Racoons and Tomatoes

Gregory EleserJuly 21, 2007

Do racoons eat tomatoes?

Here is the evidence.

This morning and several other mornings I have found a half eaten 2 pound yellow brandywine tomato on the ground.

These tomatoes were picked, not chewed off of the vine. It takes me using both hands and a firm tug to pick one, so I know this animal is strong.

No evidence of plant damage. Sometimes the tomato is half eaten but left on the vine.

The row is next to a creek which is excellent cover.

Also, I bought the parent tomato at a farmer's market. It is a yellow brandywine and produces very well.

Each tomato is over one pound with many in the two to two and one half pound range. Is this a normal yellow fruiting brandywine trait?

Not very many seeds in it either. Tastes delicious!

Thanks for your replies in advance,

Gregory

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hortist(5/6)

Yes they do.

Try to get rid of the racoon by trapping and releasing it at least 5 miles from your home in a non-populated area.

Racoons can carry the most virulent form of rabies. This highly contagious form is worse than what skunks, bats and ferral dogs carry. You dont want them around if you can avoid them.

Some people kill them and that is actually what my conservation agent said to do. They are getting over populated in many urban/suburban areas as they have no real predators.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 11:39AM
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trudi_d

Opposums are very clever too, I have some that wait until my apples are day-before-perfect to rob then. I thought it was raccoons but then saw an opposum with one. Stolen food tastes best, but to them it's just a matter of being hungry and you've got the table laid.

Both raccons and opossums can climb fencing. If trapping is not working, you can invest in an electification unit to enclose the fence with electrified wire and set it to give them a harmless but zinging jolt. They learn really quick.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 12:25PM
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strax(z5)

please do not release your pests into the countryside. if you dont have the heart to put them down, don't trap them. We dont want them here. We are sick of drop-off dogs, cats, squirrels, raccoons, etc. Drop off animals dont fit into the ecosystem and they either die quickly or starve/get disease and die slowly. You are not doing them any favors dropping them off to die and/or be someone else's problem.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 4:43PM
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hortist(5/6)

When I called the state and asked what were my options my conservation agent told me to kill mine.

I reminded him that I would be breaking local ordinances if I did so and he said "wow you are in a catch-22".

He told me to release them on gov property and provided a lists of sites. This state has sites to do so. Some kinds of animals require notification that you were releasing them and one was limited to the amount of what species released.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 5:13PM
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gonefishin(z7bTx)

I hope that you can catch the culprit that is eating your nice tomatoes. Man those sound like nice ones to lose that way.

Three properties back up to my property. The nothmost one is owned by our local "cat woman" but she keeps them housed and well cared for, no complaints. A big coon started eating her cat food where she fed some outside and she wanted to borrow my hav-a-hart trap. She caught a big old mean boar coon the first night and told me that she was glad that she had tied a thin cable on to the trap, because the thing had managed to tumble and roll the trap about 20 feet away from where it was set.

The animal control people told her that they were going to put the thing down because they thought that it was dangerous to urban pets etc., and did before they even took it out of the trap. They said that I must have a very good trap and were surprised that the coon had not torn it up.

It may have been the same one that Tom, her next door neighbor had caught a month or so before that had some screen wire and chicken wire caught on it, like it had been into someone's chicken pen. Tom got the wire off and released the thing, which I thought at the time was a mistake.

I have had a possum relocation program ongoing for several years, but there always seems to be at least one more around. I usually give them a ride to the river bottom, the alligators, cougars, bob cats, foxes and wolves probably need to find food there rather than come into urban neighborhoods any more often than they already do.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 12:35AM
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billtex(8atx)

IF YOU HAUL OFF COONS THEY WILL EVENTUALLY COME BACK OR SOME OTHER COON WILL TAKE ITS PLACE. i HAVE LOTS OF COONS AND THE POLICE SAID THE ONLY SAFE WAY TO GET RID OF THEM IS TO SHOOT THEM, BUT WIFE WONT LET ME. I REALLY DOUGHT COONS ARE THE CULPRIT. I WOULD SUSPECT POSSUMS,WOODCHUCKS, OR SOMETHING ELSE. COONS HAVE NEVER ATE MY TOMS IN PAST 8 YEARS. BILL W

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 9:54AM
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hortist(5/6)

Bill

when you put a half eaten tomato in a trap and next day find a racoon in the trap and the half eaten tomato gone you can be assured some coons eat tomatoes.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 11:14AM
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Gregory Eleser

Thanx to all of you for your responses.

I plant to trap whatever it is and send it off to boot hill!

Greg

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 11:21AM
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drtomato(5 Ortonville MI)

'07
5-COONS
11-OPOSSIUM
2-RABBIT
?-CHIPMUNKS
1-SQUIRREL

'06
24-COONS
4-OPOSSIUM
2-GROUNDHOGS
?-CHIPMUNKS
1-CAT
3-SQUIRREL

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 12:33PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

Coons will eat just about anything, no doubt, and as with many pests, where there is one there are more. You didn't complain about any other plants being eaten but if there are, esp. greens, it could be a woodchuck/groundhog!!

Tracks or stool samples left behind will give more clues. Coons sometimes bury their poo, sometimes leave it on something higher off the ground.
NOTE: Raccoon scat is tubular and blunt on the ends. Scat may contain parasites that can get into human lungs, so handling it is not advisable.

Have you noticed if the damage is happening during the day or at night?

In any case you may consider swimming lessons for whatever you might trap. Use a garbage can or the still part of a stream (or pond) using a rope to retrieve your trap.

I have used coyote urine with moderate success, however it does have to be "refreshed" every 2-3days and placed in a container right next to 'whatever'. Harvesting early may be the best solution until you get the culprit.

Below are a couple of links you may find useful:

Common Raccoon Procyon lotor


Raccoon Tracks


Managing Raccoon Problems

If all esle fails....
----------------------------------------------------
Barbecued Raccoon Recipe (I have NOT tried this)

1 Coon
1 bunch celery
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large red onions, quartered
3 hot red peppers
1 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons salt

Separate and wash celery. Place all ingredients in pot with enough water to cover coon. Bring to slow boil; cook until tender, or until fork goes in easily--about 1 to 2 hours depending upon size and age of coon. Remove meat from pot, cut off front and back legs; cut remainder into four pieces. Place on rack, brush with your favorite barbeque sauce. Place in 400�F oven; turn and baste frequently with barbecue sauce until a golden brown--45 minutes to 1 hour.

Good Luck,
Gumby_CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Adult males may occupy areas of 3 to 20 square miles;

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 1:31AM
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