trash can or bird seed bin. When seeking shelter from predators and bad weather, they may decide your attic, chimney, or garage is a nice place to live.
The best strategy is a defensive one. Secure garbage can lids and other food containers with bungee cords or locks. Keep raccoons out of your house and garage by pruning tree branches that overhang roofs. Block off attics, chimneys, and other spaces they could use as dens. (If they’re already in there, call a professional.) Never put out food for a raccoon, as it can lead to a population explosion (more food often equals more babies).
(Photo courtesy of the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden)
Thursday, August 19, 2010 7:36 PM
I used to have raccoons come around at night, but then a coyote killed off most of them. There's only a couple of young ones left that lost their mother. They do tear up the gardens here and there, but so do the possum, armadillos and squirrels.
Friday, August 20, 2010 2:00 PM
you can also use natural deterants such as dog hair or human hair around areas you know these adorable critters hang out. another good deterant is human urine, male preferably. raccoons detest the smell of it. although you may not like it either. but mainly keep trash cans tightly sealed and do not feed raccoons. they may be cute, but your just setting them up for diseases due to over population.
Saturday, August 21, 2010 1:12 AM
I had a raccoon move in under my house. She used to scratch under my door just about the time I was cooking supper. I would jump up and down a few times and she would stop her noise. One day my Chihuahua chased her down into the woods, and while she was gone I blocked the hole she was using to get under our house. A few days later my chihuahua was barking at the door and when I turned the porch light on, there were three very cute baby raccoons on top of the wood box eating cat food. I took pictures and video. I would like to send you pictures if I know how. I no longer feed birds and hide the cat's food dish at night. I will feed birds in the winter though as that is when raccoons are less active.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 4:34 PM
I had a mother raccoon give birth in my attic....what a pain. We used raccoon male scent to drive her out with the cubs and then reworked the damaged vent screens to heavier material. We then cut down the palm trees used to gain access to the roof. Total cost for all this was over $1,000.00....but never again!!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 7:40 PM
after tens years doing wildlife rescue, specializing in raccoons...i have heard alot of stories about these adorable critters. haven't come across one i didn't like. but yes they do damage and can get expensive to remove. live traps baited with sardines or dry dog food works great. but how to keep them from coming back is another story. dog or human hair placed near where they hang out, human (male) urine, works. keep the trash bins covered and if possible in the garage. keep any dumpsters closed. there is nothing worse than a dumpster diving raccoon trapped in a dumpster! if this does happen place a two by four in the dumpster so the coon can climb out. do not feed raccoons, or any stray cats as this will attract not only raccoons but possoms and skunks.
Sunday, September 26, 2010 4:04 PM
My local hardware store recommended using human hair as a deterrent for deer that were destroying my garden. I stopped at a beauty shop and asked the stylists to save hair clippings for me over the next two weeks. I picked up the bags of hair and scattered it all around the outside of my garden and also under my birdfeeders, which were being torn down by raccoons every night. The hair trick works for deer and raccoons, but you should rescatter as necessary, depending on how much rain you get.
Monday, September 27, 2010 9:00 AM
All good things to know! we have a major raccoon problem in our apts, they specifically love our attic over our apt, because there is a big tree that goes right up to our roof. The little rascals stir about at night. Thankfully my kiddos are aware of them, otherwise it could get really scary. When they run or walk in groups it's sounds like a person is on the roof. I was standing at the patio door watching them climb up the side drain/gutter to the roof across from us. We have to make sure to take our trash to the dumpster everyday and even our recycling has to go quickly otherwise they will rip open the bags to see what's inside if there is even the slightest hint of food/juice on the pkgs/bottles.
They ripped up my plants in my hanging garden box =( I have to start all over now... but my garlic chives are doing great and flowering, I'm worried they are gonna knock them over, I need to move them now that I am thinking of that.
Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:24 AM
what about skunks wehave a problem with them coming around what do you use to get them away frome coming around
Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:30 PM
you can try the same things to repell skunks that work for raccoons.
and if you should end up live trapping a skunk, i've has success getting the little stinkers out by covering the trap with a blanket, open the door and let it wander out on it's own. ( if stinky can't see you, stinky won't bless you with it's lovely perfume.) skunks don't just up and cut loose. they need to be really upset before spraying.
and they do give warning signs....foot stomping, sideways prancing, then backing away. it's when they back up and look over their shoulder at you that they're getting ready to spray. they need make sure the aim is right.
