There are few things that are more relaxing than spending a few days in the great outdoors, soaking up the sights and sounds that nature has to offer. However, Raccoons pillaging through your campsite are not one of them! In this article we’ll give you a few tips on how to keep raccoons away from your campsite, so that you can enjoy the camping trip you so deserve.
One of the most important tips we will be covering is food storage. While raccoons may look cute and docile, they are very clever when it comes to food and can quickly ruin your camping trip by ravaging and destroying your valuables. The best way to keep raccoons out of your campsite is to ensure all your food is stored away properly.
Raccoons are often harmless towards humans but some can have rabies and if provoked, have been know to be aggressive. Raccoons are unwelcome guests at campsites and luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep them away.
Here are 7 great tips to make your campsite unappealing to keep the raccoons away from your campsite.
How to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Campsite
Secure Your Food
So what’s the best way to get rid of them? By making sure they don’t show up at all!
Make sure your food is locked away. You can purchase a lockable cooler or a bear canister which is essentially a food locker. This will make it harder for the raccoons to access your food.
Even with a lockable cooler or bear canister, you should always put the food in the trunk of your car, or in your RV/travel trailer. This will ensure that they have zero access to it.
If you have ventured off the beaten path to where cars can’t go, then it’s a good idea to keep your food at least 7 feet above ground. Never keep food inside of your tent! I can’t stress this enough! The last thing you want is a hungry raccoon, or worse, a bear, waking you up in the middle of the night looking for food. This is not only aggravating, but could also be extremely dangerous!
Don’t Burn Your Trash
I’m not sure that this is even legal in most campgrounds, but don’t burn your trash! Besides, taking a chance on starting a forest fire, you’re also going to attract every animal withing a few miles, including raccoons.
Burning your trash leaves a lingering smell that raccoons and other animals (some not very nice) just can’t resist. The smell can also end up lingering on your clothes and they might try to get into your tent to investigate. Make sure to properly dispose of it.
Dispose of Your Trash The Right Way
Make sure all of your trash is disposed of and don’t leave any food behind. Despite being just small scraps, raccoons can smell it and will show up to eat it. They will then search around your campsite for more food and can become destructive if they think there is food hiding somewhere. Toss every scrap into a heavy duty garbage bag and take it to the campsite garbage bins. Any scraps left at your campsite is an invitation to these critters. If your campsite does not provide garbage bins, you can double bag it and do the same as you would with food. Either lock it in the trunk of your car or tie it at least 7 feet above ground.
Speaking of trash, if possible, never pitch your tent next to trash cans. These things are critter magnets, not to mention, attracts all kinds of bugs.
Leave Your Scented Toiletries Behind
You might be thinking no raccoon will be interested in gulping down your fruity scented shampoo but the scent will attract them. In fact, anything with a fragrance will bring them to your campsite. Make sure to leave behind scented toiletries at home. If you need to bring some, make sure they are unscented. Also make sure that any toiletries are also packed away like your food.
Do not leave them in your tent! Something else to that I learned after doing research on how to keep raccoons away from your campsite, is that when brushing your teeth, don’t just spit into the bushes. Believe it or not, the minty smell will also attract raccoons to your campsite.
Create a Barrier
As I’m sure you know by now, raccoons have a great sense of smell and really hate the smell of chili pepper. Try sprinkling the chili pepper around your campsite.
If you don’t have any chili pepper, you can also try cinnamon, ground pepper, or dried hot pepper but do note that chili is the best deterrent if you really want to keep raccoons away from your campsite.You’ll need to reapply the barrier if it rains since it will wash away the scent. I would also recommend reapplying every other day to make the barrier as effective as possible. They’ve passed your barrier! Now what?If a raccoon manages to get through your barrier, there’s still more steps you can take to get rid of them. Racoons, like many other nightly animals, do not like light. Keeping your campsite well lit will deter them from invading your space. If you see one, make sure to immediately shine your flashlight at them to scare them away.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Some Noise
Much like many other wild animals, raccoons do not like noise. The sound of you and your friends or family chatting should keep them away. If not, try clapping your hands or yelling if you spot one. This should scare the raccoons away from your campsite.
Something else you may want to consider, is leaving a radio playing throughout the night while you’re sleeping. Just keep the music down to a minimum! While the noise from the music will probably keep the raccoons away, your camping neighbors might not be too happy with you if the music is too loud.
Also, while some types of generators are quieter than others, they can still make enough noise to keep the coons away.
Never Approach a Raccoon
While they are generally harmless, they can attack if they feel threatened or if they have rabies.
If you notice one that appears sick or it appears more aggressive, please inform the ranger and let them deal with the racoon. Never try to deal with a racoon yourself if you suspect it has rabies and make sure to keep your canine away from them.
Escaping to the great outdoors, while exciting, does mean you may encounter a few critters hanging out at your campsite hoping for a tasty snack, namely, raccoons. “How to keep raccoons away from your campsite”, is a question that most campers have asked themselves at some point. It’s also a problem that most will have deal with eventually.
By taking certain precautions, you can keep these critters away from your campsite and keep them in their natural environment.
Now that you know all the tricks on how to keep raccoons away from your campsite, they’ll never ruin another camping trip again! You’ll sleep throughout the night knowing you and your campsite are secure.