How can I keep raccoons away?

Not only do I live next to the woods, but my neighbor loves raccoons and buys bread to feed them and also feeds the deer. It is not correct to feed wild animals, and the neighbors are nice and in any case have to be gotten along with. They don’t let their big dog chase the raccoons away. 365 afternoons a year all 38 or so of them gather for the feeding next door and 365 nights a year they clamber around on my roof and uproot my garden plants, knock things over, and would destroy the fountain set up I would have if I hadn’t given up on that because of them years ago. The deer eat down the expensive yews and the tulips and everything else except daffodils, and they even gnaw on junipers and of course completely denude the big juicy magnolia buds of spring, and the pussy willow pussies… The question is,isn’t there some device that I can buy or have somebody make that sends out a signal that humans can’t hear but deer and racoons hate? The only thing that currently gets rid of these miserable animals is a few a week wind up as road kill. My second question is, one always hears about ecology being so balanced and wonderful: the natural enemies of a species keep it down, but this isn’t working! Why don
t the raccoons and deer come down with coyotes, which I think are in the area, or with viruses that spring up and kill them off? Could it be that nature really isn’t balanced at all, and is mainly a matter of vicious creatures ruining and killing everything, and it is just a matter of time? When people speak about how wonderful nature is, I want to hold up a picture of nature’s ugly fatass raccoons rummaging around in a mess of garbage or lying flattened out into two dimensions in the road, or the hoof and part of a foreleg of a deer in a ditch. Signed, HELP!!! Chicago area

I’ve seen a little raccoon dying of distemper. Does that make you feel better?

Here are a few web sites which might help you out:

Starting with your second question:

As far as ‘nature being out of balance’, charts of normal predator and prey populations look like two slightly out-of-sync sine waves: the first (prey) will peak and as it falls, the second (predator) will then fall.

Unfortunately, the coyotes and other large predators have likely been extirpated as ‘undesirable’, leaving the family dog/packs of dogs to take their place, not to mention hunters (if that is allowed in your area). Humans have caused much of the out-of-balanceness: loss of habitat crowds more animals into a smaller foraging area, and loss of normal larger predators (canines, felines, and birds of prey (for raccoons) usually means population explosions.

Viruses, diseases, rabies, distemper and parasites can run rampant through large gatherings of animals, particularly if there are a lot of feces where the animals are feeding. Unfortunately some of these can be transmitted to domestic pets and humans (there are several people undergoing rabies shots after exposure to a horse with the disease [likely got it from a raccoon, according to reports]). By feeding the animals and encouraging more into a smaller area and closer contact, your neighbors are unwittingly encouraging a possible pandemic.

As far as the first question:

There are ultra or super sonic devices for driving away rodents (these are the ones that they warn you not to use around pet hamsters). Not sure how useful they would be in your situation, but they’re worth a try.

No coyotes in the area? How about their urine instead. (Note - don’t get this on yourself.) Use it sparingly around the flowerbeds and shrubs (not on, though), and reapply after rain. Nothing like advertising a potential threat to the deer and raccoon. One scent of a preator and they will avoid the area.

Can you put up some sort of fence or large hedge to keep the critters out of your yard?

Can you wrap the trees? Use either a steel collar around the tasty bark or large netting over the beds.

Have you contacted your local Cooperative Extension office? Perhaps they may have some other suggestions to keep the critters out of your flowerbeds.

Worse comes to worse, check your local laws and (if applicable) homeowners association contracts. Several of the new subdivisions in the area have regulations on bird and animal feeding (there are a couple of places where groups of peacocks have settled in and the neighbors are very divided over the issue of feeding or non-feeding).

This may also be a possible health hazard, given the potential threat of disease and automobile accidents. Keep the number of the health department nearby, especially if you notice one of them acting odd (the animals).

The biggest obstacle is to get your neighbor to stop feeding the animals. S/he is not feeding them anything healthy (bread is not a nutitional food for them), s/he has a possible outbreak just waiting, and s/e is training them to expect a handout.

We feed animals only to bring them closer to us. They’ve survived well before we came along.

Now before anyone jumps on me for not being an animal lover - I am. I work for a large nationwide consevation organization; I get calls daily and on my voice mail about sick and injured animals, and nuisance animals (especially when someone moves and the critters are still walking up to the back door expecting to be fed, then getting aggressive and nasty when there is no food forthcoming from the new people who live there).