Friday, December 17, 2010 9:12 AM
uh oh I have 3 adorable raccoons coming to my yard and feed them everyday leftovers and bag cat food they havent created a problems for me yet. My outside cat and the raccoons get along at the present time. I hope I have no problems in the future
Friday, December 17, 2010 10:11 AM
lucky you! just don't feed them any red meat. this means beef, venison, veal and lamb. they can get a taste for blood eating red meat even if it is cooked. also it carries parasites that can make the little bandits sick. as long as you keep your garbage covered, don't try getting too close to the raccoons, and closely monitor how they interact with your cats you should'nt have a problem. most people don't reccomend feeding them, but i love raccoons, i do it too. make sure your house doesn't have any places they can sneak in.... loose siding, etc. they are opportunistic.
Monday, December 20, 2010 8:41 PM
I didn't know about the beef, venison, veal and lamb. Have to keep that in mind. We found two baby raccoons by our pond and put them in a cage so the our dogs won't kill them. We raised them for about a month or two until they got bigger. We let them go a little bit away from the house. They stayed up in a tree for a couple of days then decided to come back to the house. The girl got killed by my dog and we kept the boy in the cage. That was the hardest thing to do was to bury his sister. As he was growing up, he played with my puggle like two kids. He now lives under the deck and lives on walnuts and pecans that we leave for him. So far he and the dogs are not meeting at the same time. We are hoping that in the spring, he will decide to move on and find a mate.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 10:26 AM
hopefully he should move on come spring. winter can be hard on raccoons. between the cold, lack of food, etc. and no raccoons do not hibernate. they will go into a semi hibernation if it is really cold. but they are not like bears where they sleep all winter. male raccoons can be a bit more territorial than the females. but they roam more during the breeding season. (in search of more women.) your little guy won't reach sexual maturity until he's about two years old. but he will move on come spring if you reduce or cut off the food supply once it warms up.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 4:04 PM
so, how can you keep them out of a patch of sweetcorn?
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 5:27 PM
put human or dog hair around the garden, plant hot peppers around the sweet corn. hanging chimes, bells, anything that makes noise around the perimeter of the gbarden has been said to help.
Saturday, January 01, 2011 8:43 AM
I have good luck with an electric fence. Three wires, 8, 12, and 18 inches off the ground. I do, however, live in the country where electric fences are not a problem with humans and I have to all higher wires to deter deer.
Monday, March 21, 2011 10:50 AM
The bandits are adorable!! Just remember they can be very fierce!!! And can tear up your dogs if cornered! You all have been fortunate, to say the least. Our raccoons visit our barn, which is not closed in. Our dogs will let me know they are there! I have barn cats that I feed in the winter so there is often food competition. Please be aware that Raccoons carry a virus/bacteria-Lepto something-which dogs do not have immunity to, but cats do. There is a vaccine for it. But more than anything, no one has mentioned is rabies! Keep your ears open to alerts & keep your own animals vaccinated!!!
Saturday, May 21, 2011 1:26 PM
I feed coons, birds, and3 stray cats on my back deck everyday. Can't tell you the pleasure and joy they all give me. They all get along and at any given time you can look out my sliding glass door and see some kind of critter there. I have even been visited by a possom and a pheasant! I love them all! I live in a residential area but have a very private yard and deck, so it almost feels like the country, I miss so much. I am a displaced country girl, forced to live in the city.
Friday, July 29, 2011 10:51 PM
There were some raccoons in my yard one night at my former house. I took my night vision goggles and laid on the lawn and watched two of them under my deck. Then I sensed a movement out of the corner of my eye and lowered my NVG, and there was a third one not six inches from my face watching me! I decided to call it a night.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 10:59 AM
so human hair chases them away ? how much is their anything else i do not want to lose my hair over this ha
Monday, June 04, 2012 9:18 AM
I have tried human hair, animal/dog hair, product for "deer repellant" that smells like manure, chimes, bells and NOTHING works! I'm going to try male urine and my dear husband is a willing participate. ALSO, am going to use netting usually used to help peas climb, but may deter or trap a raccoon, BUT my goal is NOT to trap it but keep it from getting it's paws on my corn. I've also done the fences and peppers with no good results, SO I attacking with EVERYTHING this year! Neighbors corn was COMPLETELY destroyed last year! All her work for not one ear of corn. One of these products must of worked as I still have frozen corn from 2 years ago, but I DO NOT want to lose as much as I did that year or the next. Will let you what works, maybe it takes all of them, but I'm fighting with everything I have as I give the extra to my kids, friends in need, etc. I don't keep it all for myself. I even made sure my neighbor who lost her entire, many of my frozen corn and the joy on her face was worth it!!! TRY IT and let me know what product helps you the most. THE HAIR was the one thing that had NO EFFECT at all. Neighbor tried a radio but that did not work either! Best of luck to all of you. Will advise once I have set my battle line in effect!