Pest Busters Series

Image used with permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Raccoons can be a huge problem for many gardeners as well as homeowners. They generally are nocturnal, so you may not even realize that the raccoons are the culprit. As with any pest problem, you sometimes have to scout out your yard at night with a flashlight to find the offending pest.

If you have a family of raccoons in your attic, chimney or living under a deck or shed, your best bet is to call a professional animal control specialist and have them deal with the problem. Raccoons are very smart and have good memories, so they can find a way out of many traps, but the professionals know the best way to catch them, ensuring they do not separate a mother from her babies and have the proper licenses to relocate the animal. In most states it is illegal to relocate a wild animal without the proper permit. And the last thing you want to do is separate a momma from her babies, so let the professionals handle it.

Once the offending raccoon or raccoons have been removed, you should seal up any holes with hardware cloth and staple chicken wire around the base of any buildings they have been living under. Bend the chicken wire into an "L" shape. Staple the top part of the vertical part of the "L" to the bottom of the building and then bury the horizontal part of the chicken wire under the grass. Just lift the sod with a shovel and lay the sod back down over the chicken wire. This method works great for any burrowing animal. All our sheds, greenhouse and fences are treated in this way.

Raccoon Tracks
Image used with permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Raccoons in more populated areas, usually defend a territory of about one square mile, but in rural areas, it can be as large as 8 square miles. Therefor, raccoons can be a bigger problem in more urban areas. They eat almost anything, so garbage is a special treat for them.

Raccoons usually grow twice as large up north than in the south. A 50 pound raccoon is nothing to mess with, especially if it's rabid, so stay clear of them, even if they appear to be cute and docile. Raccoons usually give birth in April and May, so try to get rid of any raccoons before that time to make it easier on everyone involved.

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