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Racoon(s) Getting A Little Too Friendly For Comfort

Valencia, PA(Zone 5b)

Yep, we will stay tuned. Although now I am a little afraid of what is going to happen when she cuts the kids footloose. Will you still have to feed all 5? Will there be a real fight for control?? Will they start on your house after they destroy the birdfeeders? Or will the go away on their own--probably not as someone says. So you choices are to keep feeding or ??? Possibly having them removed to somewhere else?? Karen (pending grandma...November, can't wait)

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I've given this a lot of thought. I'm going to do my very best to do what is in the best interest of all. I have some ideas on this and look forward to sharing them with all of you - AND to hearing your opinions. Together, I hope that we can resolve this issue. Sorry that things have been so chaotic this week. Unfortunately, as I have to get some work done around the house before I get a beating from the HOA, I may not be able to discuss these matters before the weekend. I don't want to delve into it until I have the time to give it the attention it deserves.

Karen, happy to hear about your pending blessed event. ; )

Beachwood, OH

Scutler - I hope you will wish Heidi well and be glad for the fun you've had with her. She will find her way and so will all the others.

This message was edited Aug 16, 2006 8:31 PM

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Thank you, A

I have decided to go back to tossing "baggies" of dog food over the fence - temporarily. I thought about this a lot. Since I've fed them for so long, I think instead of just dropping them "cold turkey", I will wean them by decreasing the amount of food over a period of time so that they will get some food but will also be increasingly pressed to go out in search of additional food. By switching back to baggies over the fence, the interim feedings will be less personal and less likely to encourage them to approach people.

I am, however, eager to hear what ALL of you think about this idea. ALL opinions, thoughts, protests, and ideas welcome. Together, I am hopeful that we can find the best solution.

Below is one of the many photos I took a few nights ago.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I have decided to continue the saga of my experiences with Heidi and crew in a new thread which I have started here:

I still have much to share with you about the events of the last few evenings along with the many conflicting thoughts I've had about these matters. As well, I have dozens of photos to share, including some family shots and, as previously stated, a brief "video" which I will post elsewhere and include a link so that you can view it. And, we have a lot to discuss, I think, as a group, regarding these matters. And I do plan to respond to your recent comments. We won't be able to cover all of this in one sitting (especially since my AC adapter has now all but died and my laptop battery has less than an hour remaining).

I hope that you will all stay with us, and I hope that you will feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings in this matter. As I have said before, as long as we treat each other with respect, we can disagree, and that's ok. Together, by sharing our diverse opinions and perspectives I believe that we can find the best "solution".

Oops battery is going FAST!

Mannford, OK

I'm sure they mean you no harm. Raccoons are quite sweet animal.

Thumbnail by sheeba
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Oh my, sheeba, what a great photo and such an adorable little fella! As this was only the 1st of what became 3 (i think) parts to the thread, I hope that you have read or will read more of the story. It changes dramatically...but I don't want to give away the plot ...

(Audrey) Dyersburg, TN(Zone 7a)

Think about what it was like for the first humans who took in a dog, wild, or a cat! If they had known about rabies and worms, would they still have done it? And where would we get our precious pets now, if they had hesitated? Also, think about Jane Goodall, and the other one whose name I can't remember right now! Think about how much we've learned from these brave people who were not detered by alarm bells!!

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Cheryl -- i just have to chuckle at how far you have some in the 2.5 yrs since your adventure began.

I was re-reading this thread the other night.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I have to laugh at myself when I recall those afternoons when I stood WAY across the yard throwing things "at" (or near) Heidi in an effort to chase her away. How silly I must have looked. How scared I was of this "fierce" animal back then. Yes, I really have come a long way in 2.5yrs or so.

When I suggest that new readers go back and read the story from the beginning, I'm always aware of this and thinking how shocked they will be to find that the story opens with me trying to chase the raccoon away and terrified that it will attack me if it gets too close.

Seale, AL(Zone 8b)

For real. This is the part I love the best, especially when I read about the pettign and cuddling now a days. : )

" I love animals, and he/she is very cute, but I'm AFRAID of him! "

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Just think how she woulda felt if it were HRH or even a current day Trouble ... the lil hunk/hulk.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

starlight -- LOL. that line really is funny when read in view of more recent thread(s). Thanks to you and Terese I went back and reread some of the stuff above. It was a very interesting walk down memory lane for me.

