- Raccoons prefer woody, natural habitats. They often live in hollow trees, ground burrows and rock crevices. Although they hail from natural habitats, raccoons adapt well to suburban and urban environments and have been known to build dens in backyards and underneath decks. Attentive homeowners may hear raccoons as they explore attics and chimneys and enter homes through windows.
- Raccoons are omnivorous, which means they eat both plants and animals. Plants that raccoons eat include fruits, berries, nuts, acorns and corn. Consequently, it is not uncommon to find raccoons scavenging in a garden. Moreover, raccoons dig holes in vegetables beds and break into bird feeders to find food. Damage generally occurs at night when the raccoons are most active. Once inside your home, raccoons may tear through roofing materials, screens and vents with their teeth, leave muddy footprints and scratch marks on floors, and keep you up at night by running around the attic.
- Gardeners can consider several solutions to prevent raccoons from damaging their crops. Fencing is one effective method, though the fence must be electric because raccoons have the ability to climb over them or burrow under them. If you don't want to construct a fence around your garden, install a flashing motion detector light, remove woodpiles and other potential dens from the area, or trap the raccoons and take them far away. Other solutions include harvesting garden produce as quickly as possible, securing trash cans with a bungee cord or wire, and bringing in pet food bowls at night.
- Raccoons carry diseases, including rabies and roundworm, which can spread to humans and cause serious disabilities. Consequently, gardeners should exercise caution when attempting to control raccoons. In addition, trapping raccoons is illegal in some states, so contact an animal control organization before attempting to trap raccoons on your own.