Living on the edge of forest land, we see our share of wildlife around these parts. Whether it be coyotes, big cats or deer, we have lots to view and or hunt if we choose. But one animal, in particular, has wrecked havoc in my life, maybe yours too, is the raccoon.
Yes, these guys are cute and fluffy and you just want to squeeze the crap out of them. The little trash pandas (thank you honey) are great scavengers, super smart and will stop at just about nothing to collect their next meal.If you have ever been victimized by a raccoon, then you understand my plight. I am sure some of you are saying “Come now Marlene, can they be that bad?” The answer, my quizzical friend, is most definitely YES.
Before I go any further, let us look at a quick history of the nasty vermin.
(side note: if you cannot tell by now, I am not a fan of the raccoon.)
We all know about the black mask, giving them the ‘bandit’ nickname. But did ya know that they have camo type fur? Their backs are dark to match the forest floor, and the belly is light to match the sky when in trees. So, that means they are sneaky scavengers who are super smart.
The scavenger part is what brings me to write this. When we first moved to our old house, I was unaware of these little beasts. (There, I said it. They are beasts.) Naive, young and dumb. Call it what you want, I was completely unprepared.
When things stop being cute, they start getting REAL
The first bad experience was before I had children of my own. Matt went to a party and I had to work the next day. I went to go outside and there was a rather large coon just chilling on my front porch.So I did what any strong independent girl would do; I grabbed a tiki torch and tried to gently nudge him off so I could continue what I was doing. Imagine my surprise when he GRABBED THE TIKI TORCH OUT OF MY HANDS. You know what? I suddenly realized I actually did not need to be outside. For any reason.
After that incident, I quickly realized that in order to enter or leave my property, I needed to feed them.This is a terrible idea so please do not do it. I began buying all the old bread from the bakery I worked at and throwing it out of the car window just so I could sprint into the house. That’s when the vicious cycle began.
You see, what happened was the raccoons began to trust and depend on ME to feed them nightly. That was counterproductive to my cause. Soon, they started coming right up to us. Running at my nieces and little sister to get the food they had. It was terrifying. In my quest for safety and a solid piece of mind, I started looking for ways to deter the little monsters instead of enabling them. And what I found was enlightening.
The Hot Messes Guide for what Not To Do When dealing with Raccoons.
1. Pick up all food sources, including pet food. If you store your dog or cat food outside (like I do) make sure it is out of the bag and in a container with a lid. I recommend either a large trash can with lid or Rubbermaid tote with lid.
2. Securely close trash cans. Remember how I told you they are scavengers? That means they like garbage too. I once had them tag team my garbage and an entire family feasting. I woke to a huge mess in the driveway. Not cool.
3. Do not use a high pitch high-frequency device. There is no evidence at all it actually works. Plus, dogs and some people can hear it and it sometimes hurts their ears.
4. Invest in a good live trap, or call an exterminator. The Best way to remove the problem is to ACTUALLY remove it and relocate it. But if you are like me and just don’t trust them not to grab onto your hand and essentially passing rabies or some other blood born illness, just make the call.
5. DO NOT FEED THEM!! I cannot tell you how many people, myself included, have made this mistake and then have had to work extra hard to fix the problem. If you never feed them, they most likely won’t trust you. Making them easier to scare away.
6. Use a motion sensor flood light. As I mentioned, raccoons are nocturnal animals. This means they are most active when the sun goes down, and right before sunrise. Getting caught in a bright ray of light is not something that will be pleasurable for the raccoon and they usually flee.
7. Try a scarecrow. Although, raccoons are highly intelligent creatures and will likely soon figure out that the scarecrow is none other than a scare tactic.
Note: Raccoon droppings may carry a parasite that can be fatal to humans. Do not handle or smell raccoon droppings and wash your hands if you touch any
“ One of the great myths surrounding wildlife pest control is animals are afraid of humans. ‘It’s more scared of you than you are of it’ is a common phrase uttered by parents around the globe. That’s not true. In fact, animals are rather indifferent to humans. They don’t trust us, but that doesn’t mean they are afraid of us. “ –raccoonatticguide.com
I found that quote to be rather interesting. I swear every mom I know has muttered that same phrase at least one time in their mothering career.
To me, the MOST important thing to take away from all this is you must secure trash and pick up anything food related. Beyond that, taking these extra steps to ensure you are well covered from scavengers will most definitely help in your quest.
Have you had problems with wildlife? Are the deer eating your roses? Do moles dig up your beautiful lawn? What do you do to keep the wildlife or even neighborhood animals out of your hair and off your radar? Please share!!
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