I’ve tried everything to dissuade raccoons from attacking my green bins
I’ve tried everything to dissuade raccoons from attacking my green bins—to no avail. Any suggestions? —Nigel Howard, Seaton Village
Let’s start with what not to do. Don’t try poisoning raccoons, because it’s illegal. Live trapping is counter-productive and often cruel: you’re likely to catch a sheltering mother and leave starving babies behind. And speaking of the offspring, it’s bad to adopt. Those sweet little baby raccoons become foul, feral, uncontrollable creatures when they reach sexual maturity (much like humans, really). The sad truth is that the little blighters usually ignore such home-brew deterrents as mothballs, bright lights and cayenne pepper. The only real way to keep them out of your business is to remove whatever attracted them in the first place. Green bins—full of pungent organics—are especially appealing; their latches were meant to be animal-resistant, but aren’t. The city is currently testing a new latch that fits over existing bins. In the meantime, keeping your bin in a secure shed is your best bet. Failing that, you can still take heart: raccoons need to either knock a bin over or climb on top of it to pry it open. The Urban Decoder knows of one homeowner who, after trying to keep the lid on with cinder blocks and bungee cords, finally suspended the garbage can from his carport roof. He hasn’t had a raccoon B and E since.