I just got off the phone with a person with an injured raccoon - it was fighting with another raccoon over some dogfood left on the back porch for the raccoons, and the loser was pretty badly chewed up. Now this happens in nature all the time, but feeding and leaving food out for them just encourages the competition. From the description of his injuries, this little guy will probably no longer be in the gene pool. He may have lost his life at any time, but why hasten the process.

There are products you can buy to keep dogs and cats out of your flowers. I see no reason these won’t work on coons. I believe I have seen some to keep deer out of gardens.
Your first step though would be to talk to your neighbor. Be blunt. They are cute but an occasional visit is all you want. And tell your neighbors of your upcoming efforts to keep the wildlife away.

I keep raccoons away with a small, neat sign outside my house saying, “Raccoons, please go away.”

“But there are no raccoons in your home city of Sydney, Australia!”, I hear you say.

“Exactly”, I reply, “My sign is working”.

Screech-owl is right on time with her asessment. I’ll offer this additional hint. If you’re in an area that allows for it, ummm, mark your territory. Yep, what I’m saying is to go out and piss your boundaries. This worked for me. Mr. Elelle and all other male visitors(yeah, we were in a fine hickfest), were encouraged to piss outside. It really did help!

I have noticed fewer of them since my Wife and her dogs moved in.

I used to work in a Hotel In Florida. It was on it’s own island and we had wilderness around us.

Raccoons were the number one problem. How to rid them? We got a big tough cat. She was pretty good at adopting the hotel as her turf. But the guests kept feeding them so despite the risks they came back.

Where there is food the raccoons will come. Hosing them just scares them for the moment they will come back with their hands and they even lift up garbage can lids.

They are tough but if you don’t feed them they will leave.

Don, you say you live next to the woods. Is it a park? If not just contact a trapper or some places have animal removal experts. Back when I was trapping I’d have had a permanent grin if someone had a bunch of raccoons to remove and asked me to do it.

I agree with screech-owl. Go to a sporting-goods store (the kind that sells guns, or at least archery equipment) and buy some preditor urine (any kind). Sprinkle this in any area that you don’t want racoons/wildlife. Reapply bi-monthly.

a)Emigrate to a country that doesn’t have them.
b)Have my wife sing to them
c)Be careful you may come back as one in a future life

Heh. Are you in Pacific Grove don? That’s what its like here in PG.

Eventually the chief of police got fed up with it & trapped a bunch on his own property & then got them gassed, which upset a lot of people.

50% of the yards in PG have raccoon roundworm, a rather nasty parasite. You might look that up & tell your neighbors about it & hopefully it’ll discourage them because there isn’t much more that you can do.

Plus the deer thing happens here too, wow, you must be nearby.

      • The problem with using predator urine [esp. fox] is that it smells, and not a little, and getting a cat or dog yourself is just more trouble for you. Check with your local animal control dept: explain the situation, and see what they say. What your neighbors are doing may be illegal for more than one reason.
  • To prevent deer, you have to erect a fence at least eight feet high, and it has to be a visible fence, else they may just go crashing through it at night and you’ll find the mess+entangled deer in the morning. - MC

You can get some lion urine at the zoo & use that. I’d sure like to see the expression on the deer’s face when it gets a wiff of that.


Is your yard dark? Quiet? How much space between your house and the neighbors?

I’d go with the urine idea, first. And I know I’ve seen deer repelant, although I can’t think of a brand name. You might want to check Farmer’s co-ops, or supply stores. Up here in Wisconsin we have Farm and Fleet or Fleet Farm Stores. Dreat places to go for deep suburban or rural pest problems.

Another idea is a motion sensitive light near your garbage cans. Or possibly an audible alarm. Maybe radio shack can help you there. If your neighbors are close, annoying lights flashing and alarms going off everytime Rocky and Ricky come to your house for supper, might convince them that the racoons don’t need feeding.

After the other night, when I looked out on my front porch to see a midsize racoon sitting between my two cats and waitng to be let in, I wouldn’t put much faith in feline protection.

You might try this site

The urine sounds like a good idea???
As a one time trapper I can tell you that coyote urine does not worry a coon. Maybe deer but a coon is a pretty tough hombre and he knows it.

If memory serves, moth balls will keep 'coons away. Skunks for sure, I don’t guarantee raccoons, but worth a try or some further investigation.

[Insert obligatory “I didn’t even know they had balls!” joke here.]

…That (and I’m not debating the urine theory…it’d keep ME away) either the fur from a predator or some fecal matter would work on raccoons. According to what I read (and I can’t remember where), you should be able to get either from the local zoo. Or you could invest in a gun, and shoot the lil bastards.