Hedge plants

Raccoons in the garden - signs, control and prevention

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Raccoons have no natural predators and are spreading more and more. They don't even stop in front of gardens and buildings and cause enormous damage.
© veroja - Fotolia.com

There are said to be around 500,000 raccoons in Germany. The nocturnal omnivores prefer to live in forests and near water. Often, however, these supposedly cute animals are also drawn close to humans, where they can cause enormous damage. It can also happen that they set up their camp in the attic in order to raid the garden at night.

Signs of raccoons in the garden

The most obvious signs of raccoons are probably the damage done on the nightly forays.
Large lawns and compost heaps can be churned up in search of worms and white grubs, or ripe fruit and berries can be eaten before you can harvest them. Raccoons do not stop at waste when searching for food. It is not uncommon for garbage cans to tip over and be emptied or for garbage bags to be torn apart. Flower pots often break or garden furniture is damaged during nightly explorations in the garden.
Other signs of raccoons can be clear footprints or feces.

Attention:
Raccoons can transmit a number of infectious diseases and parasites through their faeces, which can be dangerous for humans and pets. So if you find raccoon droppings anywhere, you should never come into direct contact with them. Therefore, be sure to wear gloves when collecting them and then burn the faeces.
If you want to be absolutely sure who is causing damage in your garden again and again, you can also install a game camera in your garden.

Tip: When purchasing the camera, make sure that it is also suitable for night photography (see Frankonia.de). Most predators come at night like the raccoon.

Fight raccoons and keep them away

By "fighting" is by no means meant to catch or kill. On the one hand, this is only permitted to a limited extent and is punishable by violating regulations with severe fines and prison terms. On the other hand, this makes no sense, as new ones will appear very quickly. Raccoons have a kind of strategy: the population adjusts to compensate for losses. That is, as more raccoons die, more raccoons are born.
So it makes more sense to take raccoons away from your garden.

Garbage and waste

© jon_chica - Fotolia.com Since raccoons also look for food in garbage cans and garbage bags, you have to make sure that they cannot be looted by raccoons. You can do this by securing your garbage cans so that they cannot be opened. Among other things, strong rubber bands or heavy stones on the bin are suitable for this. It is best to secure this with a lock. Garbage bags should not be left outside at night. It makes sense to put them out in the morning.

Compost heap

Make absolutely sure that you do not throw high-quality food waste such as meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and bread on the compost heap.
Garden and vegetable waste, potatoes and the like are of no interest to raccoons and can be composted without problems.
Tip: If you compost your high-quality food scraps, but don't want to attract raccoons, I recommend a lockable quick composter.

Fruit

Raccoons are excellent climbers. It is therefore extremely important that you prevent small predators from climbing onto fruit trees. You can achieve this, for example, by attaching an approx. 1 meter high sheet metal sleeve, which, thanks to its smooth surface, offers no holding options. However, you also have to make sure that there are no climbing possibilities from other trees or from buildings.
Ripe fruit both near the ground and on the tree should be harvested as soon as it is ripe. This will help you avoid falling fruit, which the raccoons also like very much. Should fruit fall on the floor, you should remove it immediately.

Animal feed

Raccoons also like dog and cat food. Therefore, avoid feeding your animals outdoors or clear the leftovers in the evening.
Bird food is also interesting for raccoons. Therefore, avoid that raccoons can get there.

Technology

In various online shops, I also found a few devices that are supposed to scare away the raccoons. Most of them work with ultrasound and / or flash light. But there are also devices that emit blue light pulses via LEDs. It has now been proven that blue light acts as a deterrent to deer. According to the manufacturer, it should also have the same effect on raccoons.

Note:
Incidentally, the raccoon doesn't just cause damage in the garden. If he has nested in your attic, he will usually do much more damage there. That is why it is important that you secure your home from raccoons:

  • Smooth metal cuffs (1m high) over the downpipes of the gutters can prevent a climb to the roof.
  • You should cut down trees and shrubs that reach to or over the roof generously so that the raccoon cannot climb over.
  • Seal openings in roof boxes with solid building materials so that the raccoon cannot get into the attic.
  • A strong metal grille on the chimney prevents entry.
  • Climbing plants should be pruned so that at least 1 m of air remains up to the roof edge. This will prevent the raccoon from gaining access to your attic this way.

Tip: I spent a long time looking for sheet metal sleeves for downpipes and tree trunks and then came across this supplier of sheet metal sleeves - both for trees and for downpipes.

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