Raccoons... They're cute until they wander right into your back yard and start throwing your trash bags around all over the place or digging up your lawn. In many cases, although not all, raccoons are responsible for a lot of yard and property damage. They're everywhere; even in New York and other places that you probably wouldn't expect to find them. Once upon a time, these scavengers would have lived in more forested/treed areas, but they've long since learned to associate people with food; that's kept them following us ever since.
It is actually food that probably keeps the raccoon coming back for more. It is almost certainly what attracted it to YOUR property in the first place. Think about it — with all of the properties that are in your area, what makes YOUR HOME so special? Or is it simply a matter of pot luck?
Sadly, it's not the latter.
In almost ALL raccoon invasion problems, food is what started it off. It could be something really small and seemingly insignificant, such as a bird feeder that has dropped its contents onto the floor, or perhaps even a small bowl of food that you leave out for your pampered pooch or cherished cat. Wild animals live by stealing food that they come across 'out there' and, to them, your garden is as good as ‘out there'. In fact, your garden (and most definitely your home) is better than ‘out there'. there is much more food found around human territories than there is to be found in more rural spots.
Knowing that food will attract these animals will greatly help you when you try to keep them out of your garden — you can eliminate all sources of food. Bird feeders can be modified to ensure that raccoons and other pest wildlife can't get easy access to them. The first step is to remove feeders that are hanging from trees and popping them on top of smooth poles instead. You can also add a baffler — if the raccoon starts to climb, it'll only get so far before the baffler stops it.
Move pet food inside. Make sure that garbage cans and bags aren't left outside or easily accessed. If you don't have an indoor spot to move them to, you should look at investing in metal garbage cans, with a lid, and preferably one that can be fasted or securely held in place. Any indoor spot must not be easily accessed by the raccoon also.
Certain areas of your land can't quite be taken inside to prevent the raccoon from eating them — your flower or vegetable garden, for example. This doesn't mean that you can't protect them; it means that you need to find a better and more suitable way to protect them. A wooden framework with hardware cloth pulled over it (tight) will work as a good cage-like design that can keep wild animals out and your plants in — and safe!
Kill the Raccoons? Read about Best and Humane Ways to Kill a Raccoon in My Garden
Alongside the cage-like design we have just discussed, to keep your plants and other areas of plant life safe, you could also look at how fencing might protect your garden from raccoons, alongside a number of other pest species. Read about keeping raccoons away
Raccoons can climb, but they can't climb a smooth surface easily. Wood is easily grabbed hold of, especially with the animal's sharp claws to give it a helping hand. You must remember that raccoons have incredibly
dexterous paws, using them in many of the same ways that humans use their hands. Raccoons have even learned how to open certain window and door latches, without being taught by humans. It would be wise to remember how intelligent and determined some of these pest species can be — underestimating them might just be a big mistake on your part.
A solid fence will be better than a wire or see-through style fence in most cases, and this is because animals won't usually go after food that they don't know is there — almost as if they are simply "trying their luck". They must have a reason to encourage them to work so hard for what they are trying to get to. If you have a high fence and a passing raccoon can smell something the other side of that fence, but they can't see what it is, they will be slightly less likely to try and take a closer look. There will be other sources of food nearby, especially in areas of high human numbers, and those other sources of food will require much less hard work to get to it.
In most cases, a wooden fence won't be enough of a barrier to keep raccoons out by itself, but you can add a soft top, such as a net-top or even an electric fence system at the top. This prevents them from getting over, should they reach the top by climbing. It will also go some way to protecting you from other wild critters also.
There are very few repellents that we would actually endorse as far as getting rid of raccoons are concerned, but wildlife eviction fluid can have some degree of success, particularly with female raccoons. In this fluid you will find the urine and other bodily secretions from male animals — raccoons, but also other predatory males, such as coyotes, foxes, etc. These males are predators for raccoons, particularly young raccoons, so the mother will move them along if she can ensure their safety.
Repellents can become a costly solution when you are using them over a long period of time. This is very often the case with raccoons, but also with various other wild invaders. Repellents will also need to be reapplied regularly, especially if they are in liquid or granule form, and you will also find that they become ineffective (washed off) faster after anything more than a quick splattering of rain.
Go back to the Raccoon Removal
page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Raccoons