Ways to Keep Raccoons Out of Garbage Cans

Ways to Keep Raccoons Out of Garbage Cans

You hear a rattling noise in front of your house every night. The sound is not only annoying but also really terrifying. But you still go out with your flashlight and discover that it’s actually a raccoon jumping out of your trash can.

Though the terror may ease, you shouldn’t be too comfortable. Having raccoons inside garbage cans can not only jeopardize cleanliness but also cause damage to the property.

The risk of disease transmission here is high as well. The only solution to prevent all these is to keep raccoons out of garbage cans. How do you do that? This article is here to help you with that. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to keep your trash can raccoon-free.

Why are There Raccoons in Your Garbage Cans: Understanding Their Behavior

Raccoons are notorious nocturnal creatures. In other words, they are up to their mischief during the night. It’s essential to be aware of this behaviour while implementing strategies to keep them away from your trash cans.

Simply put, their natural instinct leads them to look for food sources during the cover of darkness, and your filled-up garbage cans are their delicious buffet. The easily accessible food waste inside is the main enticing factor that attracts animals.

However, raccoons are not like other animals. They are cunning, opportunistic omnivores. This means they have a varied diet and will eat anything they find.

In addition, they possess a keen sense of smell and the ability to detect odors from a significant distance. The pungent smell oozing from your garbage can act as a beacon for raccoons, drawing them for a potential feast.

Well, truth be told, more or less every animal out there has these senses. But again, raccoons are different. They have dexterous paws and sharp claws. These features come along with excellent problem-solving skills.

Their intelligence is mainly known for inventing creative solutions to overcome obstacles. They use their paws to pry open lids, tip over cans, and chew through weak containers to reach the contents inside.

Due to these adaptability and problem-solving skills, your usual garbage can preservation method isn’t work. It means you must change things around to keep these mammals at bay. What changes? Keep reading, and you’ll know it all.

6 Things You Can Do to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Garbage Cans

I know what you’re going through because I, too, have been a victim of these burglars. However, after many research and experiments, I have found six simple methods to keep your trash safe from raccoons. Here’s what they are:

Method 1: Put Up Physical Barriers

The simplest way to keep raccoons out of your trash is to put up various obstacles. To start, secure the lids and containers. Simply closing the lid isn’t enough because, as already discussed, raccoons are intelligent animals and can open lids if they try.

Ensure the lids fit tightly and are in good condition. Fasten them securely with ropes if necessary. Bungee cords or straps are very effective in holding the lids in place.

If you want to avoid all these hassles, you can get a raccoon-proof garbage can like this one. Yes, raccoons are smart, but they are not smart enough to bypass the lock system on this type of can.

The locking mechanisms here are designed to open only with a specific motion. Alternatively, you can install latches or locks on your existing cans, which will work as well. However, it can be a hassle.

Method 2: Utilizing Natural Deterrents

You have to fight fire with fire. This is a really effective solution. No, you won’t deploy an army of raccoons to fight off other raccoons. Let me clarify what I mean.

Use natural deterrents to push these animals back to nature. There are tons of things you can do in this regard. For starters, place ammonia-soaked rags or cotton balls near the trash cans.

It creates a strong scent that raccoons and most other nocturnal animals find repulsive. All you have to do is refresh the ammonia regularly to maintain its efficiency.

You can also try spraying a mixture of cayenne pepper or hot sauce and water on and all around the cans to keep the raccoons away.

The pungent smell and taste of the mixture should keep rodents and mammals away. This solution is excellent, as all it takes is a few household items.

Last, you can opt for predator urine or scent deterrents. In case you didn’t know, wildlife control stores sell products that mimic predators’ presence.

This sends a false danger signal to raccoons. It’s a safe way to deter them as it doesn’t cause the animals any harm.

However, if nothing works, plant prickly or thorny plants near your garbage cans. With a dense, sharp obstacle in the way, no animal would dare reach for your trash.

Method 3: Controlling the Odor

Raccoons are drawn to the strong smell emanating from your garbage cans. So, if you can control or minimize the trash odor, no raccoon will know your trash can is a food source. In other words, no animal will approach the trash.

Controlling the odor is simple. You just have to be consistent when disposing of the trash. Consider double bagging and sealing particularly pungent waste. This helps contain the odor and makes it less enticing to raccoons.

You can also consider freezing smelly waste, such as leftovers, until the collection day to reduce the odor. The cold temperature helps suppress the smell.

Another amazing thing you can use is scented trash bags. There are odor-neutralizing products available as well. These work amazingly well to mask unpleasant smells, making your garbage less alluring to the raccoons.

But nothing beats regular maintenance. It takes little time to regularly clean and deodorize the garbage cans. So, keep this task on your weekly to-do list and eliminate all the lingering odors.

Method 4: Place the Garbage Can in The Right Spot

Placing the garbage can in the right spot can address numerous trash-related issues, including raccoon attacks. Proper placement of garbage cans can make them less accessible to other animals.

What you need to do is store your cans in a secure area. A shed or garage is the ideal spot to keep raccoons away. These enclosed spaces create an additional barrier, reducing the chances of raccoon intrusion.

The trash in the garage won’t spread the stench as much. And this way, you can bring the cans outdoors only on the morning of the collection day.

By simply minimizing the time cans are left outside, you can drastically improve the overall situation with the raccoons.

However, keep the trash can in an elevated space. Not only will this be troublesome for you, but it also won’t solve your issue. Raccoons are agile climbers who can easily climb any structure and reach the trash in high places.

Method 5: Use Audio and Visual Deterrents

Raccoons are susceptible to sudden noises and visual disturbances. So, to discourage their approach, you can install motion-sensing lights or alarms near your garbage cans.

These devices will startle the animals and deter them completely. However, you should make sure to use an ultrasonic alarm. The high-frequency sound will chase the raccoon away but won’t bother your ears.

However, the problem with such devices is that they may need frequent maintenance with battery changes. Additionally, while these alarms come cheap, they can be relatively expensive compared to other methods.

Most importantly, if the alarm is damaged or not functioning for any reason in the middle of the night, then your garbage can is left totally vulnerable to raccoons.

If you are concerned about these issues, you can hang fake predators or shiny objects around the cans to create visual deterrents. Opt for glow-in-the-dark posters. These raccoons are dumb enough to get scared by them.

Method 6: Alert Your Neighbors

Nothing beats the strength of unity. Preventing raccoon intrusion requires cooperation among neighbours. If your entire area is bothered by the issue of raccoons, step up and educate the people who live near you.

Just casually explain to them the importance and proper procedures of regularly disposing of waste. Emphasize the importance of securing the lids and using deterrent methods. You can send them a link to this article.

Coordinating garbage collection schedules will drastically minimize the time cans are exposed to raccoons. Try to have a synchronized schedule to reduce the overall attraction for raccoons in the area.

Most importantly, introduce the usage of wildlife-proof bins in your community. As you already know, these bins are the most effective for keeping the trash secure.

Once everyone in the neighbourhood takes these preventive measures, the raccoons will realize they have no luck and will leave the area.

Stay On Your Tows and Prevent Raccoons’ Attack on Garbage Cans

I don’t have to tell you just how important it is to keep animals out of the garbage cans to maintain cleanliness. You don’t have to do much to keep rodents away from the trash.

However, as raccoons are smarter, they need more than traditional methods. But if you apply the above-mentioned methods, you will have a raccoon-free, mess-free environment. Just make sure to go through all the points and pick the method that is ideal for you.

Remember, preventing raccoon attacks on the garbage cans is important for your property and the overall well-being of your community.

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