Raccoons are an adaptive wild North American mammal. With their striking features and incredibly dexterous paws, they are noted for their intelligence and determination to scavenge from any human neighbors. Being omnivorous, this nocturnal creature will eat anything from small insects to nuts and berries, and generally, they exist happily in wild habitats away from people. However, as our settlements expand, inevitably we encroach into their territories and so raccoons then transform into urban pests.
With a strong, sensitive sense of smell, they will seek out trash cans, and in raccoon areas, the morning discovery of rubbish strewn driveways can be a daily occurrence. They can chew through wiring, make a real mess if they get into your roof space, and generally be a real nuisance. However, with a little forethought and planning, raccoons needn’t be a worry.
The first job in deterring raccoons is to secure your trash cans. Make sure they are properly sealed with a lock or large weight of at least 20 lbs. This will prevent the strongest ‘coon gaining access. Better still, store your trash in a garage or outbuilding, ensuring there are no holes where a ‘coon can get in. Regularly hosing out your trash cans, followed by a sprinkling of baking soda inside, eliminates the temptation of any lingering odors.
Next, clear up any nuts or berries that have fallen from the trees, and remove any food debris from your backyard, including anything your family pets have left around. Bird feeders offer a tempting treat to a raccoon, but if hung from poles that are less than ½ inch in diameter, the raccoon will be less likely to try and climb up. If the raccoons are particularly troublesome, store your bird feeders in the garage overnight. If you have a fishpond in order to prevent any ‘coons going fishing, cover it with metal leaf mesh.
Block access to any dark, secluded spaces, such as under the porch or decking, using mesh, burying the bottom at least 6 inches deep. Using a chimney cap or spark arrestor will prevent raccoons from getting into the chimney, which is a commonly used entry point.
Fitting motion detector lights or sprinkler system can also deter raccoons from visiting your backyard.
Place bowls of cider vinegar around your property. Raccoons detest this smell and will be happy to keep away, but for a really effective repellent, boil up one cup of cayenne pepper, and 3-5 chopped habanero chilis, in a pan of water. Allow to cool and strain into a spray bottle. Use this mixture to regularly spray around your property or any points of entry that cannot be sealed.
If all else fails and you’ve a really determined raccoon, call out your local pest controllers to trap and remove him, as this method is only recommended to be carried out by experts, due to the risk of rabies from ‘coon bites.
This video contains plenty more raccoon hacks:
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