We Got Raccoons

They come in the night, they do, and in this case they tore open this bag of birdseed to get at the sunflower seeds. It’s moderately annoying, but we just bought the tight-seal plastic container we should have bought in the first place, so when the raccoons return tonight (and they will) they’re going to be disappointed. That’s what they get for making a mess, man. If they’d delicately opend up the birdseed and just snaked a few seeds, we’d have been none the wiser. But there’s no way to explain that one to a raccoon.

29 Comments on “We Got Raccoons”

  1. Even better revenge? A bag of seed coated with capsicum. Also known as “what makes Tabasco HOT!” Birds can’t taste it; they have no receptors for such. Squirrels, coons, possum, etal? The inevitable predictable results. If you’re good with an infared camera (or could rig a sensor) you might catch the steam coming out their ears :)

    “The Artoo unit emitted a few wilted beeps, as if it had been expecting a glass of mild wine and unwittingly downed several gulps of something 180 proof.” — Star Wars, the original and best, in its original form (a paperback novel).

  2. There’s no proof that this was the work of Raccoons. Your post is libelous, sir!

  3. Raccoons have hands. They know how to open a multitude of containers. Now that they know you have birdseed, you are doomed. Capsicum, quickly!

  4. One bag of seeds? Piffle, Sir, that’s nothing.

    I have a small weekend cabin up in the local mountains that was constantly being vandalized by raccoons with a sense of humor (theirs, not mine). They ripped up magazines and newspaper and tore up kindling wood, then left two trails of the debris, parallel lines across the floor through the living room into the kitchen or into the bathroom. When we cleaned it up, they’d come back in our absence and do the exact same thing again. I have the photos to prove this. This had absolutely nothing to do with the mess other critters make when stealing nesting material from me; this showed planning and sophistication.

    Neighbors, on hearing about this, would say, “Oh, that’s rats.” The I’d take them indoors and they’d agree rats just aren’t that intelligent.

    A son-in-law moved the gas stove and found where the raccoons were gaining entry and sealed it. No more mess!

  5. From your optimism about keeping raccoons out I’m guessing you’ve never been in conflict with them before. You may find that there’s a fine line between what a raccoon can open, and what a person can open.
    …. Enjoy

  6. Capsicum in their food supply is your best bet. A friend of mine once observed a squirrel raid his pepper patch. On the second nibble the tree rat became capable of flight and went to the top of the tallest tree in1.5 seconds. It never returned.

    A problem is that raccoons are smart and have hands. Stopping them with treated food may result in them finding some other avenue of attack.

  7. Is there water around? I used to have a whole gaze of raccoons come up and eat left over dry cat food. They were really cute but left a mess in the water dish. Once the water dish was removed they stopped coming.

  8. My sympathies. I had a rat problem in my crawlspace — they got into some spare grass seed; I wouldn’t have noticed if rats don’t frickin’ poop every @#%!$ footstep all over the !%!@$ place.

    But I thank Kent Brockman they didn’t have opposable thumbs, like your coming procyonid overlords.

  9. It could be worse, it could be a skunk.

    In my previous home, we had a shed on the side of the house wherein we kept various garden implements, lawn mower, and a bag of cocoa mulch (mmmm, nice garden).

    So a few hours before leaving on vacation, I said, “I’d better cut the lawn.” I opened the shed, saw a skunk nesting happily on a torn-open bag of cocoa much, closed the door and said, “The lawn can wait for us to get back.”

    After returning we noticed a skunky odor passing the front of the house about the same time every night. Knowing they’re nocturnal, I figured it had just left, not returned, and boarded up the hole in the side of the shed. Never saw it again… but it was probably the road pizza that stunk up the neighborhood for the next few days.

  10. What I did not know before putting in a new lawn: the little bastards like to pull new turf up to get at the grubs underneath.

    We used to have a cat door that had a little magnetic lock to keep out any beasts without the appropriate magnetic collar on. It only took the raccoons one evening to figure out how to force it. We found them in the kitchen happily munching on cat food.

    But the best story is this: We have a crawl space under the house. We used to have a classic tub/shower unit in the spare bathroom and what we did not at first realize was that there was essentially hole under the tub that was a foot in diameter. We discovered this when we started hearing animal noises coming from behind the shower unit. At least one litter was born there.

    Around then, we removed some old medicine cabinets in order to replace them with a flat mirror. This left a large hole in the wall while we were waiting to get the mirror. One day, I am standing there using the toilet for its intended purpose when I hear a noise. I look over and see a raccoon staring straight at me.

