After we moved into our new house in Florida, we noticed every night that raccoons would come out of the woods next door and explore our yard. They came right up to the back door, with the outside light on.
Oh, they were so cute. One time we looked out back to see three little raccoon faces peering out of the woods at us. Similar to the photo above (not taken by me), plus one. It was adorable, and if I were any kind of photographer I would have had the camera handy and captured that image.
However, I know that raccoons are not the sweet, adorable creatures they appear to be. And these days I abhor seeing their cute faces. They are thieves, that even wear masks as a warning! They have no regard for the hard work farmers and gardeners put into growing their crops.
Raccoons have sharp claws and teeth. They can be vicious if need be, and the ones that visit my yard are mostly unafraid of humans and my cats. They mostly do their damage at night, but we’ve been sitting at the outside table, in full daylight, and had one come out of the woods a mere 10 feet from us. Once he noticed we were there, he left. Rabies is common among them, but this one did not act in an unusual manner. I think he just wanted to see what we were up to.
I usually leave water outside for the cats during the day because of the heat. If I don’t empty the bucket, the raccoons always get into the water overnight and leave a muddy mess. Occasionally they dump the bucket.
One evening after we had been out on our boat, I rinsed my expensive water shoes and left them to dry on the back patio. The next morning one of my shoes was missing! Luckily I found the shoe at the edge of the woods where apparently the raccoon decided it would be of no use to him.
That same morning I discovered my tall sunflower stalk broken and dragged across the grass. It was the only sunflower seed that grew for me, and I really had hoped to see the flower bloom.
But worst of all is the stealing of my tomatoes. I just picked two ripe tomatoes and left about 4 more green ones on the vine. Today I saw that all the green tomatoes were gone! Last week they stole 2 nice red ones just before I had a chance to pick them.
They will drag pots and my fabric potting bags around. It seems they have a grand old time during the darkness of night. When the weather is nice, and my windows are open, I can hear them outside my window at night scampering around and occasionally “screaming” at each other. Yes, they make noise, and it’s creepy.
I’m thinking it’s time for a fence. However, I am not sure that will keep them away. I’ve read that they can climb fences, and we’ve watched them climb down from way up in a neighboring tree. The fence may have to be made of slick material, like metal or plastic, that they cannot climb. I’m saving my money, as we had planned to fence the yard anyway. These creatures just give me more incentive to do so.
I can only hope that with a wall between them and my yard the little robbers, or bandits as they are rightfully called, will forget about my garden and go someplace else to scavenge.
(Thanks to the photographers of Pixabay for these raccoon photos.)