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Keeping Raccoons out of your Garbage

Several years ago, I was startled awake by a strange clanking noise.  It was coming from outside and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.  I peeked out the front curtains only to see a raccoon in my front yard.  It had an old metal coffee tin in its hand and after watching for a few minutes, I realized what this wily raccoon was doing.

The coffee can held old bacon grease, orange peels and other smelly food garbage.  I had duct taped the lid on to the can earlier in the day so it wouldn’t spill on me and placed it out in my garbage can.  The raccoon, in an effort to get at the smelly garbage, had pulled the metal garbage lid under a tree.  It then grabbed the coffee can, climbed high into the tree and dropped the can onto the lid.  He repeated this process until the lid opened up and the food spilled out.

Raccoons are extremely smart nuisance pests. They can be found in almost every back yard and in every climate.  The problem is that they are almost impossible to keep out of your yard if they really want to get in.  The gimmicks being sold on TV don’t really work.  And there’s no real chemical solution that will stop them in their tracks. However, there are some actions you can take to make your backyard unappealing to these raccoons.

Raccoon proof your garbage can. Of all raccoon tips, this is the absolute number one tip that you should make sure to do.  Nothing attracts raccoons like garbage.  Therefore, it’s important to make sure your garbage cans don’t have holes in the can and it has a tight fitting lid.  You can use a bungee cord to hold the lid on tight. You can also get plastic garbage cans that have snap-on lids that can deter raccoons.  Make sure all your garbage gets into the can and nothing is spilled on the outside of the can.

Keep animal or pet food in the house or tightly secured.  Raccoons like bird food, cat food, dog food or fish food.  They also need a source of water, so if you have a pool, keep the pool stairs up or the pool covered at night.

If you have a pet door, lock and close it over night.  Keep the garage door and windows closed. Trim back tree branches that extend over your roof.  Raccoons are great climbers and will easily climb up a tree and onto your roof.

Check for any holes or openings that might be enticing for a pregnant female searching for a safe place to have her babies.  These can include holes around exhaust fans and vents.  Make sure they are sealed as tightly as possible.

If you find one has gotten into your house anyway and isn’t leaving, your best bet is to call for help to trap and relocate the pest.  Don’t take this step yourself as raccoons can carry rabies and professionals are better equipped to deal with these types of pests.

28 Jul

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