Now I have a raccoon

kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)August 1, 2008

Last night, after I went to bed my husband went out to investigate noise in our yard. He was greeted by a lees-than-glad-to- see- him raccoon, all claws and teeth. In 25 years in this house, this is the first raccoon. The raccoon removed the grease drip pan (disposable aluminum) from the Weber grill and was eating the pan. He also ate tomatoes while here.

Can anyone recommend a good repellent that works? is there a simple one like blood meal or allium that might help at all? If I can borrow a havahart trap, what should I use as bait?

Seems the summer heat is finally here. Been out working in the yard, stopped for lunch and cooling off. Won't be able to stay out too much longer- it's just too hot. I was on vacation for a week and everything is overgrown and in sad need of deadheading. Gotta yank lots of giant cleome, some bigger than me, but that awful odor is working like a Karen repellent every time I try.


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Mothballs work great for a lot of animals. Its a great repellent.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 2:57PM
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You will be more successful if you remove what is attracting them, than if you try simply to repel them.
Cat food works great in the trap.

Two years ago I had a problem with raccoons crawling up the brick wall to the second floor balcony where I fed the cats. With a trap I caught 25 in 9 days. The only solution was to stop feeding the cats there.

This spring raccoons dug up all my WS tomato plants. I had placed egg shells, banana peels and epsom salts deep in the planting hole and apparently they could smell it. I finally had to remove the "contaminated" soil. In addition, I installed two rows of electric fence.

Recently, while on vacation I left cat food in a five gallon pickle bucket so the neighbor kids could feed. Even with the lid snapped shut and a 35 pound rock on top, the raccoons managed to be theives in the night.

The state wildlife officer confirmed the idea that whatever is attracting them has to go. I couldn't bear to let them have my tomatoes.....

Good luck. You are up against a major foe.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 3:18PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Thanks for the suggestions.

Linda: have you had results with moth balls for raccoons? What are moth balls made of? Are they poisonous to animals? Damage the soil? Safe around veggies?

Seedmama: My husband got got 2 traps (borrowed from a friend). Thanks for the cat food suggestion. (Canned I guess? It would smell a lot more than dry.) Or maybe a little tuna would work? A local critter gitter recommended apples and marshmallows. Of all these, I only have apples on hand. But since that critter was so fond of that aluminum foil pan last night I thought I might put that inside the trap with apples first. If that doesn't work I'll try the cat food. Thanks.

A local company wants $95 to come with traps, set them, then remove the animal. It's $45 if we trap it in our own cage and they remove it. I'm awfully cheap about things like this. If I do catch it (or them), I'm going to have trouble coughing up $40 to have someone else get rid of it. My husband wants to pay the $45, but I'm considering my options.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 4:05PM
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The Have a Heart traps work like magic - problem is sometimes you catch something you don't want to catch

I tried catching rabbits and every night for a week, we would get either a raccoon (good for you...) or a possum (same thing - annoying animals). Never got the rabbits.

Trouble is: what do you do with them when they are trapped. They have such sad faces, we let them go and then it's starts all over. It's a never ending battle over here - we are loaded with critters.

Good luck, Karen I know the feeling.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 5:23PM
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Keep in mind that raccoons generally have families. It's quite possible you'll be hauling off more than one.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 6:05PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Karen, chances are removing what is attracting it might be all you need to do. A pain to put away the drip pan on you BBQ each use I'm sure, but no more so than me setting up the scarecrow motion activated sprayer in my back yard at night to keep someones cat from eating my nepeta (due to location, DH gets sprayed almost every morning going to his truck too :) Same routine every morning, open the back door, take 5 steps, splash, damn it!, then he leaves)

Your choices of a live trapped nuisance animal in Ohio are euthanize, or release on property that you hold title can't release in the wild yourself. Ohio DNR 1501:31-15-03, standard in many states so easy to find.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 6:56PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Yes, have already discussed these things with my husband. We might pay to have one carted away, but that's it.

We did get a havahart, only one. My husband's friend couldn't find the other. It's baited with apples and marshmallows.

Or, a big container of water. I thought I could pick up the handle with a long stick. I'll probably chicken out though- I'm afraid to get anywhere near that trap, even using a stick.

Any guesses how long they might live trapped in the sun in 90 degree weather with no water?

Most likely, in the morning I'll find the food gone and the trap empty.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 9:10PM
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Although I am the big gardener in the family (many,many flower beds, getting fuller all the time with WS plants)hubby does do a small fenced off area of veggies (mostly toms). Well, the ground hog that "nibbled" his crop last year is back this year in full force - eating everything - tomatoes, zucc's,eggplant. Has not touched my flowers yet but if he does...

Hubby is just so furious about the veggies...he (my mild mannered, gentle spouse) wants the ground hog dead. A farming friend suggested bubble gum. Says the animal will eat it and won't be able to digest it and will die. Hubby has placed bubble gum out there in the beds for 5 nights running now but still sees damage. I guess it will stop when he croaks. The ground hog (smile)

Try some bubble gum on your racoon? The instuctons he received were that it must be wax paper wrapped chunks (hubba bubba, double bubble) not tin foil wrapped like stick gum. I bought him a big tub of double bubble at BJ's for $6.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 11:58PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Karen: Please do not use mothballs in your garden as they are poisonous to us and animals. They contain naphthalene which can cause harm to humans and animals.

I found out I had a racoon only last week when we were trying to trap wild cats in our neighbourhood, so the cat food does work (we got 8 cats). We also caught a ground hog one night, but none of these was causing any problems to my veggies. Some years ago we had a family of racoons under our shed and the only thing they did was tear a couple cucumbers off the vine and bite them. I guess they decided they didn't like them so left them alone. I think if you keep the pan from the grill wrapped in plastic, they will not come back. They are scavengers, and will probably find someone else's yard more tempting.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 4:45AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Thanks, everyone.

