Raccoons are cute fellows who can cause a lot of chaos in the garden. To get rid of them, gardeners have to make it as uncomfortable as possible for the animals.
He does not stop at birds and not at reptiles. He steals eggs from nests and young birds from bird boxes. In addition, he likes to eat apples and sweet cherries that have fallen from the tree. The raccoon is a predator. Actually he belongs to America. But after it was introduced into Europe about 80 years ago, it no longer lives only in the forest. Instead, he conquers the most diverse areas, feels comfortable in the city and near people. Gardens are also very popular with the animals.
Do I have a raccoon in my garden?
“You rarely get to see a raccoon. The animals are nocturnal and like to stay out of sight,” says garden consultant Erik Behrens. But anyone who has a raccoon as a guest quickly notices. Overturned trash cans, torn-up lawns, holes in the roof – a raccoon can cause quite a mess when it has moved into a garden. The clearest clue, however, is its droppings: large, solid piles, usually larger than a dog’s, are then lying around the garden. Fruit pits are often seen. Raccoons are particularly keen on apples and cherries. But they also polish off peaches, pears and other fruit without hesitation. “Fruit-soaked poop is the surest sign of a raccoon,” Behrens says.
Here’s how to get rid of a raccoon
It’s best not to attract raccoons in the first place. But if you do have one in your yard, “make it as uncomfortable as possible for it,” advises gardening consultant Behrens.
- Close all loopholes on garden sheds and sheds. Raccoons find small niches cozy. For example, if there is an open space under the shed, it makes a super hiding place.
- Lock the cat flap or use one that works with a chip. Raccoons are curious and also go into houses. Once they are inside, they can wreak havoc on a home.
- Pick up fallen fruit. Of course, raccoons also like to pick fruit from the tree. But if it’s all down there ready to hand, it’s like paradise.
- Don’t throw bones or other animal foods in the compost. Fallen fruit is also rather critical. Compost bins that can be closed are best. A lid placed on top is not enough for this. Raccoons can open it. The lid must either be very tight or perhaps even locked with a lock.
- Do not feed! Otherwise you will not get rid of the raccoon.
- Hang birdhouses at least 10 feet high and place metal collars underneath for the raccoon to slide off.
- Do not leave dog and cat food outside!
Make it as uncomfortable as possible for him!
And if the raccoon still does not disappear?
Then there is still the possibility to catch the raccoon with a live trap. However, should he fall into the trap, his death sentence is sealed.
On your own property it is theoretically allowed to set up a live trap for raccoons. However, since the raccoon is an invasive species, once it is caught, it cannot be released. It must be killed by a hunter.
But this should really only be a last resort. Garden consultant Behrens also does not think much of killing the animals. “The raccoon is a wild animal and should also remain a wild animal. All we can do is dispute its territory, let it go back to its ancestral territory.” If you have problems with the raccoon, you can get advice from the relevant nature conservation authority.
Do raccoons carry diseases?
Raccoons bring ticks, lice and fleas that can carry distemper, rabbit plague and other diseases. Do not touch droppings lying in your yard under any circumstances. They may contain eggs of the raccoon roundworm, which is dangerous to humans. Therefore, it is best to handle feces piles with gloves and burn them!
Raccoons belong to the small bear family and are predators. They grow up to 70 centimeters and weigh up to ten kilograms.
The animals live in small groups. Related females share the habitat, but males also seek (non-related) company. Females have up to five cubs in the spring.
Raccoons are very intelligent, have an excellent memory and a keen sense of touch. They can climb very well.