Raccoon At Night

Here’s a little night visitor to our house… I took this picture with a flashlight in one hand and a camera in the other.

raccoon watching

For a long time, I’d assumed that the tall green trashcans – the ones that interest the raccoons because they contain the compostable food leavings – were actually impervious to wildlife if they were properly closed. Then this video on the Coyote Yipps blog clearly showed that was not true.

Well, I figured, at least the coyotes in our neighborhood hadn’t learned to do that. The only time I’d seen them in trashcans was when a neighbor overstuffed one so it wouldn’t close, and the raccoon figured the diner was open for business. Then, a few weeks ago, garbage night rolled around, and so did the raccoons. Though we were careful to shut our trashcans properly, they managed to push over the green bin and make a huge mess.

We added a couple of rocks to the top of the bin, and that was that, for a few more weeks.

Then, a few nights ago, I heard a 4 a.m. crash. I knew what it was: The raccoons had managed to overturn the can despite the rocks. I hurried out, worried both that they might have been hurt and that they would make another huge mess.

They weren’t, and they hadn’t. They bin had fallen forward and the lid held back most of the trash. The raccoons had walked into it and came out with a piece of moldy bread. I spot-lit the critter with my flashlight and took the photograph. Then I yelled some rude things in Racoonish to drive them off, righted the can, wedged it in a corner, and replaced the rocks.

I think it’s time Recology figured out a way to fasten the garbage cans. After all, raccoons aren’t exactly rare in this city. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if bungee cords or some kind of clamp would work.

[Edited to Add: Bungee cords are working thus far. Thanks, everyone who offered suggestions and instructions!]

4 thoughts on “Raccoon At Night”

  1. Terrific post there. Yes, bungee cords work perfectly to prevent the early AM crash-wake up-big mess sequence orchestrated by our friendly furry bandits. We’ve been using the cords for years. The 36-inch ones are the right length for our bins. Smaller ones won’t stretch enough, at least not easily.

    Thanks for all the great posts.


  2. Great video! Along the forest, many people use bungees. We’ve seen them hop in and out of our bins without knocking them over – we keep them outside, and built a fence behind them so they wouldn’t blow over, and they’re wedged in. So far they haven’t knocked them over while at the curb, but with so many people up on Crestmont getting hip to bungee cords…they will be coming for ours soon!

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