Racoons are cute little critters, with delicate hands to pick and wash their food, but they can also be quite destructive in getting that food.
No one wants to hurt them, but nobody likes the cleanup the next morning after one of their all night parties at your garbage cans!
Many townships are now offering composting of kitchen waste, and they provide these smaller green containers with a "fool proof" latch for night time critters, but stopping racoons takes more than a latch.
This obviously becomes a project for them, as they know what is inside will provide the entertainment for their all night buffet. So, they get creative and join forces.
We had one of these latched green bins, and it was only this year, when we started getting night critters venturing to the bins. Stopping racoons became a project for my husband when he walked to the garage the next day with a coffee in one hand and the Sunday newspaper in the other and almost slipped in the mess the raccoons left behind. It was a hot morning, and he was instantly grossed out, which set his mood for the day!
We are allowed meat bones in the township bins, and they had found the remains of last nights dinner and not only picked it out but took it up the stairs for their dinner and left a huge greasy mess right in front of the door.
He then started research on stopping raccoons. He didn't want to hurt them, but they were causing a huge mess. He started by tightening the latch, but the next night they discovered that if they dragged it away from the wall and sent it flying sideways, the lid would hit a rock in the garden and pop open the latch.. Smart littler critters they are!
Next he tied it to a post with a bungee cord, and at that next night they managed to twist it on an angle then chew through the bungee cord, then dragged it away and threw it on the rock again. We were visioning a force of racoons for this job!
So stopping raccoons was not going to be a one shot deal, this was a war between us and them!. We live in a rural area and I envisioned them watching us with interest as we came up with ways to stop them from attacking our bins. I am sure they must have thought we were funny. We were probably their entertainment for the evening. Just waiting patiently for us to go to bed and then they could undo whatever deterrent we had come up with.
We asked amongst our friends for advice on stopping raccoons, and there were different answers. We figured with had the elite stealth team of raccoons coming after our bins, because our friends were able to put them off by simply adjusting the latch. They said there had been a few half hearted tries to open it, but they gave up. Well not our bunch of night critters!
Human hair was one example, so we emptied our brushes and plopped it in on top of the kitchen waste in the bin, we felt we had dealt with the problem, and hoped they would go and find their buffet somewhere else. But all that happened, was the bin was dumped on the rock again, the latch flew open the numerous bungee cords were everywhere and the human hair was thrown across the yard. (I wonder which raccoon got that job!)
The township had a list of "ways of stopping raccoons" we checked out this list carefully, and checked off all the ones we had already tried. But there was one that seemed possible. You were to put a heavy duty hook somewhere outside, such as a deck or fence and hang the bin from there at least a couple of feet off the ground. The idea behind this was that they could not get the bin off the fence, and even if they climbed onto it, they would not be able to open the lid because they would be sitting on it, and this would be stopping raccoons from getting their midnight buffet and soon get bored with this exercise.
We were considering trying this, when we happened to talk to a farmer up the road who had tried this, and said that it worked for about a week. He thought he had it figured, but one night he heard this huge racket, and he didn't want to go outside. But he turned on the lights quickly to find raccoons climbing the trees and jumping onto the bin, to yank it off the fence, which after a few jumps was successful, especially since some of these raccoons can get over twenty pounds! You get enough of them jumping on it, and something will give. Now that is teamwork!
It looked like stopping raccoons was going to be a losing battle, and I told hubby the bin is going to have to stay in his garage, and he would have to get up really early on collection morning and meet the truck!
Finally we stumbled upon the answer, and it has been working for a good long time now. It just so happened that we own two cats. We don't have much garbage with all the recycling that goes on now, but we do have to put kitty litter in the garbage.
One night while cleaning the garbage area, we moved the small bin we used for bags of used clumping kitty litter, to where the green bin was, and we didn't get the same attack of the raccoons that night. So, we came up with the idea, of putting a small baggy of used kitty litter just under the lid of the green bin.
You can hear the crickets all night now at our place as we won the war of stopping raccoons. Their midnight buffet was abruptly stopped, and they have moved onto other areas. I am sure the farmer next door, may have just got the troops at his place.
So, we have to change out this little bag of kitty litter taped to the lid, and I know it sounds gross, but so is picking up decomposing food waste. So, as hubby said, the cats are finally paying their way by stopping raccoons.