The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Hi boys and girls it's the Children's Hour with your favorite hack, Leatherface! Brunch? Did someone say brunch? Well yes there is a brunch today in fact, we'll be serving eggs Benedict. Should cause quite a ruckus at the Vatican but you can't make an omelet without...well never mind.

Today we will be discussing the raccoon - procyon lotor to science and those who like to show off - one of the tougher adversaries to deal with when trying to grow vegetables in the home garden, at least when that vegetable is sweet corn.

Raccoon depredations can be completely avoided simply by not growing corn, or fruit such as strawberries inside the garden enclosure. While raccoons are the consummate omnivore they are not terribly interested in our tomatoes, onions and broccoli in the raw state. Just cook them up and toss the leftovers in the garbage tho, and magically they become fascinating to the little beady eyed burglars. They will happily redecorate your lawn with the contents of the garbage can.

The fence, of course, is totally useless if there is something the raccoon is interested in, ie. sweet corn or fruit, inside. He, she or most probably, they, can climb anything you can build. An electrified fence is really your only option if you wish to grow corn or berries and raccoons are established in the area. These work very well indeed, raccoons have extremely sensitive paws and hate to be shocked.

Live trapping can work very well if you are facing a single male raccoon or a female who you are certain is not nursing cubs. Re-locate the captured varmint a looong ways off, or like Arnold, they'll be back. Be careful when you do so, you are probably breaking any number of laws.

There is no animal we know of that cares less about commercially prepared deterrent or repellent scents, or for pepper concoctions mixed in the home. You are wasting time and money.    

Except for the occasional lone male, or female between litters raccoons generally come in bunches, called "nurseries". This may consist of as many as eight raccoons as a healthy, well fed female can produce as many as seven viable offspring.

The raccoon method of corn chompery is of the type to guarantee maximum damage. Raccoons like to climb the stalk, sway it to and fro until it cracks under the weight of their fat little bellies and then eat a little bit of each ear before pulling down the next stalk and sampling that one as well. A half dozen raccoons can easily demolish 40, even 50 stalks in one corn fest and even if a little is left over they will be back the following night and so on, until they can scarcely waddle away, they are so full of your tender Silver Queen.

Don't feed them they will NEVER leave if you do!
 Those are your somewhat limited options, remove the raccoon(s) electrify your fencing or don't grow sweet corn or fruit and your other vegetables will be fine.


That about wraps up this episode of the Children's Hour. As always, thanks for stopping by!


Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

We're lucky here, Mac, we have only seen a couple of racoons over the last 20 years. You're right, they're tough to get rid of once they start on the corn patch!

Dan Shaw said...

In NC it is against the law to relocate Racoons. They must be exterminated due to our problem with Rabbies. The same holds true for just about any critter you capture outside. You must not relocate them. We have a dog that kills anything that doesn't belong in the yard to protect the Chickens. Well except for the squirrels. They just jump up a tree and laugh at her so she has learned to leave them alone.

Mac Pike said...

Hmm, Raymond what did you do to deserve a raccoon reprieve? Too far north for the wee buggers?

Dan if the rabies problem is as extensive as you say, are you not worried about the dog getting dinged in the process? I know he/she is likely vacinated against it but it would worry me a bit.

Dan Shaw said...

She does have her shots up to date. I have never seen her dinged in anyway, not even by the fox she got into it with. She is a mixed breed and she is a broad as she is high. I've seen her put her head down and flip a racoon and then pounce on it. She doesn't back down to anything except our house cat. She is afraid of the thing and it doesn't even have claws. Go figure...