Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Well, hopefully there are several more years before I have to worry about my own teenagers trashing the place, but there is a family of raccoons who go through my trash on a regular basis, leaving their leftovers all over the side yard for us to pick up. Besides the fact that they do carry diseases (my neighbor found one in her carport, swaying around and not looking quite "right"), they're the one true pest I have to contend with. In my small garden, I may patiently wait 90 days for a single butternut squash. When the raccoons come by and gnaw at just one of my squashes or melons, it can be really frustrating.
Besides their diseases, messy habits, and ability to devastate my backyard garden harvest, they're aggressive. On this particular day, I had to call animal control after hearing noises in the trash can for going on 2 hours. Turns out all the guy was really able to do was tip the trash can over (I guess I could have done that!). Apparently, since the trash was dumped the day before, the raccoons were able to get in to the bin, but since it was empty, had no way to get themselves out. The animal control guy said there were 2 fat "teenaged" raccoons in the trash can.
I did learn some interesting tips. The raccoons have very nimble hands and are often able to work their way around bungee cords, ropes, etc. They get into the cans by climbing the fence next to the cans and lifting the tops. The best way to prevent raccoons from getting into the cans is by setting them away from anything they can climb. Unfortunately for me, I have a very small side yard and there is no way to set the cans entirely by themselves. He also mentioned that we should make the contents unappetizing to the raccoons. One suggestion was to keep a spray bottle of bleach nearby and every time a bag goes in, the top of the bag gets sprayed with bleach. I may save this smart suggestion as a last resort. The easiest trick might be to simply set a heavy rock on top of the can. Several ideas to try!