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Keep raccoons out of my pond


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Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping raccoons out of the backyard goldfish barrel? You can see they've bent down the wire fencing that I keep around the barrel. Fortunately by the time they bend it down the fish go to the bottom or they can't reach, but they're tearing up the lilies, and I'm afraid it's only a matter of time until they get to the fish.

I'm just assuming it's raccoons. That seems the most likely to me.

PXL_20210707_142718013.MP.jpg

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In my childhood home this was a constant problem for us.  The only things that I know work are electric fences and trapping and relocating them VERY far away.  If you trap them you'll have to be ready though because new ones will eventually move in.  We relocated MANY raccoons during my childhood.

 

There are other methods of discouragement that I've heard of too, such as a soaked marshmallow or tanglefoot which get their hands dirty and they hate that.  There's also the tabasco-filled egg trick.  I'm not sure how effective those are though.

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Thanks for the suggestions. These raccoons will never be gone because my yard backs up to a nature preserve, so it will always be an issue. Since I back up to that land, I don't want to leave food out. There are possums, rats, mice, snakes, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, owls, hawks and just about anything else native to the area. I don't need my backyard to be a farm because I'm trying to bait one animal and instead attracting more. I don't want to mess with electric fences, because I have kids.

I think I'm going to try more of the fencing in layers so maybe it's less bendable. I'm just afraid it won't look good. I'll have to try and wrap it with something after.

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On 7/7/2021 at 9:24 PM, Odd Duck said:

@theotheragentm  You could put in a motion sensor sprinkler.  You could even put the hose on a timer so it only activates at night.  You would just have to remember to deactivate it for any night time human or pet activity in the yard.

They make small battery operated motion detector water sprayers some make noise too to deter stray cats. Its economical and harmless

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On 7/7/2021 at 6:34 PM, Guppysnail said:

They make small battery operated motion detector water sprayers some make noise too to deter stray cats. Its economical and harmless

I suddenly had an idea for a prank on my neighbor...  

On 7/7/2021 at 8:06 AM, theotheragentm said:

Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping raccoons out of the backyard goldfish barrel? You can see they've bent down the wire fencing that I keep around the barrel. Fortunately by the time they bend it down the fish go to the bottom or they can't reach, but they're tearing up the lilies, and I'm afraid it's only a matter of time until they get to the fish.

I'm just assuming it's raccoons. That seems the most likely to me.

Based on prior experience with raccoons I would also suspect that as the culprit.  As others have stated, an electric wire/fence is probably your best option, it wont feel nice if someone accidently touches it but I bet it would be the only time they every did it by accident.  The other option would be using something like hardware cloth (smaller mesh means they can't put their arms through it to grab the lilies) but it has to be very well secured.  If the raccoons find and start eating the fish in there it will be very hard to keep them out.  I built what I thought was a chicken fortress to protect my birds after several losses only to watch on a security camera as they climbed the roof and started tearing off the wire on the weakest part they could find to kill more of the chickens. 

 

If you have losses, consider the electric fence, even domestic animals can sense the electric field and avoid it so it is pretty safe over all.  Good luck!  

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Thanks for all the suggestions again. I don't think they're just drinking as they've torn through some of the lily pads. I definitely want to choose a solution that keeps them away from the barrel all together as the last thing I want to worry about is a downed raccoon. I think motion-activated sprinkler that only comes on at night is the best solution right now. I'll have to test it on my children to make sure it works.

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We have a broken fountain from the previous owner of our home we still haven't done anything with, and it attracts local wildlife by being a water source, and I used to have a trail camera set up to watch. The way raccoons drink at it is probably a good explanation for what's happening to your lily pads; when they drink they like to play around in the water with their paws, sometimes climbing all the way in. This is one of the reasons I haven't tried doing any ponds, as we're on a wooded lot with lots of raccoons, coyotes, opossums, armadillos and tons of birds. Trying to keep the raccoons out seems like a daunting challenge. I'd go with constructing some sort of sturdy and secure fence and top for the pond.

Here's some trail cam footage I took. 

 

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You can take that gauge of wire fencing and make a conical/domed lid sort of thing for the pot. Did this for my wife's strawberries years ago and it held up great against the little/medium critters, deer would still kick it off if they were determined. But for your application I'm thinking something more like a sleeve that reaches the ground. The geometry of the top will help prevent buckling under the weight of even chunky trash pandas. 

Another thought is repurposing one of those fabric garden pots. Find one with sufficient diameter to fit over the pot. You'd have to put it on/take it off every night/morning of course but it would keep them out while remaining breathable so the plants/fish wouldn't suffer from reduced gas exchange. 

 

Hope you win your battle! 

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On 7/7/2021 at 9:06 AM, theotheragentm said:

Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping raccoons out of the backyard goldfish barrel? You can see they've bent down the wire fencing that I keep around the barrel. Fortunately by the time they bend it down the fish go to the bottom or they can't reach, but they're tearing up the lilies, and I'm afraid it's only a matter of time until they get to the fish.

I'm just assuming it's raccoons. That seems the most likely to me.

PXL_20210707_142718013.MP.jpg

Racoons are fast learners and fairly brilliant problem solving predators in my unfortunate experience.  A resourceful and persistent foe when they find something of interest in my area. I think they would either need to be trapped and removed from the area completely or actively deterred from getting access to the pond.  

Id probably do one of those +/- $80 2 strand electric fence style barrier kits made for gardens and similar applications. Something like the Small Animal Garden Electric Fence Kit, GS-50 which is a 110 AC plug in would be my solution if you had an outlet within 100' of the pond it would work to deter whatever might enjoy taking them. Basically a plug in two wire "fence" you could have and put on a timer so it was just active at night when they were hunting your pond once they figure out the pond is off limits they would likely skip your stop on their nightly travels, find some other food source, and leave your goldfish in the water.

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