You're Attracting Raccoons to Your Home If You Don't Keep This Indoors
If you're keeping this outside, consider bringing it in to avoid these pests.
Raccoons can easily become a nuisance to your home and yard, but that's likely the least of your problems with these critters. They can transmit a number of harmful diseases to humans, including rabies and raccoon roundworm. Raccoons are quite strong as well, with sharp claws and teeth that can do some serious damage. These animals are found all across the U.S., in both urban and rural settings, according to Terminix. But you might be making your home a specific target for raccoons depending on what you leave in your yard. Read on to find out you should bring inside immediately to keep raccoons away.
If you don't keep your pet's water bowl indoors, you might be attracting raccoons.
You might want to start keeping your pet's water bowl inside your home if you're prone to leaving it outside. According to pest experts, raccoons tend to seek out clean sources of water. The bowl you use for your dog's water is a common target.
"Raccoons are attracted to any good water source including dog bowls," explains Martin Boonzaayer, a home expert and the chief executive officer of Trusted Home Buyer. "Like any animal, they love good drinking water. Keeping dog bowls inside can keep raccoons from accessing them."
Raccoons will also use your pet's water to wet their food, according to Jonathan Christie, a home expert and CEO of The Property Buying Company. This is dangerous for your pet as well. "This can actually be unsafe for your pet as they could leave microorganisms behind and make them sick," he warns.
Raccoons target water bowls for more than one reason.
Raccoons aren't only looking be hydrated or to wet their food when they seek out your pet's water bowl. According to Clarissa Benny, a certified pest control technician working as a consultant for HouseGrail, raccoons also use water to wet their paws. "Water helps their paws to be more sensitive to touch. A raccoon's hands are like our eyes. It's how they observe and sense their surroundings," Benny explains.
According to Codey Stout, a yard expert and head of operations for TreeTriage, you are likely to find raccoons washing their feet in your pet's water bowl. Water "improves their tactile senses and the receptiveness of the nerves on their paws," he says.
Raccoons are more likely to come to your house at night.
Sharon Harding, a yard expert running the blog Backyard Addict, says that it's likely you might be asleep when raccoons come around, which is all the more reason to keep things that attract them indoors. "Raccoons are nocturnal creatures. They usually sleep during daylight and spend their nights foraging for food. Those animals will also be thirsty and come in search of water," Harding explains, adding that they're most likely to come to your house between sunset and sunrise.
According to Harding, raccoons are also likely to come around all year. During the colder weather months, they tend to leave their dens on milder winter days. "Raccoons are most attracted to homes during winter when good water and food sources are harder to find," Boonzaayer explains, noting that keeping pet food inside during this time will also help keep raccoons away.
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You should also watch out for the trees in your yard.
While your pet's water and food bowls can attract raccoons to your home, it's your trees that might allow them to actually get inside your space. "The most common problem I see concerning raccoons are tree branches touching your house. Raccoons will climb their way to your attic or chimney by climbing trees and crawling across the branch," warns Shane McCoy, a board certified entomologist and founder of Aspect Pest Control.
According to McCoy, a good rule of thumb is to keep your tree branches trimmed at least six feet away from your home. Stout also says that the type of trees in your yard could be problematic, as raccoons are especially attracted to fruit trees. "Pruning the lower tree branches and cleaning up fallen fruits immediately can help prevent raccoons from coming to your yard," he recommends.