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Gloria Estefan’s “Turn the Beat Around” not popular with rats

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, March 27th, 2008 at 7:58 am in Uncategorized.

My friend Karen is always sending me interesting little stories like this one:

“A friend went on holiday and left her car in the garage with a window open. When she returned she found a hole in her front seat. A rat had decided to make her car, a nice Mercedes, its home.

“The hole kept getting bigger but searches for the rat were fruitless. (The size of the poops suggested a rat.) She didn’t want to kill the little bugger, as most people would. First she tried a humane trap but was just left with the trap and no cheese.

“A wildlife rescue friend suggested playing loud annoying music in the car non-stop all night. Gloria Estefan’s “Turn the Beat Around” was what drove the rat to search for, well, maybe a Bentley or something. I was really proud of her for not killing the rat. In the end the solution was free and easy, except for having to repair the front seat. (Karen Benzel, cyberspace)”

The right sounds have been known to humanely resolve many an animal problem.

Raccoons are a classic example.

In California in early fall when the hills are turning brown, suburban raccoons will turn to the lush green lawns in local backyards in their search for food. A small group of 2-5 raccoons can use their hand-like paws to roll up an entire back lawn in one night as they search for earthworms, larvae and other insects and small rodents to eat. The destruction is massive.

About 10 years ago, after getting a LOT of letters and e-mail complaining about this problem, I wrote a column asking my readers if they had discovered any humane ways to keep the raccoons from destroying their lawns.

I was inundated with answers, some of them having to do with sound:

** We back up to the hills and have always had a good rapport with the raccoons until they tore up the new lawn! I tried everything, including coyote urine (that was stupid since we also have coyotes in the hills and they sure have not been cause for the raccoons to stay away).

Finally, I took my portable boom box, wrapped it in a garbage bag to keep it from getting wet, tuned it to all-news radio KCBS and left it on all night. I made sure it wasn’t loud enough to disturb the neighbors, but at least loud enough to trick the critters into believing a human was out in the yard. It worked! I left it on each night for about three weeks and have not had a problem with them tearing up the lawn ever since. (Laurie Leone, Danville)

** A radio in the yard on a talk radio station does the trick. (Marilyn Borchardt, cyberspace)

** Last year we tried our solution in one of our yards when they appeared, this year in another yard. It worked both times. We first turned on our outdoor lights. It worked for a day or two, but they returned, digging in the shady areas. Then we also put out a radio around 10 to 20 feet from their activities. It was turned up loud enough to hear it clearly 20 to 30 feet away. The raccoons disappeared.

To answer the most obvious question, we tune it to KGO. As an added benefit to our solution, if KGO’s nighttime sponsors in Danville or Alamo note increased business from local raccoons and skunks, radio may have found a new market. (Bill Souveroff, Danville)

I can just hear their new marketing promotion: “KGO Bay Area raccoon and skunk repellent radio. They can’t dig it!” Ah, the sweet smell of success.

Personally, I think we should just get rid of all the lawns. It takes waaay too much water to keep them green, anyway. /Gary

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