Terese -- I can still recall how afraid I was of 'the raccoon' (who later became Heidi) back then. I don't know if size would have mattered much. Back then I believed that raccoons were mean and vicious and possessed 'secret powers' that would allow them to shred a human in seconds - or something close to that. In retrospect it is humorous to realize how naive I was back then.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Saw that this thread had been "bumped," so of course had to reread it. It truly is hilarious to read it all now, in retrospect. As the old song goes, "what a long strange trip it's been"... not to mention more than a little miraculous.

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

I had to reread too...interesting how life takes turn we don't expect!

Salisbury, MD(Zone 7a)

I happened to stumble across your thread while looking for something esle( cant even remember what I was looking for but when I seen it had three parts I immediatly thought of a good book you just can start in the middle so I started at the begining...WOW what a great read ,,,,,cant wait to get to part to .....

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi, Jeanisodyssey!

It's so great to hear from you! I'm very happy that you found the Heidi threads. You are correct that this is the 1st one; however, it is now one of dozens - and still going! I sure hope you will take the time to read through summer of 2007 as that was one of my absolute favorite years, simply magical.

You may not have noticed the others because after the 1st few I changed the title. "Raccoon getting a little too..." and "Raccoon getting...2" was followed, I believe, by "They're Back". Somewhere after that I changed the name to "The Heidi Chronicles". Like I said, there are now dozens of "Heidi Chronicles" threads (all in Wildlife, of course).

Oh, and after having been repeatedly prompted by readers to do so, I am now working on writing a Heidi book.

Great to have you with us on the Heidi threads. Thanks for the compliments.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Welcome, Jeanisodyssey! I'm sure you'll enjoy these threads as much as all the "regulars" who check it first every day. I really recommend reading the threads in order: it's a fascinating and quite remarkable saga, and you don't want to miss any of the journey.

Salisbury, MD(Zone 7a)

thanks for the warm welcome..scutler and apartacusaby. I have been reading in order and I not at the end of Heidi awaiting delivery...the anticaption is killing feel like I already know all who follow the Ok, got to get back and see what happens next..see you all soon


Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Happy reading!

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

Since finding the current Heidi Chronicles I thought I'd start at the beginning. This is a very exciting and heartwarming tale and I am so glad to hear of a Heidi book in the works. Got to get back to reading! ( 3 years to go!)
Thank you so much Cheryl for sharing your world with us!!

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Welcome, BirdieBlue; you're in for a magical journey! Enjoy-

Salisbury, MD(Zone 7a)

welcome BirdieBlue, I come across this thread a couple months ago and after I started reading it I also decided to go back to the
beginning and I am so glad that I did...enjoy reading...your definitly not going to regret starting from the beginning


Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I love seeing this thread pop up again!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)


I'm glad you said that because I feel exactly the same way. With truly heartfelt apologies for the inconvenience suffered by those on dial up who may have difficulty loading some of these older threads (because of the very large photos I was using back then), I truly enjoy hearing from new readers who are just starting on this journey that many of us have been on for some time now. It is fun to relive some of the older days through their eyes and nice to know we have new friends on the way as they catch up with us.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

I agree, Marylyn and Cheryl; it's great fun to see someone new discover this incredible story. And it's also fun to reread this thread, and remember what a long strange trip it's been.

Seattle, WA

This is a truly ancient thread, so I kind of hate to horn in, our neck of the woods (and we ARE on a green belt and near a huge forested park), we are told never to feed the wildlife. (Hmmmm...would that keep the coyotes from eating our cats?).Raccoons are on the wildlife menu, to be sure. They are adorable, and I have certainly "shot" the babies high up in my pine trees. However, we are all so sick of their destruction in the garden, and in my case the use of my back yard as their "latrine" (the technical term). For those not in the know, 'coon poop is extremely toxic. Look it up online. The County recommends you actually hire someone to come in and remediate the soil. Well, we do it yourselfers hate that idea, and THEN what, anyway. How do I keep them from poopin' and peein' in my yard?

