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Pacific Northwest Gardening: Critter warfare

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Forum: Pacific Northwest GardeningReplies: 12, Views: 101
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bonehead
Cedarhome, WA
(Zone 8b)

June 22, 2012
8:19 AM

Post #9175730

I am guessing I have a resident raccoon, although I have not yet seen one. I feed two cats in our open barn on a window sill over my work bench. Their food is kept in a plastic container in a drawer of the work bench. Something has been regularly raiding the cat food. It is able to open the rather heavy wood handleless drawer and push the lid of the container open. I put a garden latch on the drawer. It is still able to open the drawer about an inch or so and snake its little hands in to push off the lid and feast. I bungied the lid of the container. It tore a hole in the plastic lid and was still able to snatch some food. I bought a heavier duty plastic bin with more secure closures. It appears that the critter was not able to pop the closures, but was able to somehow pry the lid up from the side far enough to get to the food (there were little muddy scratch prints on the inside of the lid this morning). This is all done in an inch or so of free space. My husband wants to set up a trap of some sort - but I am afraid my cats will get caught instead. My dog typically sleeps inside, and I'm thinking of putting her outside to see if she might discourage whatever it is that is raiding the food. Or I continue armoring the drawer. I could put a second gate latch on or some other device to keep the drawer secure. It's just such a pain to go through all the dismantling to feed the cats twice a day. Any luck with raccoons -- or whatever else this might be?

My other option is to try to relocate the cats' feeding area to inside my covered side porch where I feed the dog. My own cat is old (13) and smallish, and is an indoor/outdoor cat. The other cat I feed is a much larger 'walk-on' who I don't encourage anywhere near the house, but do feed because otherwise it bullies my cat out of her food. At one point I tried to feed my cat on the porch with better quality food, but she didn't catch on and kept making a racket at her old feeding station.

Thanks for any ideas or sympathy...
DougBert
Spokane, WA
(Zone 5a)

June 22, 2012
2:20 PM

Post #9176212

Two things to try:
Spread out some mothballs in the area.
or
Dust the area with cayenne pepper, however, that also deters humans and cats.
Try the mothballs.
bonehead
Cedarhome, WA
(Zone 8b)

June 22, 2012
2:46 PM

Post #9176249

Mothballs sound easy enough, I'll give that a whirl. Will report back.
Willowwind2
Union, WA
(Zone 8b)

June 22, 2012
2:50 PM

Post #9176259

Get a metal can or box and sit a cement block on top of it?

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 22, 2012
4:39 PM

Post #9176379

Sympathy!

In a wooded part of New Jersey, I had a cat door that some critter learned to use.
I thoguht raccoon, but someone cliamed that possums could be mean. (???)
It messed up the kitchen something fierce.

We also tried tieing cupboards closed and a trap. It laughed at the trap, ate the bait out of it, then slapped it around.

when we finally got the cupboards so locked up that it couldn't get in, it started rampaging and squalling and doing more damage.

Frankly, i was afraid of that beast! I got a bayonet in one hand and a longer pole in the other, but to go from my bedroom in the basement to the kitchen, I would have had to climb the stairs where it would gotten first swipe at my face. So maybe I stomped pretty hard on my way up the steps: anyway, it would leave before got up to that floor, rather nervously. By the sounds, I would have been afraid it would rip most dogs to shreds.

We couldn't think of anything other than locking the door at night.

And wse werte pretty annoyed that it felt Ok to invade OUR turf and do damage ikf we tried to keep it and its fleas out of OUR food.
And it might have been rabid for all I know.

Long story short, I bought a little rat poison and put THAT inside the trap.
It didn't seem to eat enough to be a lethal dose, but riught away it DID stop terrorizing us and never came back.

I felt bad, but it had a BIG outdoors all to itself, was becoming feral, and was scratching and damaging MY home. It wasn't even winter when food might be short.

Decades ago in a Boy Scout camp, a raccoon would come into tnets at night and eat whatedver it pleased, opening metal tins and whatever. (We slept like logs, I guess.) No one stayed awake long enough to see it.

Many Rube Goldberg traps were invented by dozens of boys.

Nothing worked until some genious figured out something triggered manually with a long line, and a galvanized steel garbage can.

You could hear it squall and knock holy heck out of the inside of that can from miles around!
The geniuses who set it up fled in panic.
It either flipped the can over or (for all I know) clawed its way right through the steel.

After that, we just ate any cookies from home as soon as they arrived and followed the wise rule of NOT leaving food around where it can attract animals tougher and smarter than we were.

summerkid
Rose Lodge, OR
(Zone 8b)

June 23, 2012
5:36 PM

Post #9177687

I think raccoons get a kick out of the challenges we offer them.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

June 24, 2012
9:33 PM

Post #9179368

That one sure kicked heck out of that trash can!
mauryhillfarm
Vashon, WA
(Zone 8b)

June 25, 2012
11:09 PM

Post #9181308

We have a raccoon raiding our chicken coop in the early evening and getting really bold. My DH ran it off the other night stalking the chickens and even eating out of their feeder. It ran hurriedly off and bumped into the lawnmower. I don't usually wish any living thing ill, but this guy is a killer, and I hope he hurt his head badly enough he will think we are a bad place to frequent.
bonehead
Cedarhome, WA
(Zone 8b)

June 26, 2012
7:07 AM

Post #9181637

My more sturdy container has the creature foiled for the time being, although it is now systematically ripping out the wood of the drawer, I assume trying to make a hole big enough to get into the drawer itself. I haven't tried the mothballs yet, I keep forgetting to buy them.
velveteena
Seattle, WA

July 13, 2012
9:36 AM

Post #9203850

Bonehead, put a post-it note on your front door (on the inside), and another one on the steering wheel: Buy moth balls!!!! This sounds like a desperate situation, 'cause it knows the food source is always going to be there. They are persistent and STRONG. They get into my garbage (but thankfully not the big yard waste bin)----poor design, I guess, but I do put a brick on top. There is nothing in there but used kitty litter and old plastic bags from mulch, etc. They are curious, smart, and strong, which would be great if they were kids! I'm only glad we don't have bears here in West Seattle, or deer, even though they're cute. Happy Friday the 13th, all!
Willowwind2
Union, WA
(Zone 8b)

July 13, 2012
2:11 PM

Post #9204118

We had an all day thunder storm this morn and afternoon. Weird.
bonehead
Cedarhome, WA
(Zone 8b)

July 24, 2012
6:53 AM

Post #9216738

I did get the mothballs and now have the latched drawer, heavy-duty plastic container shoved deep to the back of the drawer, with mothballs wafting their sharp smell up. That combo appears to be working, although out of spite, the critters are now systematically eating all my fish out of a small pond in the front yard. These are just feeder goldfish and easily replaced, and can't be much more than a 1-bite snack to whatever is out there. Maybe when the fish are gone, the critters will move on...

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

July 24, 2012
6:27 PM

Post #9217434

Once all the goldfish are gone, can you rent one pirhana for a few days?

Is there an y such thimng as a fresh-water octopus?

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