Raccoons can be one of the most devastating pests to invade the water garden (right up there with Herons). There are however a few things you can do to deter this nocturnal pest. Build your pond deeper.
This animal doesn’t swim for their fish food and unless your fish come right up to the edge to be scooped out, a raccoon will not swim in to “harvest” lunch.
So When You Feed Your Fish
Many folks like to hand feed their larger fish and these get used to somebody disturbing the water surface. Usually it’s you wanting to feed the fish.
But the raccoons have figured this out too as they “wash” their hands or disturb the surface as well.
Fish come expecting dinner and they become dinner.
Build fish refuges in the bottom of the pond.
This is as simple as laying a two foot long section of six or eight inch drain pipe on the bottom of the pond for this fish to hide in. Cover this section over with gravel or larger stones so it will not shift and will seem part of the natural bottom of the pond. The fish will learn to hide there quite quickly. Make two – they are cheap to construct.
Get a dog and leave it out at night.
Yeah, I know, not practical in all cases but the picture below pretty much says it all when there’s a dog under the tree.
Just don’t let Fluffy corner a big old raccoon. Fluffy will come out the worst.
When I was a kid, I watched a big German shepherd take on a big raccoon. The fathers couldn’t get the dog to back off and it wouldn’t let them get close enough to collar it. They had to let the fight progress. (Note this is Canada and rifles were just restricted in our area because there were too many houses being built on the road. No hand guns. So the option was to get in the middle of this fight to stop it or let it happen.)
Bottom line. The dog won. Killed the raccoon after what seemed like a long and bloody fight. But the dog then had to undergo extensive vet surgery to repair all the wounds the raccoon inflicted.
Folks, these are wild animals and while they look “cute”, they’re not to be messed with.
Keep control of Fluffy.
Electronics For Controlling Raccoons
Use an electronic scarecrow or pest ultrasonic sound blaster (or both combined). These gizmos are controlled by a motion detector and when it detects motion (you have to remember to turn it off when you go out to the pond) it activates the device. Similar to the driveway light controllers for your house, these motion detectors run either a water sprinkler (excellent for cats) and/or a pest ultrasound device.
The ultrasound devices are common on some overwintered boats where the animal breaks into the boat and lives aboard for the cold months – leaving the interior of the boat a shambles. Be aware that this device will bother dogs and cats as well. It is also recommended that you put it on a timer of some kind as the animal may become used to it if it runs constantly.
If the animal is not bothering your fish but digging up your plants, you’ll find the electronic devices to be your best remedy. Here are a few options for you
Ultrasonic devices are controversial. I had a sailor friend swear by them. If he forgot to turn it on, the raccoons would find a way into his boat and live there for the winter. This prompted a total interior rebuild (they used it as a toilet as well) If he used the sonic, well they didn’t.
I tried them one year on mice in the basement. Mice weren’t bothered.
Your results may vary but don’t bet the farm on them is my .02
There is no fence they can not climb and literally no other deterrent (short of a totally electrified fencing system) that will keep them out of your garden.
You can find other pond articles here. And other pest articles here.