New Pond Problem

The neighborhood raccoons have decided to use it as a bathtub. They don’t seem to be successful at fishing in it (probably the fish dive too deep), but they displace twenty gallons of water at night, that I have to refill in the morning. The pond is right next to our bedroom window, so we hear the commotion.

I flash a tactical light at them and tell them to vamoose, and they do, but I don’t like being woken up to have to do that. I’m going to install a security light and camera to see if that will discourage them. At least we’ll be able to better see what’s going on.

[Saturday-morning update]

For the curious, this is what I’m going to install. We already have one that looks at the driveway and mailbox. This one will be right next to it, looking at the side yard, and the wiring is simple, because it just USBs to the other one.

[Sunday-morning update]

OK, so it turns out that the USB thing works for cameras, but not for floodlights, so I still have to run wire. Fortunately, I can pull it out of the same exterior junction box that the other one is using. I’m not going to bother with 12 gauge, though (despite the code requiring it on a twenty-amp circuit), because it really isn’t any kind of hazard with external wiring on stucco, so I’ll just use some of the 14 gauge Romex that I’ve got hundreds of feet of.

I should add that some of the fishing was successful. I’m now missing my two biggest koi. They were probably the easiest ones to catch. Fortunately, there were less than a year old, and I recently bought a couple others that will be growing (currently, they’re smaller than many of the goldfish).

29 thoughts on “New Pond Problem”

  1. I could suggest a trip to the local auto parts store and leave out some bowls of delightful green beverages for them, keep your cats in the house and allow no neighborhood dogs. But then I’d get labeled an evil f*ck for suggesting that, so I won’t.

    I guess I grew up in a different time and a different reality. My grandfather wore raccoons. I’d probably make a good Russian Redneck. Жизнь отстой, и тогда вы умираете

    1. I don’t know if refreshments purchased from the auto parts store are such a good idea, especially if you live close to neighbors whose dogs or cats may stop by.

      I think it carries over from English Common Law that you are liable if you harm a neighbor’s livestock, which yes, includes a cat or a dog, even if that animal comes on your property.

      My mom explained this to me a long while back when she told the news about her elderly friend, who I’ll call Emma, had her garden trampled when another farmer, who I’ll call Brewster, had a cow that got out. My understanding that when a cow “tramples” your garden, it is like a deer doing the same — it doesn’t just step on your plants, it may eat them, pretty much wrecking this season’s harvest.

      I asked innocently, “Why didn’t Emma just shoot Brewster’ cow?”

      “Oh no, Paul, a cow is livestock, you are liable if you shoot someone’s cow.”

      Mom then thought about this for second and spoke up, “I know what Emma could have done. Emma could have shot Brewster’s cow, but when she was called into court, she could have said to the judge, ‘Your Honor, I had no idea it was Brewster’s cow. It was dark, I thought it was Brewster, and I had to shoot him to defend my honor!'”

      Maybe I was a little young to understand all of the nuances about what I was just told, but Mom thought this was the funniest darned thing and couldn’t stop laughing at her own joke.

      1. I’ve told this one before, but back in the late 1800’s my home town’s largest land owner was a lawyer who did most people’s deeds, which is how he became the largest landowner. His farm eventually became our airport. Anyway, people back then would let their hogs run loose for part of the year to fatten up, and whenever he caught one on his property he’d stick it in his barn for a few weeks and then send them a bill for “room and board”.

        One day my great-grandmother got such a note, and not wanting to get rooked, she slipped into his barn after dark and shot her pig. Then she sent him a bill for it because he’d assumed responsibility for its care by sending her a bill for feeding it. The whole town laughed about it, and everybody was going to do the same thing to him, so he had to give up his little scam.

      2. Move the carcasses out into the street at night when nobody’s looking. Now it’s a town problem. Just don’t get caught. Правдоподобное отрицание

      1. 200,000 visitors donating $2 apiece buys a lot of pet food. You can use the Bentley to deliver it from the Pet Store.

    1. I’ve been looking for something like that, to deal with the woodpecker that attacks the wall outside our bedroom at 6am and laughs at my pitiful attempts to scare it away.

      That’s right; Woody Woodpecker is funny because IT’S TRUE.

