How do I keep raccoons out of my garden? To keep raccoons at a distance, try scattering blood meal around corn plants. Also try sprinkling wood ashes around your plants. Grind up garlic, mix it with an equal portion of chili powder, and spread it around the garden.
Anyone who has had a garden, cooler, or garbage can broken into by one of these animals knows that they have some of the most dexterous hands in all of nature. The first people to notice their unusual paws were Native Americans. The Powhatan phrase aroughcun, which means "animal that washes with its hands," is where the English word "raccoon" originates. Similar thinking went into the naming of the raccoon by the Aztecs. Mapachitli, which means "one who takes everything in its hands," was its given name. Mapache is now a Spanish word that means "raccoon."
If you give raccoons a problem, they'll typically figure out how to solve it as long as there's food involved. They have repeatedly demonstrated this in labs in addition to yards and campsites. Early in the 20th century, ethologist H.B. Davis presented 12 raccoons with a set of locks to pick. They had to negotiate hooks, bolts, buttons, latches, and levers to get to the rewards inside the boxes; some of the boxes had multiple locks. The raccoons eventually managed to bypass 11 of the 13 defenses.
In order to stock fur farms, the first raccoons were sent to Europe in the 1920s. Many raccoons escaped and started a new population in the wild thanks to an unintentional bombing and some bored farmers looking to spice up the local wildlife. Raccoons are now regarded as an invasive species in Europe.
The animals were even sent to Japan. Their journey there began more virtuously: Rascal the Raccoon, the wholesome star of the anime animation, was a childhood idol among Japanese kids in the 1970s. Children clamored for their own pet raccoons, and at one time Japan was importing almost 1500 of them each month. When these pets became too large for families to properly care for them, many of them naturally ended up back in the wild.
For generations, raccoons have been stereotyped as the cunning thief or trickster character in literature because of the black marks that fall across their eyes. But in addition to giving them the appearance of cute outlaws, their well-known black masks also provide them the ability to see perfectly. Dark to the black stickers that athletes wear beneath their eyes, the black fur works by absorbing light that would otherwise bounce into the athlete's eyes and impair vision. Less peripheral light during the night, when raccoons are most active, makes it simpler for them to detect contrast in the objects of their focus, which is crucial for seeing in the dark.
How smart is a raccoon? While raccoons are intelligent animals, Melanie is particularly gifted for her species. “All raccoons are pretty smart,” said Suzanne MacDonald, a professor of animal behavior at York University in Toronto. “Back in 1913, this guy named Walter Hunter wanted to see if raccoons are smarter than dogs.
What can you do to keep raccoons away? Leaving pet food outdoors is a sure way to attract a local raccoon. Trash cans are another lure for these masked bandits. Use locking lids, or keep your garbage secured in the garage. Bird feeders are easy pickings for raccoons, so clean underneath the feeders daily, or consider taking them down at night.