do raccoons eat plants

Do Raccoons Eat Plants?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton
Last updated on:

Perhaps you just woke up to a beautiful morning and are planning to start your day, only for your mood to turn sour when you find your garden all messy and scattered. If you’ve been having a lot of issues with raccoons lately, they would probably be your number one suspect. But while these creatures are fond of rummaging through the trash can, the question remains, do raccoons eat plants? 

Here, we will shed more light on the various plants raccoons enjoy eating, and how to keep them away from plants and vegetables. Also, we will discuss in detail, how to tell if raccoons are responsible for eating your plants, so read on.

Do Raccoons Eat Plants?

Yes, raccoons eat plants. As omnivores, they enjoy both plant and animal food. Raccoons are not picky eaters, so they feed on a lot of things humans and pets eat and steer clear of foods they dislike. 

Raccoons eat almost all kinds of fruits and vegetable plants. They love tree fruits, peas, melon, potatoes, grapes, corn, tomatoes, berries, and pretty much anything sweet and tasty. However, they do not like spicy plants like onion, garlic, and chili. Since these spicy crops are not the ideal kind to plant in your garden, there is a high chance you will attract these animals with the basic food crops.

How To Know If Raccoons Are Raiding Your Plants

If your garden or potted plants grew messy overnight, then you would probably conclude that critters are attacking your plants. But if this is happening to you for the first time, then you should know that there’s a fifty-fifty chance that raccoons are the culprits. Raccoons are fond of rummaging through gardens in search of fruits, grubs, worms, and other insects and they do this so shabbily. 

You will get clear proof of raccoon damage if you spot these details:

  • Dug holes in the soil.
  • Four close sets of paw prints on the ground.
  • Half-eaten vegetables.
  • Empty bird feeders (if any)
  • Clustered poop.
  • Scattered trash can.

Raccoons are unforgiving, habitual foragers. Therefore, they will ruin your plants over and over again until there is nothing left for them to source for. This is why animal experts like A.H David of Pest Control Weekly advise that you implement damage control quickly.

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How To Keep Raccoons Away From Your Plants?

According to animal experts at the Humane Society of the United States, raccoons feast on crops when they are due for harvesting. This is a clear indication that these nocturnal animals have an exquisite palate and this can cost you your plants if it’s not taken care of promptly. Therefore, the minute you spot damage to your potted plants, and you have confirmed that raccoons are responsible, then you need to take action quickly. Here’s how to keep raccoons away from your plants.

Install Motion Sensors

Although they are messy, raccoons are intelligent creatures. That said, they can be on alert and run away when they think humans are nearby. So, you can use motion sensors like lights, alarms, and sprinklers to chase them away from your plants.

Plant crops that Raccoons Don’t Like

In an article written by Mara Dolph and published by SFGATE, you can get rid of raccoons by growing plants that they don’t like. These include plants that are prickly like pumpkin, and cucumber; spicy plants like habanero chilies; and plants that smell bad like peppermint and garlic.

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Disrupt Their Sense of Smell

Use homemade repellents like baby powder, blood meal, or pepper mixtures to deter the raccoons. You can try soaking rags in ammonia and placing them around your plants to keep them at bay.

Use a Good Fence

Raccoons are agile creatures but they can be stopped by a good fencing technique. Consumer Horticulture Specialist, Dan Gill encourages you to cage the plants, especially tomato plants. All you need to do is build a small protective barrier with chicken wire or barbed wire that can still accommodate the plant. If you would like to go the extra mile, you can set up an electric fence instead. Experts at the Humane Society suggest that you set up a single strand of this electrical wiring. But before that, you need to check your local and state laws to be sure they support this kind of measure.

In Conclusion

Raccoons are messy food foragers and things can get out of hand if your plants become their primary target every night. So, to ensure that your plants don’t suffer too much damage, it is necessary to act fast and smart. First of all, you must confirm that the raccoons are the main culprits, then you can proceed with a prevention plan to control the situation.

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