Raccoons tend to be either loved or hated, but few people would deny that they have their moments of cuteness. Still, even a small population of raccoons can wreak havoc on your farm or garden.
Raccoons are omnivores and scavengers, which means they will eat just about anything they can find. They may be eyeing your garden for weeks before claiming some juicy fresh fruits and vegetables just days before you were going to harvest them. What plants do raccoons eat, and what draws them?
1. Sweet Corn
Any farmer who has dealt with raccoons will likely know that sweet corn is one of their favourite foods. Raccoons are large and strong enough to pull down the stalks. They tend to start in the center of a field and work their way out, and they will peel back the husks to get to the corn inside. They prefer to eat it in the milk stage, which is the stage just before harvesting time.
Melons are another favourite food of raccoons, but sometimes the prickly vines deter them. If they can get past the vines, though, a raccoon will have no problem piercing the thick skin of a melon with its sharp claws and teeth, then scraping out the insides.
Raccoons consume berries whole, and a determined gaze (the word for a group of raccoons) can strip an entire bush of all its berries in one night. Raccoons may carry berries off to eat somewhere else if they do not just start chowing down right next to the bush. The most likely time for raccoons to go after your berries is in the months of June to October, when raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are ready to harvest.
4. Tree Fruit
Raccoons have an appetite for delicious, fresh fruit, which is why they will often ignore fruit that has fallen to the ground and go straight for the fruit that is still hanging off your trees. They will typically take a few bites out of fruit before moving on to the next one, damaging many fruits in one night. Common tree fruits sought by raccoons include:
There are other fruits that raccoons will also go after, but as far as what plants do raccoons eat? These are the main ones.
As with the other plants on this list, raccoons prefer beans that are ripe and ready to harvest, so this is the time to be especially watchful. They will go for any kind of bean, whether it grows on a vine or in a low bush. Raccoons will grab bean pods directly off the plant.
How to Deter Raccoons from Your Plants
Many natural forms of deterrents can sometimes work to keep raccoons away from your precious harvest. Some people will use the urine from natural raccoon predators such as coyotes, mountain lions, bears, wolves, and bobcats. Rotating the scents from different predators by spraying them around your yard may do the trick.
Raccoons hate the smell of onion, garlic, and peppermint. They are sensitive to flaked chilis, cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Spraying, sprinkling, or even growing these plants around the outside edges of your garden may also work to deter raccoons.
If these natural deterrent methods are not working, you may be considering the options for raccoon removal Durham has to offer. Due to the risk of zoonotic diseases or the potential of causing harm to yourself or the animals, we at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control always recommend hiring a professional wildlife removal expert to get the job done.