Baby raccoons, photo by Sharon Metcalf, Moraga, CA
These baby raccoons were discovered after we had our spa removed. They
are covered in insulation because the mom was raising them inside the spa
installation. Unfortunate for the mom, she escaped in another town
because, unknown to us she was hiding inside the spa (while it was being moved). The babies are healthy and being cared for at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s Wildlife Hospital in Walnut Creek, Calif.
Sharon Metcalf, Moraga, CA
Taking the raccoon babies to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum was a good move. They are one of the top wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers in the country. When the raccoon babies are old enough, they will be rehabilitated back into the wild where they belong. Thanks for caring! /Gary
Posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
Under: Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Raccoons | 1 Comment »
Raccoon in house by Maureen Wright, Pittsburg, Calif.
You can’t really blame the raccoons for foraging for food … BUT … there are humane ways to help protect your lawn and house and still get along with your wild neighbors.
I’ve put together a 7-page “Gary’s Raccoon Help” and will be happy to provide a FREE COPY to anyone who needs it. It’s full of humane solutions that have been used successfully over the years by many of my other readers.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Friday, December 5th, 2008
Under: Raccoon roundworms, Raccoons | 703 Comments »
I’ve had some requests from people wanting to know how to recognize the kind of damage raccoons can do to your lawn.
This photo from one of my readers shows what happens when a small band of 2-4 raccoons go “prowling” through your lawn looking for earthworms and tasty grubs. The raccoons are usually attracted to
our lush, green lawns in the fall when the rest of the countryside turns dry and brown.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Friday, October 24th, 2008
Under: Lawn Abuse, Raccoons | 506 Comments »
I was fixing some tea this morning in the pre-dawn darkness when I felt someone watching me. Turning around I saw a raccoon sitting outside the sliding glass door to the kitchen looking at me just as my cat, Tut, strolled up.
The raccoon placed its paw against the outside of the glass and Tut placed his paw against the inside of the glass at the same spot.
What was that? A gang sign?
Both animals lowered their paws after a moment and Tut turned around and they both just sat there looking at me.
OK, what’s going on here?
While you’re at it, check out the Primal Rant on “Silence of the Songbirds” below. Interesting. /Gary
Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2007
Under: Cats, Raccoons | No Comments »
Looks like it’s “that” time of year again.
I’m starting to get lots of calls about “torn up lawns,” “big holes in the yard,” and other raccoon-type problems. Does this sound familiar? Maybe you need a copy of my free 7-page Gary’s Raccoon Help.
It is filled with lots of humane ideas on how to protect your yard and get along with your wild neighbors at the same time. These ideas have been used successfully by my readers to humanely solve raccoon problems for years. It also explains what is going on with the raccoons and why they’re doing all this stuff.
You can get a free copy of Gary’s Raccoon Help by sending me an e-mail at email@example.com
I’ll send you one back by return e-mail. (I’m also putting together a Gary’s People Help for the local raccoons.) /Gary
Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2007
Under: Raccoons | 4 Comments »
Raccoons slipping through your cat or dog door at night and raiding your kitchen cabinets?
The traditional pet door goes high-tech.
I just received the following press release. It sounds like this product might be the answer to an all-too-common raccoon problem:
** PetSafe, the company that introduced the first wireless fence back in 1998, has invented the Electronic SmartDoor — a battery-powered pet door that allows up to five dog/cat collar key codes, a smaller flap size, three modes and a weather tight seal. Using radio frequency, the Electronic SmartDoor identifies your pets, allows them to freely enter and exit your home while keeping other animals out.
A lightweight “SmartKey” is worn on your pet’s collar. It communicates through a radio frequency and unlocks the door as your pet approaches and relocks automatically as the pet enters or exits. It works like a garage door opener. The door comes in small and large sizes and fits standard doors from 1.5 inches to 2 inches thick. It’s not cheap ($149.99 for the small door and $229.99 for the large), but neither is the cost and effort of regularly cleaning up your kitchen after a raccoon has finished rummaging through your cabinets looking for something to eat.
You can check it out and see what it looks like at:
If you get one, please let me know how it works. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck! /Gary
Posted on Friday, August 24th, 2007
Under: Raccoons | 3 Comments »
Did you wake up this morning and find your back lawn had been removed?
Are you having trouble getting along with your raccoon neighbors because they’re tearing big holes in your lawn as they search for tasty earthworms … or tossing all your lawn furniture in your swimming pool … or entering your house through the cat door and going through your kitchen cabinets looking for breakfast cereals and other tasty things to eat?
Living in the urban and suburban wilderness isn’t always easy. To help you deal with some of Life’s furry little surprises, I’ve put together a 7-page “Raccoon Fact Sheet” that’s filled with handy and humane tips for dealing with these 4-legged bandits. We ARE smarter than they are, you know. (I think.)
If you’d like me to e-mail you an electronic copy of my “Raccoon Fact Sheet,” please click on “Comments” at the bottom of this entry and leave your name and e-mail address. If you’d prefer to communicate with me directly, I can be reached at email@example.com
It would also help if you can also leave me a brief description of your raccoon problem in case it isn’t covered in my fact sheet, so I can send you a “custom” response.