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)


'truly ancient', hmm, well, the thread is a few years old. I don't know if that quite qualifies as 'ancient', but whatever.

Bottom line, if I understand your concerns and questions correctly, I think this may not be the forum where you will find the answers you seek. Although as the title suggests, this thread began as my quest to get rid of the raccoons, it has grown to be about my acceptance of them. I fought with the raccoons in my yard for years to no avail. This thread has become about my decision to accept and embrace their existence. This thread is now about my journey of exploration into the lives of these rather magnificent creatures. It is about my attempts to make friends with them and to document my observations of their behavior.

Make no mistake, in order to accept the presence of the raccoons in my yard, I have had to make sacrifices, but for me it has been worth it. They eat my grapes and other garden fruits and make it difficult to feed the birds without feeding them, but overall I feel that in accepting them into my world I have gained far more than I have lost.

If you were to read on you would find that we are acutely aware of the pros and cons of interacting with wildlife in general and raccoons in particular. We have discussed raccoon roundworm (the thing that makes the poop 'toxic' as you say) as well as rabies. I have made an informed decision to do what I do understanding that it is not without dangers but realizing that life itself is not without danger either. I take precautions. I wash my hands thoroughly when I return from feeding them. I have been inoculated against rabies.

I understand that experts advise against contact with wildlife, and in general that is sound advise. But understand that it has now been 4 years since I began this ongoing adventure, and no harm has come to anyone, neither me nor the animals.

I can't tell you how to keep raccoon out of your yard since I failed in my attempts to keep them out of my own, nor can I tell you how to keep them from using it for their latrine. I've not had the latter problem myself. Despite the time the raccoons spend in my yard, thankfully, they do not use it as a latrine. Now that I have spent 4 years observing raccoons and learning about them, I doubt that anyone can tell you how to get raccoons do do much of anything they don't want to do or how to stop them from doing anything they are determined to do.

One of the participants on this thread recommends a product called Ropel for keeping raccoons and other wildlife away from things. You might give that a try. You might also consider starting your own thread to ask for help with these problems. I wish you and the raccoons in your area the very best in this endeavor.

Hendersonville, NC(Zone 7a)

Velveteena, scutler is absolutely right in saying that raccoons are very difficult to discourage or deter. They are extremely curious, very intelligent, and though they don't have opposable thumbs, they use their front paws just like hands. They can open curbside dumpsters, tightly-lidded garbage cans, bird and suet feeders of all descriptions, rat and mice traps, etc., etc.

The Ropel that scutler mentions is a highly effective taste repellent; it tastes incredibly bitter, and one application endures through rains for several months. It can be effective at deterring critters from eating your ornamental plants, and is great for dipping bulbs prior to planting, to deter squirrels, voles, etc. Just don't use it on fruit or vegetable plantings; it will taste just as horrible to you as it does to the wildlife.

I have seen squares equipped with plastic spikes that you can place under mulch around your plants to discourage use of the area for latrine purposes. These reportedly work very well to deter cats; but raccoons can use those dextrous front paws to remove them and use them for a toy.

There is a hose-end gadget called the Scarecrow that is a motion-activated deterrent; when an animal walks into its range, the animal is hit with a sudden blast of water. This might help chase the raccoons, though I suspect they could become accustomed to it and ignore it over time. If you try this, remember to turn it off when you're going to be outside if you want to avoid a sudden shower.

The roundworm issue is a legitimate concern for human health, but wearing gloves while gardening is all the protection you need against infection.

I do understand that it can be frustrating to share your garden with wildlife; I curse every time I plant a new echinacea, because the rabbits love them enough to munch despite the Ropel. But we plant to attract birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects; mammalian wildlife is also a native and natural part of the landscape, and frankly they were here first. Frustrating though it is, I've learned to accept that only the strongest echinacea will survive to thrive here; I curse, but I've learned to live and let live. I wish you luck if you want to try deterring the raccoons; you're taking on a challenge that is almost impossible to master. Even trapping and removal - or killing - is rarely if ever successful. If the area is attractive to raccoons, others will move in if the originals are removed.

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