Raccoons are generally harmless to humans, but if you provoke them, they can become very vicious. They also don’t pose any health risks to us unless they’ve contracted rabies, which is extremely rare. These animals are however a big nuisance to homeowners. At night, they like visiting different homes to look for anything they can eat.
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If you’ve woken up in the morning to find the contents of your garbage can thrown all over your lawn, it’s highly likely that raccoons raided your can. Cleaning the stinking and unsightly mess left behind can be frustrating, especially if you have to do it every day. If you want to know how to make your garbage can raccoon-proof, continue reading below.
Keep Potential Food Sources Out Of Reach
It’s important to understand that raccoons are omnivorous animals with a very extensive diet. When they’re hungry, they’ll eat just about anything they find in your garbage can, yard and other places within your home. This includes leftover pet food, left-over human food, young rodents, birds, insects, snails, and frogs. Therefore, if you want to keep them away from your
home, you have to start by eliminating potential food sources that may be attracting them.
For instance, if you and your family like having meals outside, make sure you properly clean food particles on the table and surrounding areas and place them in a secure garbage can. Also, don’t leave your pet food outside. If there are any leftover foods, take them inside the house and clean up your pet’s food bowl properly.
Raccoons love dog and cat food. So if you keep a food bowl for your pet outside, make sure to pick it up and store it inside for the night. This is important because raccoons can also transmit diseases and fleas to your pets. So don’t let them share a food bowl!
Be sure to store your garbage can out of reach of raccoons too. You can keep it any secure location that these animals can’t access easily likely the basement, garage or shed.
Use Physical Barriers
Raccoons gain access to the contents of your garbage can by knocking it over and crawling inside to look for food. Therefore, placing physical barriers over and around your can to prevent raccoons from accessing its contents. Some physical barriers to consider include:
Install Secure Locks On Your Can
Since raccoons are generally very persistent and intelligent, they’re likely to find a way to remove simple clips and latches used to fasten the lid on your garbage can. It’s advisable therefore to use a strong, secure lock such as a padlock and chain combo to fasten the lid and tie the handles against a nearby wooden or metal pole. This helps to keep your can in an upright position and prevents it from being knocked down.
You can also tie a strong and durable bungee cord (preferably made of rubber) from one handle of the can to the other. Make sure that the cord passes over the lid.
Place A Heavy Block On The Lid
You can also make the lid of your garbage can too heavy for raccoons to open. You can do so by simply putting a heavy concrete block or rock over the lid.
Tightly Seal Your Trash Bags
When you leave your trash bags open, the smell from the wastes is likely to escape into the air and attract raccoons. So, always seal your trash bags tightly before placing them in the can.
Reinforce Your Yard Fence
Since raccoons burrow under the yard fence to get to your garbage can, you can keep them off by adding a mesh wire under your fence to seal any gaps. Make sure the mesh wire extends several inches into the ground to effectively keep these animals off your property.
Buy a lid lock strap
Since there are loads of people who have problems with raccoons plundering their garbage cans, companies have come up with a problem solution product: The Lid lock (Click the link to see at what cheap price your raccoon problem can be fixed). This is a strong, rubber band that locks easily and can be opened with one hand. Very convenient if you are taking out a stinky bag of trash with the other hand! The lid locks are available in different sizes, so they can fit a 33-gallon garbage can, but also a 45-gallon trash can.
Increase The Volume Of The Radio
You can also try leaving a radio playing next to your garbage can all night long and turning up the volume. Noise from human voices usually scares raccoons off, so hearing music playing from the radio will also do the same. However, remember that raccoons are very intelligent animals with strong claws. You have to anchor the radio well if you don’t want these animals to run into the woods with it. Some people complain that raccoons play with their radio at night and turn up the volume. So test this trick to see if it works for you. You can also make sure the raccoons can’t reach the buttons of the radio.
Turn On The Lights Around Your Can At Night
Raccoons are nocturnal animals that love doing their business at night in complete darkness. Therefore, exposing them to sudden bright light can act as a deterrent. Install blinking Christmas lights or motion-detection lights over or around your garbage to help keep these animals away.
Use Repellants Inside And Around Your Can
Sprinkling or spraying natural raccoon repellants such as cayenne pepper or hot pepper can also go along way in deterring these animals. Ammonia also has a very offensive smell that raccoons can’t stand. So, try spraying it inside and around the can to discourage them from coming close.
Overall, if you’re tired of raccoons invading your garbage can every night to look for food, you can use the above-suggested methods to make your can raccoon-proof. Feel free to implement as many methods as you want till you find what works for you.
Not only bad for your garbage can..
Raccoons are not only a nightmare for your garbage can. They dig holes in your lawn and mulch piles, looking for insects to eat. They will also empty bird-feeders and rabbit-feeders. Raccoons chicken coops, steal the eggs and they may even kill some chickens. So make sure the raccoons stay away from your garden.
How to keep raccoons out of your garden
Set a trap
If the raccoon problem is persistent, you can set a raccoon trap. Make sure to set the raccoon free at least 3 miles away from your home. (Please note: check local and state laws first)
Spread dog hair
Some people suggest that spreading dog hair throughout your garden will repel raccoons. They don’t like the smell of humans and dogs. We don’t know if this actually works, but it is a cheap way to try and get rid of raccoons.
Soak tennis balls in ammonia
Soak some tennis balls in ammonia. Place the soaked tennis balls in the corners of the yard, on fence posts, or in trees. It will not only repel raccoons, but also rats, mice, rabbits, and skunks.
10 Facts on Raccoons
1. A wild raccoon lives 3-5 years and can weigh from 10-30 pounds.
2. They have grayish fur, a black mask around eyes and long tail covered with black and brown bands.
3. A new generation of raccoons is born in the spring months. Little raccoons stay with their parents for 6-10 months. In the fall they will leave their parents to build their own home.
4. Raccoons can transmit a number of serious diseases to people, the most common being a virulent strain of rabies that can spread quickly.
5. They can also carry fleas, lice and thicks.
6. In very rare cases raccoon droppings may contain a roundworm egg. If a child comes in contact with the feces, and thus the roundworm egg, it can become blind or it can even lead to death. A very serious and dangerous situation. But keep in mind that this case is very rare.
7. The English word raccoon comes from the Powhatan word aroughcun, which means “animal that scratches with its hands.”
8. Their black mask has a purpose. The black fur absorbs sunlight that otherwise would bounce directly into their eyes and obstruct their vision.
9. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, raccoon fur car coats were a huge trend. A load of poor families made their income hunting raccoon’s and selling them for their fur. The coat provided income and the meat provided protein. The raccoon was hunted extensively and became relatively rare.
10. Raccoons “see” with their hands. They are thought to be colorblind and their vision is weak. Therefore, raccoon’s rely mostly on their sense of touch to locate food. This is crucial when feeding at night.