Raccoons are resilient creatures. They’ve easily adapted to human presence, and more raccoons (up to 20 times more!) are now living in urban areas than in the wild. Rurally, raccoons usually nest in hollow logs or rocky caves. In urban areas, though, you might find them in crawl spaces, attics, drainpipes, or even nestled under your deck. And if you’re got a garden or fish pond on your property, they’ll be tempted.
Whether you’ve built a pond in your suburban backyard or in a more rural, natural setting, you’d probably like to enjoy your hard work. You’re probably not eager to watch eager raccoons diving in the water to hunt for fish, turtles, frogs and worms. Since they’re nocturnal, though, you might not even spot them. Maybe you don’t realize midnight visitors are harvesting your pond’s fish until they start disappearing. If they do, you can guess raccoons might be the culprits.
After all taking the time to build and maintain your pond, you deserve to relax, raccoon-free. We’ve compiled some helpful tips below to teach you how to keep these wily raccoons out of your pond.
How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Pond — 5 Tips:
1. Remove nearby food sources.
Raccoons are eager for an easy meal. They’ll eat just about anything — from scraps they find in your garbage to unfinished pet food to rotten apples that have fallen from the tree. Because of their eager appetite, it’s important to keep temptation to a minimum.
Store your garbage cans indoors — either in your garage or in a locked shed. If you don’t have access to either, try purchasing a lockable, animal-proof trash can. Also, bring your pet’s feeding bowl indoors when dinnertime is over. Pick up any fallen fruit or easy-to-pick vegetables. Put your bird feeder away every evening, and be sure to scan your own yard for any more potential food sources.
2. Make access tough.
After eliminating all potential food sources, it’s time to make your pond more difficult to access. Raccoons are curious about what’s in the water; however, they’re fans of convenience. Rather than a gentle slope from the pond’s edge, you can modify your pond so that there’s a steep (two feet or more) drop right from the bank. Steep drops around the perimeter of your pond will deter raccoons from snacking in the shallows.
You can also place a net across your pond (held down by rocks or stakes) to deter nighttime raccoon visitors. Try to keep the netting lifted off the water’s surface so that your fish don’t get caught. The netting can be removed each morning once it’s done its job so that you’re not stuck with a constant eyesore.
3. Help them hide.
Raccoons are known to dislike deep water — they aren’t fans of swimming — so increasing the depth of your pond will make it harder for them to reach your fish. Since they’ll only venture in so far, make sure your pond is deep enough for your fish to find safety at the bottom.
Another suggestion for protecting your fish is to create fish caves in your pond. Fish caves can be made by placing a plastic bucket on its side and covering it with various rocks and greenery so it looks more natural.
4. Shock, sauce, spray and smells.
This combination of tactics will launch a sensory assault on those mischievous raccoons. Note: Some of these ideas won’t be appropriate if you’ve got kids and/or pets milling about.
- Install a small electric fence around your pond, if this is possible where you live. Two wires off the ground (at 6 and 12 inches) will keep raccoons out. You can use a timer so it’s only active at night.
- You can sprinkle hot sauce or homemade cayenne pepper spray around the perimeter of your pond.
- To assault their taste buds and warn raccoons off, you can try covering very hot peppers with peanut butter and strategically place them around your pond.
- Spray any raccoons you see with a hose, or toss a bucket of water on them.
- Ammonia is another scent that repels raccoons, so you could try soaking or spraying rags with ammonia and tossing them around your yard.
5. Install raccoon deterrent lights.
Nite Guard Solar lights create a protected environment where raccoons won’t even get close enough to your yard to notice you have a pond (or fish in it)!
We recommend setting up a “cluster mount”: Place one Nite Guard Solar light on each face of a four-sided post. No matter from which direction a raccoon tries to approach your yard, the flashing red Nite Guard Solar LED lights will make them think they’re being watched (by a predator, most likely) — and they won’t come near.
If Tip #5 sounds like a good solution, you can find Nite Guard Solar lights (as well as our daytime predator deterrent, Nite Guard Repellent Tape) in our online shop.
Contact the Nite Guard team; we’re here with your answers. Call us at 1-800-328-6647 or send an email and we’ll respond shortly.