Raccoons! The devils!!!

jannabeen(z5 US/z6 Canada)July 13, 2007

We have four little raccoons and a very large mama raccoon living under our back deck. Every night they emerge and frolic through the garden. As cute as they are, is there any way to minimize the damage? I'm ready to put out food for them if it will keep them from pulling up the lilies and flattening the iris!

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HomeMaker

Don't even get me started!!

Putting out food for them is tantamount to an invitation to take over. Minimize the things they can eat and drink. Pray that they don't start to crap all over your deck every night. Get a dog!!

Get them to move out. Put a spotlight under the deck and keep it on all the time. When they have moved on, put lattice or chicken wire up to keep them out.

The cute little raccoons grow up. One of them managed to completely dislodge the eaves on my house on his search for food, as well as making a shambles of part of my roof while trying to get in.

Encouraging them will be costly in the long run.

Can you tell I don't like them?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 9:48PM
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closer2u(toronto)

Good tips homemaker...I had same problem..I used moth balls..good for skunks as well......they left in a hurry..

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 1:03AM
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ianna(Z5b)

My previous garden was regularly visited by raccoons that ate the eggplants and left their 'bodily functions' on the fence. Really disgusting and what's more these things carry a parasite that are difficult to cure once it enters your body (through breathing the dried spores) So deter it as much as you can. --- and although mothballs are able to deter these things be careful. They are known carcinogens.

Ianna

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 11:00AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

They're cute as the dickens, but I wouldn't do anything to encourage them. Do not put out food for them, and make sure your trash cans are strong and seal well or that they are inaccessible. Ask your neighbours to do the same (knowing that they probably won't). And as Homemaker said, as soon as this lot has moved out, seal off the underneath of that deck - momma will be back next year for another litter if you don't.

Aside from the damage they can do to your home (and the poop that they leave), there is the growing problem of rabies. I don't know about your area, but raccoon rabies has moved into the Montreal area as of a couple of years ago.

Raccoons are big enough to defend themselves from most suburban dangers (dogs and cats) and when cornered are quite ferocious fighters. Kids wanting to pet them are at risk of being scratched and bitten as well - I nearly learned this lesson the hard way myself as a kid!

BP

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 4:42PM
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sammyqc(NE Quebec/zn 4/5a)

Ditto what everyone said. You don't want them living there, and if you put food out, they will stay. I live in an area where raccoons, skunks, squirrels and rabbits are in abundance. All cat food comes in at night, and I chase them away when they come by in the early evenings. Just be careful when doing that, some of them are so used to humans they could care less, and also if one has rabies, they would be more likely to attack than run. Raccoons are pretty tough, I use my hose as a weapon!
But they can do serious damage to your home if they decide to try and get in, especially by the roof. You could also try putting a radio under the deck. The noise could help discourage them from staying there.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 9:11AM
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jannabeen(z5 US/z6 Canada)

I know the damage that raccoons can do to your house: one ripped off roof shingles and made a nest between walls this winter. Cost: $8000 for emergency repair and new roof.

At least when they are living under the deck, they are in a spot that's not damaging the house. I did attempt to seal off their exit several months ago (I checked to make sure they were out). The result was four massive digs in different spots around the deck in an effort to get back in. The cost: 2 clematis, damage to roots of one of my favorite roses, and a cockeyed trellis.

I called the Humane Society and also talked to a commercial wildlife removal service. It seems that because of their territorial nature and their adaptation to the urban environment, I can't actually have them removed.

The Humane Society suggested planting things raccoons don't like, such as garlic. The person I spoke to specifically said not to use Critter Ridder or hot pepper flakes because this is cruel (I didn't catch exactly why). Moth balls aren't an option because they are no longer sold (according to the guy in the hardware store) and I'm also reluctant to put such a noxious substance in my scent garden, which is also the napping spot of my cat.

The upshot: I'm going to look further into raccoon repelling plants as border "guards" for the lilies and other treasured plants that the masked devils like to pull up or roll over. Any success stories with this idea?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 9:41AM
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wendy2shoes

They don't like the smell of 'Irish Spring' soap. Get the original, in the black box. Rabbits and deer will stay away from it as well. I used a cheese grater to flake it around my garden beds.
"Manly yes, but 'coons hate it too!"
Critter Ridder or hot pepper flakes can go from their paws to their eyes, and they can really hurt themselves trying to scratch away the sting. Same goes for squirrels.
Wendy

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 3:39PM
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jannabeen(z5 US/z6 Canada)

Irish Spring soapÂWho knew? This sounds like an easy solution with little potential for negative side effects. Thank you Wendy!

Cheers, Jannabeen

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 3:18PM
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