The Culprit

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

My friends and I stood on the roof the other night watching a pair of young raccoons climb around and perform all kinds of amazing acrobatics on the building next door. I kept reminding them that we needed to scare the raccoons off not encourage them since I am now positive these two are the culprits that have been gorging on my ripe tomatoes every night for the last week. I threw a hot pepper in the general direction of this one, thinking that would somehow deter it (?) Instead it started playing with the pepper, rolling onto its back and passing the pepper between its paws. Everyone thought that was very adorable and funny. I just kept thinking about my tomatoes. Sure enough, more were missing that next morning!

Screw those friends. There will not be any tomato sauce for them this year!

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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18 thoughts on “The Culprit

  1. The raccoons in my area apparently prefer stealing my corn, then rubbing it in by leaving the husks and chewed cobs all over my yard. Sigh. My tomatoes have been safe thus far.

  2. Joanna: That’s why I don’t grow corn anymore. Last time I did the squirrels got everything and completely tore apart the plants.

  3. my raccoons crush the snails and rinse them off in the birdbath before eating them, they used to do the same on the first step of my parents pool, they must be French

  4. my raccoons crush the snails and rinse them off in the birdbath before eating them, they used to do the same on the first step of my parents’ pool, they must be French

  5. Do you think they will expect you to throw them a pepper every night now to go with the tomatoes?

  6. Raccoons have been absolutely destroying my garden this year– pooping in the beds, digging up specific plants to toss around the yard, knocking over pots, moving my bamboo spout so that the pot emptied of water and destroyed the pump, and never leaving my poor 3-year-old waterlily alone til they killed the tuber. Jerks!

  7. Ok, you can pretty easily freeze me out of the tomato sauce bounty this year, but Davin might be a bit more of a challenge!! I’m sorry I couldn’t resist their cute waddles & gravity defying tricks.

  8. They are just funny little rascals! We have them all over Portland. Not so funny when they catch a chicken or eat pond fish, although I have not had that experience personally.

    This might be too complicated, but I think they make motion detector sprinklers – so they would get sprayed whenever they hop onto your patio.

  9. This year the Botanical Garden where I work has been inundated with critters- squirrels, raccoons, and cute baby skunks. There is an animal trapper I work with and one of his techniques is to put down a hot pepper concoction to deter the pest from returning. He has had good luck with making a paste out of the peppers and some sort of oil so that the irritant in the pepper sticks to the fur and bothers the animal just enough so that it knows the area is not one it wants to be in. So far it seems to be working.

  10. meg: Raccoons like to put their food in water first. I wish they’d go over to my community garden and eat the slugs.

    Elizabeth: I go back and forth on the pepper sprays because I have heard a lot of convincing evidence that the capsicum does a lot of harm to their eyes.

  11. That is one well fed little raccoon. You can tell by how healthy he looks. I had a psycho-mutant-squirrel that would eat my tomatoes. I got so fed up with it one day I caught him in my container I grabbed my broom and chesed him. He just ran up the tree well out of reach and watched me as he devoured yet another of my beautiful tomatoes. I love wildlife, I just prefer them not to be in my garden. Best of luck. Oh btw I absolutely love reading your blog.

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