September 4, 2012

Raccoons: How I Got Them To Go Away and Leave Me Alone


I'm just so darn pleased with myself it's ridiculous and no doubt sinful.  So of course I'm going to write this post to share with you, Dear Reader, about my latest accomplishment.  So you can be darn pleased with me too, LOL ....

Here's the thing.  (Drumroll.)

Bah-Bye.
I got the raccoons to go away.  Exit the building, as it were.  Leave the trash alone.  Stay out of the garage.  Forget the trees and the roof and hanging out on the back patio basking in the moonlight.  (Apparently, my back porch was quite the hot spot at one time this summer.)

And, nope, no animal was hurt or killed in the process.  Which I'm sure you already took for granted if you've read this blog at all....

If you or someone you know has a problem with raccoons, then this is big news.  BIG.  If not, well then maybe you should just venture on over right now to I Waste So Much Time (a truly fun blog BTW).

Here's the story.

Back in July 2009, they first appeared.  I wrote about the "Mysterious Guest" that had taken up residence in my garage - bigger and more powerful than a rat, smaller and less noisy than a bobcat.


Fine.  You're right.  I never really thought there was a bobcat vacationing in the garage but it's easy to imagine as a possibility if you do have to have an unknown animal living in your garage behind the cardboard boxes, strong enough to manuever the rolled up tapesty rug, and it's 3 in the morning.  They're so pretty and they do live around here (the pups and I nearly collided with one over on a Brackenridge Park trail, but that's another  story for another day).

My solution for the garage guest, which I never saw during its time under my roof, was to toss a heck of a lot of mothballs all around the place under the theory that the stink would drive the Mysterious Guest to sneak new lodgings.

I later learned this worked very well.  He moved next door, under Thomas Pynchon's house (with its pier and beam foundation).  This served Mr. Raccoon well, as he quickly got married and had by the Fall of 2011 a family of five kids along with his wife and himself living under the next door neighbor's back bedroom.   I knew this because the dogs would go nutzo at dusk, barking out the front windows -- and if I hurried, I could see the Raccoon family, Rocky and Nancy (who called herself Lil) and the kids go proudly down the street toward the golf course for another night of fine dining.

Then, Mr. Pynchon stopped feeding the birds and putting out cat food for the feral cats.  This irritated Rocky and Nancy no end, and soon they were scouting new hangouts.  Like my house.  My roof.  My trees (and bird nests).  My porch.  My trash cans.

Things were bad this spring, and they got worse as summer hit.  Raccoon parties.  So, as any self-respecting blogger would do: I went to the web.

Here's the solution.

I got the raccoons to leave and not come back (this is the real trick) by:

  1. getting the trash can off the ground - it hangs from a hook on the back gate now.  
  2. sprinkling cayenne pepper (buy it cheap in big bottles at Sam's) around all the tree trunks and crossing obvious raccoon paths - one good thing about our drought, this stuff sat there and didn't wash away.
  3. buying a cheap bottle of ant and roach spray (the stuff that doesn't kill the ants and roaches) and spraying it inside my trash bags, every single time.  Tie the yellow tie, then point the nozzle in there for a strong zap.


That's it.  It's essentially a revised version of the Mothball Solution of 2009: stink works.

Test to make sure they are really gone?  Besides the birds being back and nesting in the trees, the lack of raccoon prints in the dirt or on the deck, no raccoon chatter out in the bushes at night (you know that sound), I left a device on the back table:  a plastic bottle filled with the large size Marrobones.  (I tried jumbo marshmallows but they don't work in this heat.)

This came from a chat with a wildlife rescue guy long ago, who had cages to trap raccoons in the back of his truck - they were ready to go and inside as bait, he had put big, puffy white marshmallows.  He explained that the raccoons adore eggs, and since the marshmallows look like eggs and taste good, the raccoons will dive into the cages to scarf them up.

Remembering this convo, I put some tasty white orbs out at the raccoon fiesta site and figured if they were around, silent and stealthy, then this would be a giveaway.  And guess what?

As of today, for three weeks there has been a nice plastic jar out on the back table filled first with fluffy white marshmallows and now with beige-y white Marrobones and no takers.

Maybe we'll have our own little Raccoon party this weekend to celebrate ... with marshmellow treats for dessert and the White Album in rotation.... I'm just stupid happy here.  They could have hurt my dogs!!!

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