Raccoons are, in many ways, the ultimate garbage thieves. They’re sneaky, fast, and they have those unnerving opposable thumbs. They even look like nature’s bandits, what with their little black masks. Raccoons rely on their much-vaunted burglary skills to make it through the winter every year. If you’re not careful, they could end up relying on burglarizing you.
Now, it might not seem like that big a deal to let raccoons sneak into your garbage. The problem is, raccoons rarely stop there. Like any burglar worth their salt, raccoons push their luck. If they get into your dumpster, eventually they’ll come after the can in your garage. You don’t want raccoons hanging around in your garage. They’re kinda scary up close. Here are four ways you can burglar-proof your garbage can this winter to keep raccoons away.
Tie Your Garbage Can Lids
Nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot. Raccoons are notorious for the elaborate (and often ingenious) methods they’ll employ to access garbage. They’ll knock things over, climb, burrow, squeeze, sneak, or leap to get what they want. It can feel quite difficult to keep the truly motivated raccoon from finding their way to your garbage can. You can keep them from getting what they want once they’ve found it, however.
Use a sturdy fastener to tie down the lid of your outdoor garbage cans. We recommend using bungee cords, because they keep your garbage very secure and they’re also easy to remove quickly. Test your tie by emptying your garbage can and attempting to knock it over. Ideally, your can will stay fastened shut no matter what raccoons do to it. Fasten your can whenever you leave it outside, except when you take it to the curb for garbage day.
Close Your Garage Door
Unfortunately, your garage isn’t safe from raccoons–even when you’re inside it. The rolling bin you take out to the curb on garbage day is the perfect haven for raccoons. They could jump inside it while it’s outside, or even infiltrate your garage to get inside. Raccoons are stronger than they look, and could knock over a bin even when it’s full of garbage. Worse, once raccoons realize where your home’s garbage ends up, they’re liable to take up residence nearby.
Keeping your garage door closed whenever it isn’t in use prevents a lot of potential problems. It’ll be harder for raccoons to smell your garbage, and considerably harder for them to find it. When the garage door is open, raccoons can follow the smells of your garbage back to it source. When they arrive, they’ll find a giant opening they can easily use to get to it. Don’t ring the dinner bell for nature’s bandits; make them work for it.
Seal Your Trash Bags
Garbage is smelly, especially after it sits out for days. We think it’s pretty gross, obviously, but not everything feels that way. Raccoons have a keen sense of smell, and they aren’t exactly picky eaters. If you can smell the stink of your garbage coming from your bin, you can bet raccoons can too. That smell will attract them just as much as it repulses you. You probably can’t completely stop your garbage from stinking (it’s garbage, after all), but you can mitigate the stink.
Throw your garbage into sealed plastic garbage bags before you chuck it. Using bags is a really good idea for a couple reasons. First: it’s another layer between your garbage and raccoons. Second: it keeps your garbage from getting broken up or mashed down into the bin itself. Ironically, it’s important to keep your garbage bin as clean as possible. You don’t want it to start to stink stink even when it’s empty!
All kinds of recyclable and otherwise-chuckable products come in containers of their own. Cans, bottles, cardboard boxes, paper cups–food and drinks come in all kinds of packages. Food packages do a great job of, well, storing food. The problem is, once you’ve thrown them away, you don’t want them to store food anymore. Anything in a food package that you haven’t eaten becomes a meal for raccoons. They’ll appreciate it, but you won’t.
Before you throw out or recycle food containers, rinse them out in the sink. Do this at the same time you wash the dishes after a meal. You’d be surprised how much gunk sticks to the inside of containers, even after they’ve been “emptied”. We get it: It’s so tempting to throw that stuff out where you don’t have to worry about it. Eventually, however, you will have to worry about it. A little rinsing now could save you from a few bushy-tailed problems in the future.
All this work to protect your garbage may sound silly. But remember, it isn’t really your garbage you’re protecting. It’s the health, cleanliness, and safety of your home. If raccoons take up residence near you, they can create all kinds of health and safety problems. Keeping them out of your garbage is a necessary step to preventing those problems.
Don’t worry about the raccoons, either–something tells us they’ll be just fine. If you ever have a raccoon issue you need sorted out, or any other wildlife problem for that matter, just give Varment Guard a call anytime. Our animal control experts are ready to keep you and your home safe.BACK TO BLOG