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From Sweet Raccoon to Most Wanted Fugitive ~ How to Get Rid of Raccoons
Who's Smartest? The Human or the Raccoon?
I have to admit I had only seen Raccoons in the Zoo prior dealing with them in my backyard. I always thought they were so cute and sweet! And that adorable face, you just couldn't help fall in love with it. Those were my thoughts on Raccoons........
Update about 30 yrs.....
One morning I noticed the "dog food can" that we keep on the deck had it's lid askew. I thought maybe I didn't put it on just right the day before. After feeding the dogs I replaced the lid and pushed it down to be sure it was on correctly. This happened several mornings in a row. I was blaming the dogs for getting into the can. The way they looked at me was "It's really not us this time Mom!". It rained one night and when I went out the next morning I noticed little wet paw prints on the deck. Puzzled, several varmits came to mind. What in the world would be in my backyard that would be doing this?? I live in a small rural town, but hadn't had any problems in the 17 yrs I've lived here. We put flower around the dog food can to try to catch better footprints. THEN one night we heard a noise. We grabbed a flashlight to see what we could see. Peeked carefully all along the side of the house where the noise came from. All of a sudden the light hit 2 glowing eyes! ACK! Upon closer, but not too close, inspection we saw it was a Raccoon!! Aww.. it's not a varmit at all but a cute Raccoon! Over the next few nights it seemed to get braver. We could watch through the sliding door as it lifted the lid of the can, just a few feet away, and began to eat the dog food. My kids and I thought how cute! We have our own Raccoon!
Now my dogs (a Great Dane and Chihuahua) knew better. They would growl and bark and go crazy! We kept them away so they wouldn't scare the Coons. Yes, the first one had brought a friend with him! We now had two! We figured they were probably a pair and dreamed of seeing babies in the future.
Then one morning when I went out to feed the dogs I found one of my Koi in the gravel by the pond. Oh yes, did I mention we have a large pond full of Koi? The pond looked like a whirlwind had hit it. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! I gathered my thoughts and realized the Raccoons must have gotten it. But why didn't they eat it?? I got in the pond to straighten out the Water Lilies and realized that the Coons had pushed all the rocks around the edges of the pond to the center...to catch the fish easier?! Those smart little buggers. The next morning was the same....another Koi laying on the gravel and the pond a mess.
OK So they are filling up on dog food and then playing 'catch the fish'? Was not our generosity of free dog food not enough? They did't seem as cute as they once did. In fact, I think I was right, they are varmits!!
Time for "Operation Raccoon". Battening down the hatches were the first step. All dog food locked up, bird feeders emptied, trash dumped, etc.. Called animal control and was told after I caught them I could relocate them. Gee thanks. I dug out the Haveahart trap and baited it with tuna, which they are suppose to find irresistible, according to the internet. Next day, nothing, Tried cat food even Sardines, nothing. These guys are smart! I even camouflaged the trap among branches!
I read that dried Coyote urine would keep them at bay. Ordered several cans off the net for sprinkling around the pond. I also read to use fishing line back and forth, over and around the pond to deter them. I broke down and bought a Scarecrow..a motion activated water sprinkler that comes on and sprays in the direction you have it set to cover. So Coyote Urine, ordered, Scarecrow ordered, fishing line used, all moveable perimeter rocks removed. Nothing seemed to work. The only thing the Scarecrow ever scared were our dogs.The Raccoons had made our backyard their feeding ground and we had welcomed them :( I lost about 4 large Koi, the unnerving part was that they didn't eat them, just played with them.
A friend had suggested soaking marshmallows in apple juice and lacing them around the pond. The idea was that the Coons would wash the marshmallows in the pond, the water would make the marshmallows and their hands sticky and since they don't like dirty hangs they would associate that nasty feeling with the pond ~ didn't try that one......
One morning the Coons were still on the deck when I went to feed the dogs. I thought I could open the siding door just enough to shoo them away. Cyndar, my Great Dane pushed by me and pushed open the door enough to get through. She was on one in a flash! I could see she had it upside down. The smaller one ran off and over the fence. Somehow the one she had pinned had jumped on top of her back. She ran around the yard screaming and howling with it on her back! I was in chase with the trash can lid and finally caught up enough to knock it off her. It ran away thank God! But poor Cyndar, she had huge bite marks up and down her back. I cleaned them up as best I could. I called our vet right away (thank goodness they had just opened for the day). I was told to bring her right in. Cyndar received a few shots and needed drains put in where the bites were. She was in so much pain, I felt so bad. We brought her home along with pain meds and antibiotics. She healed fine and we have not had any sign of a Raccoon since then, a little over a year now.
So while I can't offer any suggestions or help with deterring Raccoons, I can tell you what didn't work. And while it was our dog who eventually got rid of them, I would not encourage anyone else to put their pet in such harms way.
Suggestions on Deterring Raccoons
We have not been bothered by Raccoons since the "Great Dog Attack", but would like to know if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, just in case they return.
What have you tried? Did it work? What actually works for bait? All suggestions and ideas welcome!