Raccoon family

Raccoon family (Photo by Jane Gates)

Looking at those little bandit faces, raccoons could fool you into thinking they are cute. In some parts of the country raccoons can be worrisome due to the fact that they can carry by dangerous diseases like rabies. But even where disease is not a primary worry, these curious-looking critters can be destructive and seriously bothersome. They can be vicious fighters with pets, fish pond destroyers and raiders of the garden. Raccoons have become highly adaptive to human habits and are thriving as the human population spreads. Protecting your property from their marauding is a good idea, so here are some garden tips: discourage raccoon pests! There are a lot of tricks that just don’t work since these critters are agile and smart. But there are some steps you can take.

If you allow food or trash to gather in your landscape you will be inviting raccoons into your property. Never leave pet food and water outdoors. Fasten down trash can lids if you have edible material to throw out. And plan to build barriers to protect fruit and vegetables as well as ponds that house fish. Fruit, vegetables and fish are gourmet meals for raccoons. You may even have to surround your pond with an electrified wire to discourage raccoon pests from nighttime fishing. These low-shock wires will make your pond harder to invade. But since the shock is not dangerous but unpleasant for humans, too, you might want to set your electric wire on a timer so it is ‘hot’ during nighttime hours when raccoons are active but people are less likely to come into contact.

Never intentionally leave food and water out for raccoons even if you do like their fuzzy masked faces. Also beware of keeping food – including pet food – in bags or other containers that do not block the scent of food in your garage. These garden tips should at least help you discourage raccoon pests from reeking havoc in your yard.