3 handy hints for keeping your campsite raccoon-free

October 9, 2014

There's nothing more Canadian than going camping in the great outdoors. And what naturally goes with camping? Raccoons looking for a handout. Want to keep your campsite raccoon-free? Here are three indispensable tips on how to outsmart these bold campground bandits.

3 handy hints for keeping your campsite raccoon-free

1. Make your campsite unappealing

The best way to get rid of raccoons is to not have them show up in the first place. Although they appear tame, raccoons are still wild creatures. To help make your campsite unappealing for these crafty critters:

  • Wrap all your food in plastic wrap and store it securely in a closed cooler, which should be locked in your vehicle at the end of the night. To date, raccoons haven’t figured out how to use coat hangers to unlock car doors (but give them time).
  • If you’re camping without a car, use a bungee cord to hang garbage bags and food from a tree. You could also string a rope between two trees to use as a clothesline by day and to tie bags of food off of at night. (Keep your smartphone handy to record the raccoons trying to walk the tightrope and enjoy watching the video go viral!)

2. Create a smelly barrier

Raccoons have an acute sense of smell and really hate the scent of chilli pepper.

  • Try sprinkling chilli pepper around the perimeter of your camping area and repeat every two days or after it rains.
  • Raccoons also hate loud, awful noises, so if they break through the spicy perimeter, try clapping, yelling or singing aloud.

3. Change your toiletries and your habits

Not only do raccoons like the smell of your snacks, they love your scented hygiene products.

  • Leave the Eau-d’anything at home and go au naturel. (Bonus, your neighbours will thank you.)

As well, don’t brush your teeth and spit out the toothpaste in the bushes around your campsite.

  • Although not using a sink is a camping perk, that fresh minty smell may attract raccoons.

Ditto with pouring out bacon grease or tossing food scraps into the woods.

  • Food scraps left on the ground are an invitation for raccoons (and potentially other animals, such as bears) to visit your campsite.
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