It's morning and the trap is empty. What a relief. I hope that raccoon went home and isn't coming back. I haven't checked the garden, I'm kind of afraid to go out there until it's fully light.

Nan, have you seen the groundhog? I don't even know what a groundhog looks like, don't want to ever know either. Obviously, I have always been a city girl. I was wondering whether you'd seen the groundhog, or how you identify groundhog damage and how it differs from what other animals do.

Northerner: thanks for the info on the moth balls. I had a feeling that they might be poisonous. I have been using only organic stuff for the last 3 years. No poisons, pesticides, or chemical ferts. I don't want to poison my soil or any other animals. My yard is loaded with birds and bees and butterflies and hummingbirds, and, of course, my thousands of "pet" worms crawling in my beds. And though my yard is fenced with 4 ft. fence, cats jump right over and prowl my yard at night. I'm not a cat lover, but I don't want to poison them either. Other people's cats have no business in my yard, but I still wouldn't want to harm them.

Theoretically, do cats deter raccoons? I imagine a cat would be no contest against a raccoon?

Last year it was voles that drove me nuts. This year it's deer and raccoons. I never had these problems when I had my hundred pound dogs. I sure miss my golden retriever. Does the scent of dog pee and poop repel raccoons? I could bring my friend's dog around to play in my yard. She loves me and likes to visit. I could also get a bag of her poop and scatter along the fence line.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 7:17AM
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karen - just pray you don't have RABBITS - I think they are worse than any other critter (aside from the vole...).

Set that trap out every night - but a WARNING!!

Once when we caught a raccoon (wanting to catch a rabbit), it was next to a daylily. They have long claws and they can reach out of the trap and shred whatever is around (trying to get out of the trap). Put that trap near close to cement or where you don't care what gets shredded. Luckily, I dug the roots out of the ground and replanted the daylily and it grew back (the foliage), but I learned a hard lesson (and lost blooms for that part of my garden)...

Good luck - thinking of you and your dilemma - you certainly didn't need that this summer with everything else!


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 8:32AM
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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

Dog scent would definately help.

Neighbor up the hill often has raccoons. The fact that he has made a deer feeder and keeps it nicely stocked makes his land a place that raccoons like to visit. Deer too, of course. It's even a visiting spot for the occasional escaped pet rabbit.

We're right next door and have never seen a sign of a raccoon on our land, and it's very rare that a deer crosses our land. Even though both of our dogs are females they routinely mark the fenceline and strategic spots on the interior of the land.

It has to be the marking that's helping because the dogs only have free access to the big yard a few hours per day. (We have a puppy in training for livestock work and it will be a while still before she can work with them without supervision.) That's long enough for them to patrol the fenceline and leave plenty of evidence that dogs are on duty. And that they are well fed. :)

We do find evidence occasionally that a possum will meander through the land, but it genuinely odd how we just don't get raccoons. Even winter tracking is indicating that our visitors are limited to the occasional possum, even less occasional deer, and a fox that seems to have worked out an agreement with the dogs about when and where it's allowed to cross the land.

The fact that we don't have any attractants like bird feeders, food waste or drippings, or accessible livestock grain stores certainly helps. But in our back garden areas we've got those 92 tomato plants and in the front we've got tons of squash, soft fruit and edible ornamentals like sunflowers. The dogs don't even go into the garden areas but they still must be close enough to keep most animals away. Only one rabbit has pilfered produce this year and he's now entered the bunny relocation program.

Now in previous years we've had more bunny visitors. I think the amount of times I walk through the gardens to look at my flowers has done a lot to keep them away. In past years the best way to get rid of them was to put the live catch trap out. We didn't catch many, but I guess looking at the trap in the garden ruined their appetites and they moved elsewhere.

Good luck with the raccoon. If you do catch him and don't know what to do with him I'm sure we could find someone up the holler who'd like to have him for dinner.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 10:01AM
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"Do cats deter raccoons?" I have the "Bad,Bad Leroy Brown" of tough cats, and he won't go near a trapped raccoon. He wouldn't have a chance.

"..sun in 90 degree weather..." They will definitely live until you get home at night. However, I give them shelter and water if I have to leave them there all day. I prop a scrap of plywood up on the west side of the trap to create shade. It sticks up about 18" beyond the top of the cage. Then I drape a water hose over the plywood, out of reach. I give them a good drink then leave a tiny drip going until the critter can be disposed of.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 2:33PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Lynda: I'd love for someone from your holler came and take the raccoon!

Seedmama: You sound much more humane than me.

Carrie: I do have rabbits. Usually I don't see much damage that I attribute to them. I see rabbits occasionally, and find their piles of little poops a lot. Once we had one who built a nest right in the middle of our yard. My husband let the dog out before seeing the rabbit. The golden took off after it, the mom rabbit bolted. My husband took off after the dog in a wild chase, but the 105 lb. golden had a baby bunny in his mouth by then. We were afraid the dog would kill the bunny (he wasn't exactly an experienced hunter). My husband was yelling at the dog, trying to pry his jaws apart, I was screaming at both of them, it was pandemonium. Finally the dog dropped the bunny, it was alive. My husband returned it to the nest with the other babies, and we didn't let the dog in the back yard after that. Within a few hours, all the babies were gone.

Maybe I belong in an apartment in N.Y like pVick. But then I'd probably be plagued by rats or something.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 4:08PM
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