Raccoons

Pest Busters Series


Following are some common raccoon problems and what you can do about them.

Trash Cans

Place your trash cans inside a small storage shed or garage at night, when possible. If that is not possible, secure lids with bungee cords, or go as far as attaching a hasp and lock to the lid. Never leave bags of garbage out in the open, even on trash night, or they will be torn to shreds if you have raccoons in the area.

Raccoon in Trash Can
Image used with permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Pools

Yes, raccoons have been known to take a swim in a pool and leave droppings behind in the process. That may be the only reason you even know there's been something in the pool in the first place. Your best bet is to use a pool cover. Other people have reported that laying small boards full of nails on the steps have kept them out, but then you have to remember to remove the boards when it's time for you and your family to go swimming.

Ponds

Raccoons can be a huge problem to people who have ponds in their yard. They will tear up and eat water plants and eat any fish they find. One option is to plant thorny plants around the perimeter to deter them.

Another option is to cut a large piece of chicken wire to the shape of your pond. You could probably just go around the perimeter if it's a large pond. Pound a length of re-bar into the bottom of the pond until it's just below the ponds surface. You'll need to space the rods about two feet apart. Then attach the chicken wire to the rod with wire so it rests just under the surface of the water. You won't even see it this way. You may also be able to find plastic netting with 3"-4" holes or netting advertised as leaf netting. It may not be as invisible, but it could help keep costs down. If your pond is lined, you won't be able to use this method since you will be puncturing a hole in your liner. The leaf netting however, can just be laid on top of the pond, so no rods are necessary.

Bird Feeders

Raccoons love tearing apart bird feeders and suet feeders. If you wake up in the morning and your feeders are on the ground, you can bet it's a raccoon. I solved this problem by bringing my feeders inside the shed each night for about two weeks, and that was long enough to deter them. They must have moved on, because I didn't have any more problems that summer.

I have also read you can hang a feeder out on a limb of a tree and hang it from a thin chain that is at least 3 feet long. I would think this would only work if you are able to get up to a high tree limb and there are no limbs below the branch you are using. I really don't know how well this would work since the raccoon would probably shake the chain until it broke or the bird feeder fell off the chain.

Other Deterrents

  • Motion Detectors that Spray Water. They will spray a sharp blast of water when the motion sensor is activated. Turn on at night to avoid squirting a neighbor or family pet.
  • Loud music playing 24 hours a day - works in attics or sheds where the music can not be heard by humans. When you are sure the raccoons are gone, seal up cracks and stop the music.
  • Surrounding the problem area with an electric fence that is turned on at night. Place the fence 6" off the ground then again at 12" off the ground.
  • Surrounding the problem area with a length of fishing line at 6" off the ground and again at 12" off the ground.
  • Spreading powdered coyote urine in and around their den. Apply again after rain.
  • Lining an area with carpet tack strips, sharp side up. This is also a great option if your yard is fenced in, but raccoons are still getting into your yard. Line the top of your fence with the carpet tack.

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