Garden Fountain Attracting Raccoons?
Advice for the Home Gardener from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County
Help Desk Response: Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County. We are unable to locate any specific research which directly addresses your question about fountain height as a raccoon deterrence but have some general recommendations. We also know that raccoons are quite agile, strong, and industrious in the garden, especially where water features are present.
It is appropriate for you to deter raccoons from using your fountain as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that raccoons like to defecate in shallow water (and elsewhere as well) and their feces can contain eggs of the worm Baylisascaris Procyonis, which can infect humans and cause a neurological illness. The CDC recommends placing spikes at the bottom of the pool (e.g., nails in boards would work). Other possible deterrents are to install a fountain that has steep rather than sloping sides, dropping to a foot or more, and/or to cover the fountain with a heavy screen at night.
The University of California Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) recommends a number of steps for managing raccoon pests which include how to detect their presence, habitat modification, and exclusion. The overall recommendation is to ensure that you and your neighbors are not attracting them by providing them food or nesting dens. If the suggestions above don't work, excluding them from pools (or fountains) can also be accomplished by installing commercially available devices with one or two low-lying electric wires, 6 and 12 inches from the ground, around the pond or fountain, and activated only at night via a timer.
For additional information on raccoons in the garden, please see the UC Pest Note below:.
Thank you again for contacting us and please let us know if you have any additional questions.
Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (NP)
Note: The UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your gardening questions. Except for a few holidays, we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2d Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. We can also be reached via telephone: (925)646-6586, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/ MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog (http://ucanr.edu/blogs/CCMGBlog/)./span>