If you’ve come up with your own humane and hopefully friendly way of dealing with these beautiful creatures, please let me know so I can add it to my collection the next time I update my fact sheet.
You never know what will work with these intelligent and clever animals and it’s best to have a lot of ideas in your wild bag of tricks.
** Before you leave, did you know: According to a BizRate Research survey conducted in 2005, 56 percent of female pet owners surveyed said their pets are more affectionate than their romantic partners.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we spent an estimated $41 BILLION on our pets last year.
Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2007
Under: Raccoons | 725 Comments »
I know a lady in Lafayette who used to feed raccoons in her back yard. Huge numbers of raccoons like you wouldn’t believe. Sometimes 20-30 raccoons a night. These patio parties would also attract skunks, foxes, opossums and even domestic cats. She had these large ceramic bowls she’d fill to the brim with dog and cat kibble, and raccoons and other animals from near and far would come just after dark to take advantage of this grand nightly feast. And when all the food was gone after an hour or so … all you-know-what would break loose in the lady’s Lafayette neighborhood.
Bands of raccoons would visit the yards belonging to the lady’s neighbors and start destroying everything in sight when they didn’t find any food.
The raccoon feeder in Lafayette had created a monster.
Not only was she raining raccoon destruction down on her neighbors, she was also creating a multitude of problems for her wild animal "friends." In the wild, Mother Nature gives her wild animals certain habits and attitudes that keep them away from these kinds of social events. If too many wild creatures gather together regularly, it’s a dangerous way to spread diseases from animal to animal. Especially when different species of animals are brought together. Skunks are the major vectors of rabies (a fatal disease) in California. Foxes can carry canine distemper, and domestic cats carry feline distemper … and raccoons can catch them both.
Instead of doing good things for her raccoon friends with these feedings, the lady in Lafayette may have been killing them.
What a mess.
Posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
Under: Feeding wildlife, Raccoons | No Comments »
Hi Gary: I thought it was skunks tearing up my lawn. A family of raccoons came by every night to get left-over bird food and they also managed to get the tuna set inside the skunk trap (from the city) without setting off the trap. I kept thinking it was skunks digging for grubs and made sure there were no gaps under the fence for entry. So, it must be the raccoons — they perch on the neighbors roof every night — scaring them hasn’t worked, the traps haven’t worked — hopefully, you can! (Francie Lassiter, Norman, Oklahoma)
Francie: Checkout my Raccoon Fact Sheet (attached) and see if you can find something to help you resolve your problem. I explain what’s going on with the raccoons, and then my fact sheet contains a whole bunch of ideas for dealing with the raccoons. There’s no one magic solution. Each situation is slightly different. These ideas in my fact sheet have worked well for a lot of other people. Good luck. Please let me know what works for you.
Are you really in Norman, Oklahoma? I was born in Cushing, Okla. I lived in Agra, Guthrie, Cherokee, and in Coffeeville, Kansas when I was a kid. Small world. (Gary, Walnut Creek, Calif.)
Hi Gary: Thanks for responding so fast! Yes, I’m in Norman, east side of town and close enough to see the lights at the OU stadium, and if the wind is heavy, we can hear the announcements, the band, etc. I’ve been here for 10 years, transplanted by marriage from Laguna Niguel, CA. It was like moving to a foreign country but I’m getting the hang of it. I’m "fixin" to make a cup of coffee to enjoy with your fact sheet. (Francie, Norman, Okla.)
Posted on Wednesday, April 5th, 2006
Under: Raccoons, Wildlife | No Comments »
Gary: Please provide me with a copy of your Raccoon Fact Sheet. Your column in the Times was interesting and fun. /John Madden
John: Are you THE John Madden? /Gary
Gary: Sorry, I’m only THE to members of the family (and sometimes I wonder about that!). Since I’m older than the coach, I consider myself THE.
Thanks for the raccoon material. I live in Altadena, CA, an unincorporated area between Pasadena and the mountains. Our last house had a family of the critters (raccoons) living under a large deck. There must have been five in the family. It seems there was enough food around (probably set out for dogs) so that we had no lawn damage in 25 years. Eight years ago we moved to an area that abuts the National Forest and the bandits have been doing all of the things described in your fact sheet.
We also have deer, skunks, opossums, coyotes (the largest male I have ever seen came through the backyard last week), an occasional mountain lion, and, a small black bear (brown phase) who has been sighted along a 10-mile stretch of the forest. Love it. We are at the 1,780-ft. elevation and can see Catalina and Santa Monica Bay on a good day. I’ll put up with minimal danger and an occasional lawn-feeding beasty anytime. Live and let live.
I logged onto www.ContraCostaTimes.com and found it to be quite good. So I have it delivered to my computer every day and keep up with the Northern California news. /John
Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2006
Under: Animals, Raccoons, Wildlife | 1 Comment »