  2. Get some Cayenne pepper powder, and make them some treats. Place it outside for them to eat. Get a bowl, and fill it with whisky. Place that next to the food bowl. After they have eaten the treats, they will then drink the whisky.

    Throw a net over the drunk raccoons, and take them to Beverly Hills. Drop them off there. They will like Beverly Hills so much, that they won’t go back to your house.

    1. If a person is serious about luring raccoons, I am told they really like dried cat food.

      I am also told that if you want to repel raccoons, they don’t like the smell of scented dryer sheets such as Bounce or other such laundry products.

      A person also has to be careful trapping raccoons that you don’t catch a skunk. There are some suggestions on the Internet on how to calm a skunk that you can release if from your trap.

  3. Dehydrated fruit, probably apples would be best. Or something that expands particularly well. Put a large quantity out and they’ll eat themselves to death. With the pond water right there you’ll have both necessary ingredients readily available for them. And unlike antifreeze (definitely the easiest and surest solution) you’ll have plausible deniability.

  4. Well on a more serious note how about ringing your pond with an ornamental fence they can’t climb over with concrete footings they can’t dig under? It’s also a good safety feature to keep out toddlers if the water is >1ft deep. I like the motion activated sprayer though. Probably very cost effective.

    1. It’s too small a pond to do that (only four feet across, without much clearance beyond), and it’s inside a fenced yard with a locking gate, so no toddlers around.

      1. I’m surprised California allows you to have a pond.

        For all the problems our raccoons cause, they have never used our pond to bathe. But then, they have the river, which is closer to their habitat…

        I’ve seen Youtube videos of attempts to use automatic sprayers to deter raccoons. They quickly learn to activate them, and use the spray to cool off! Still, maybe they’ll find a shower preferable to a bath….

        My wife and I use BB guns to chase them off the deck, followed by Texas bottle rockets fired into the woods after them. It works for a few days.

          1. What if you got the racoons hooked on coke and meth and then had one of the local TV stations do a story on the rabid, coke and meth fueled raccoons that are terrorizing entire neighborhoods?

            Or would LA just collectively yawn and put it on the list of ongoing disasters?

  5. I should add that some of the fishing was successful. I’m now missing my two biggest koi.
    Well now you have a problem, cause the raccoons are now associating your pond as a food source. If you get desperate, you can import some really cute little puffer fish (probably not legally tho)*.

    *The meat of some pufferfish, called Fugu in Japan, is commonly eaten in Japanese cuisine. Its consumption is a cause of a number of deaths annually, where the meat has not been correctly prepared. … Tetrodotoxin is fatal to humans, there is estimated to be enough toxin in an average pufferfish to kill thirty adults…

    You could claim aquaculture and exempt yourself that way, if you know a good Fugu chef. I doubt there are many living bad ones…

  6. Cover the pond with a chicken wire frame at night, and when you are not there. Remove it when you want to enjoy the pond. No need to harm the Trash Pandas.

  7. I must say I got a bad rap when I was younger and lived in a detached condo. One day the neighbor spotted me spraying my maple tree in the front yard for Japanese Beetles using a garden sprayer and hose. Nasty buggers. The year before I had made the mistake of using the traps. Then I heard about this chemical spray I could use, so I got busy at that task. The neighbor’s kid was riding his bike up and down the street next to me when she opened her front door and yelled at him to come inside. At first I didn’t think anything about it, but then it dawned on me. Sooooo. After I finished up, I walked across the yard to the neighbors house, knocked on the door with the solution all over me and dripping from my elbows. She opened the door like 1/4″ of an inch and said “Hello?”( like… I just saved my kid from certain chemical death, or cancer as an adult, WTH do you want?) Well I wanted to show her what I was spraying and that was dripping off me. Joy dish-washing detergent. I got a grateful glance. And BTW, it did seem to help. My tree survived the summer and next year they were gone.

  8. Rand, if you were a leftist, you’d already have the answer, and it’s so easy to do:

    Get a small sign you can stick in the ground, and write “Racoon-free zone! No racoons allowed!” on it.

    That’ll work every bit as well as the “Gun-free zone” signs, guaranteed.

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