Author Topic: Raccoons  (Read 4482 times)

TrMama

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Raccoons
« on: January 31, 2014, 01:54:10 PM »
I'm fairly certain there's a family of raccoons either living under my deck or using it as a "trail" to get from one end of the yard to the other.

The problem is that the deck is only 8" off the ground so I can't get under there or even see underneath without ripping up boards. I can see where they've dug out a little section where there was a small gap between the deck apron and the ground. I've filled it in a couple times, but they just dig it up again.

Do I even need to worry about this? Do raccoons cause any kind of damage or can I just continue my "live and let live" strategy?

hybrid

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2014, 01:59:45 PM »
I wouldn't take that chance.  I would live trap them and relocate them if possible.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 02:43:53 PM »
They can't really damage anything except garbage and plants. If they mess up the garden, then get rid of them.

Spork

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 03:07:51 PM »

If you have a garden: they'll absolutely destroy it.  They're also not necessarily friendly to pets and kids.  If the raccoon has babies... they're even a bit dangerous to a full grown human.  These guys are a smart as they are cute and a lot stronger than they look.

They'll also tear stuff up to get to food: bird feeders, bins of pet food, etc.  They have little hands and are super dexterous.

On the other hand: they're fun to watch.  We have a mess of them, but we try really hard to keep them in the woods and away from the house.

Another Reader

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 03:25:59 PM »
They will tear up your yard and have been known to kill cats, kittens and even small dogs.  They will kill chickens and eat them, and they have small hand-like paws that can get through chicken wire.  They carry a number of communicable diseases and parasites, including rabies.  They can be very aggressive and will bite and scratch - you, your kids, and your pets. 

You may have a local wildlife center that can help you discourage them from coming into your yard and from getting under your deck.  There is information on raccoon deterrents on-line.  Once you get them out from under the deck, seal the space.  Clean up all dropped fruit from trees and put garbage in critter proof containers or keep the cans in the garage.  Do not feed pets outside.

In California, it's illegal to trap and relocate wildlife.  Raccoons generally live in family groups, so if you relocate one, the chances of survival are not high.  Not relocating them also limits disease transmission.  You can hire a commercial trapper, but their only option here is to kill the raccoon.

We have raccoons here that use the storm sewers to travel around.  I'm very careful to get the animals in by dusk and no food or water is left outside. 

Spork

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 03:29:05 PM »

FYI: I use an electric fence to control them.  It runs the perimeter of my yard at the top of the fence.  I'm not sure this applies in your situation, but cheap/easy to do if it does.

lcg377

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 05:17:16 PM »
Is it possible they are skunks?  At least in my area, skunks are way more likely to hang out in proximity to people.  Raccoons can transmit some nasty things if you have kids or pets.  Is there a wildlife center near you? They would be a good resource for advice on how to discourage them. Since they can carry rabies, I wouldn't trap them yourself unless you can guarantee 100% that you can't get any scratches through the cage. 

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/livingwith_wildlife/raccoons/index.html

HumanAfterAll

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 05:31:36 PM »
I've had good luck playing talk radio on very low volume under the deck.  Just enough to annoy them and remind them that humans live there.  They have moved-on.

TrMama

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2014, 05:42:32 PM »
Thanks for all the replies.

We don't have pets, so I'm not concerned about that. I do have two kids though and running into raccoons at night creeps me out. I've seen the around the yard so I know it's raccoons and not skunks.

I'm also not putting up electric fence, since the kids would zap themselves. Although we have a compost bin, they haven't been getting into it, or the garbage. They have been digging up the grass/moss in the yard to get at bugs though.

However, my next door neighbour has a small fish pond and a bird feeder that probably aren't helping. Our property also backs onto forested land so if I were to trap them, they'd just be replaced by more raccoons. Plus, what the heck would I do with a raccoon in a cage?

I think I'll try sealing up the holes and putting some deterrents out. Hopefully they'll get the message. I just wanted to confirm that they won't really cause much damage to the house itself.

Another Reader

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 06:11:42 PM »
They can get into attics and crawl spaces.  The garage and crawl space vents here are covered by chicken wire and they attempted to get into my garage by pulling out the chicken wire.  I had to install heavy duty metal vents to keep them out.  The eave vents are better protected with hardware cloth so no problems there.  The neighbors had a lot of problems with the raccoons digging up the back lawn next to the pool.  Lots of nice, juicy grubs to eat.

You can't control your neighbors.  Raccoons LOVE fish ponds even more than chicken coops.  In your shoes, I would seal everything up and use the recommended deterrents.  Also, I would explain to the kids that although the raccoons are cute, they are wild and therefore dangerous.

Spork

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Re: Raccoons
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 06:50:10 PM »

I'm also not putting up electric fence, since the kids would zap themselves. Although we have a compost bin, they haven't been getting into it, or the garbage. They have been digging up the grass/moss in the yard to get at bugs though.



For what it's worth: They're not dangerous.  And it doesn't take much.  You need one sized for a dog to keep out a raccoon.  I've touched mine.  It hurts.  You let go.  Fast.  We're actually pretty darn animal friendly around here, so this was a way to deal with them and have tomatoes.