Peppering Raccoons With Mothballs

When I confessed a few weeks ago that I had a bit of a raccoon problem in my garden and was buying coyote urine to repel them, I had no idea I had joined the ranks of some of the most exasperated and unstable people in all of Southern California.

It turns out that from Santa Barbara to San Diego, homeowners are at war with raccoons living in their attics, under their houses and in their yards.

My readers inform me that raccoons are stealing fish from their koi ponds, trying to drown their dogs and breaking into their houses in search of food. To read my mail, you'd think this was one of the great untold stories of California. People seem to be outnumbered and outwitted, trying to scare the varmints off with Christmas lights, smoke bombs, electrified fences and rubber reptiles.

"I have tried everything," said a desperate reader named Sherwood. "Loud, terribly annoying electronic buzzer [that the neighbors absolutely hated], coyote urine, humane trap and tuna fish mixed with antifreeze -- nothing, nothing has worked." Remind me never to have a sandwich with this guy. Tuna fish and antifreeze?

He wasn't the only one who'd gone around the bend.

David Browne suggested spiking Coke or Pepsi with Blue Streak fly poison.

"Give up on coyote urine," said David H. Goodwin, who moved on to cheese soaked in antifreeze and mixed with rat poison. When that didn't work, he said, "I was finally able to ... smoke them out with a smoke bomb made for gophers [Home Depot]. My only other advice is to give up and move."

Larry Maxcy of Yucca Valley was one of several people who suggested trapping raccoons with peanut butter, but his recipe was different from most.

"Mix four parts of peanut butter and one part of Portland cement, and roll into bonbons," he said.

Thanks, but I wanted to be able to say no animals were harmed in the writing of these columns.

Maxcy also suggested what he called a more SPCA-friendly offering.

"Roll up some peanut butter bonbons and insert small pieces of frozen jalapeno peppers into them." Sounded to me like Maxcy had hosted one too many Super Bowl parties.

Other readers recommended a less militant strategy, if not outright surrender.

"You really have the wrong approach to the raccoon issue," wrote Bob Schauer of Long Beach. "We've had raccoons for years [they were here first, actually], and we have come up with a simple solution. We FEED them!"

"They are partial to cat kibble," Schauer said. "And we leave out a big bowl of water [raccoons are fastidious creatures and like to wash up after meals]."

Just what I always wanted. Pet raccoons.

"We live in Ojai," said Chris Shepherd. "If you find a reasonable solution, short of coyote urine or a 12-gauge, please let me know or publish in your column. They are driving us crazy."

Mary Baruch has given up. "I have a smart raccoon," she said. "When I set a trap in the backyard, he digs up the front. I read an article in the Bakersfield paper, and it said they are smarter than you are and we will have to learn to live with them. Good luck."

Thanks a lot, Mary.

 

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