    Fortunately, we’ve remodeled that bathroom and fixed those problems.

    There were two different litters of raccoons born under our house (and/or in the walls) that we are aware of. They liked to play on our roof and on our patio cover, which was covered with grape vines. One of the first litter was an albino. It hung around the area for years, though I heard it eventually fell a foul of the neighbors dog.

    On a darker note, once I found evidence that one of the neighborhood cats had a very fatal run-in with one. I’m not sure, but that seems the most likely.

  11. Tangentially related animal story:

    This morning, on my way to the gym, I saw the neighborhood cat running along the road. I slowed down because it looked weird. It was dragging a rabbit at least half its size back to its house.

    I mean, wow. Congrats, cat.

    Somehow though, I suspect that it’s just going to feed the coyotes. And at least Raccoons don’t howl at the moon.

  12. Raccoon stories are legion.

    A friend rescued a kit, raised it for about 18 months and returned it to the wild. Now, at least 5 generations later, mom raccoon routinely brings her new litter by for inspection, approval and a handout.

    A preferred commercial food for racoons is Purina Monkeychow. Yes.

    They do not need water to eat their food. Numerous up-close and personal encounters with several local denizens has proven this time and time again.

    Many of the ones I’ve run into (and had the time to get to know) get along famously with cats. My first cat (some 30+ years ago) had a raccoon friend he’d hang out with in the backyard for an hour or so around sunset.

    The last one I entertained as a sometime houseguest would wait until the cats (a colony being cared for) had finished their feed, patiently sitting off to the side and ‘waiting his turn’.

    Raccoons out in the daytime are generally considered to be sick (including rabies – stay away) but they can also be healthy animals that were either pets or who have become very habituated to people. (They will change their eating hours to accomodate you.) If you are in the habit of making friends with wildlife, I’d make sure to study such animals for quite some time before getting too close.

  13. If the plastic container holds – let us know. Our raccoons chewed through the plastic.

    Now the food is inside. No more raccoons!

  14. The day after we successfully raccoon-proofed our garbage cans, we found several rather deep teeth imprints around the ridge. Send us a photo if you see the same next time.
    The raccoon momma by our house used to bring her family to our living room sliding glass door and show them all how to open the door. We’d watch them rattle it every night just checking if an unwary guest left it unlatched. They knew where our pantry was located and would go straight for the cereals and peanut butter. Fearless gang punks of the forest, we called them.

  15. I had a Little Brown Bat in our house at 2:45 this morning. It is truly astounding how much altitude a year-old cat can achieve in the pursuit of a flying rodent. Ultimately, the cat was really helpful, knocking the bat down and stunning it enough that I could scoop it up and release it outside. Good thing the cat didn’t seem to know what to do with the bat once it was down.


  16. You’ll be very lucky if a new container will keep the raccoons out.

    My parents had raccoons tear a hole the in garage door to get at the cat food.

    Not just hands, hands with really sharp claws.

  17. Plastic won’t keep out the mice, but I suppose Lopsided Cat takes care of them.

    My current battle with ‘coons is an attempt to keep them out of the bluebird boxes. They climb up and pull the babies out through the hole, smearing blood and gobbets of baby bluebird everywhere. So far, overpriced metal baffles seem to be working, but I suspect it is only a matter of time.

  18. Echo on the scoffing that a sealed plastic container will foil raccoons once they have found food in that location.

    You’re gonna have to get more drastic than that.

  19. Perhaps the seeds were just a diversion for the real crime. Did you notice if your car keys were in the same place you left them? Was your odometer slightly higher, say enough to get to Costco and back for bags and bags of delicious human food? Just don’t be surprised if in 4-6 weeks a photo of your car running a red light with a pair of masked bandits behind the wheel doesn’t show up in your mailbox.

  20. At the cottage, we used to leave the garbage locked in the trunk of the car and take it back to the city the next day. The aroma rang the dinner bell for the local raccoons. The next morning, we found the rusty edges of the rear fenders all bent back and twisted. The critters never got to the tasty garbage locked inside but must have spent all night trying to reach it and the old Duster was just covered in raccoon paw prints and a little worse for wear.

    Our city raccoons are currently destroying my garden. They scrape the bark off my sugar maple to get at the sap. They roll around and flatten my hostas and daylilies. They have broken several of my serviceberry trees by climbing the delicate branches to get at the berries. I could give up the trees but that would also eliminate the myriad of birds that come in to feast on the berries. Help!

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