Last Updated on March 24, 2022 by Cristina
There’s no limit to what raccoons will roam for food, so you might want to look for ways to raccoon proof bird feeder. Waking up to a trashed garbage can is bad, but facing a damaged and empty hummingbird feeder is infuriating. It chases off your hummingbirds and burns a hole in your pocket – if it keeps happening.
Raccoons have a special role in the food system, and hurting this animal is not an option. Luckily there are several ways that you can raccoon proof bird feeder and keep everyone alive and healthy.
Let’s dive into the raccoon trouble!
Table of Contents
Raccoons And Hummingbird Feeders
Raccoons are intelligent and nosy animals that easily find their way to your garden, especially at night. They have a powerful sense of smell that helps them find food nearby. And they can smell nectar too, so you need to raccoon proof bird feeder.
Raccoons are nocturnal animals, which means they will go for your hummingbird feeder after dark. They don’t attack or eat hummingbirds, and they rarely meet them. Hummingbirds go to rest as soon as dusk approaches, and raccoons rarely make an appearance during the day.
Raccoons Role In The Food Chain
It’s important to know that raccoons, like all other animals, hold a specific role in the food chain. They usually pick wooded areas with plenty of vegetation. Raccoons might move into abandoned burrows or tree cavities. They feed on snakes, rodents, shallow water fish.
Chasing them away or killing them leads to an overpopulation of certain species, which disturbs the ecosystem.But what do when raccoons really get on your nerve? Here’s how to raccoon proof bird feeder, so they look for food elsewhere.
Can Raccoons Climb Poles
Before looking for a solution, pay attention to where your hummingbird feeder is positioned. Raccoons can easily climb 20 to 30 feet and grasp a 4-inch diameter pole.
Having your feeder hanging from pipes makes it easy to reach. Raccoons are skilled and smart, so you need to consider all their capabilities before installing obstacles. Ready to raccoon proof bird feeder? Let’s jump to our suggestions.
How To Keep Raccoons Away From Bird Feeders
1. Remove Stepping Stones
Do raccoons attack hummingbird feeders at a height over 30 feet? Raccoons are excellent climbers, but they rarely climb over 30 feet. However, they’re more tempted to attack a feeder if there are stepping stones that they can use to jump off. Think of nearby fences, tree branches, or shelves.
Cut any branches that can lead the raccoon to your feeder, or move the feeder to a more inaccessible spot.
2. Cage Your Feeder
The most logical step to raccoon proof bird feeder is to buy one they can’t use. But raccoons are bigger than hummingbirds and have skilled claws; what type of feeder will stop them? That’s your leading point.
Raccoons are big, so they can’t fit through narrow openings, like cage bars. You can also look into weight-limited feeders. Hummingbirds weigh a few grams and can fit anywhere, while raccoons are heavy and thick.
3. Feed The Raccoons
If you don’t mind letting the raccoons into your garden or can’t be bothered to raccoon proof bird feeder, you can feed them separately.
Place their food on the opposite side of the hummingbird feeders. When the raccoons are fed, they’re less likely to climb to the hummingbird feeders and destroy them. You can give them dog or cat food, nuts, fruits, poultry, and fish.
Read more aboutWhat Do You Call A Group Of Hummingbirds?
4. Add Baffles To The Poles
Raccoons are good climbers, but they won’t manage past a baffle. Can raccoons climb PVC pipe? PVC has less traction than wood, but don’t underestimate the might raccoon claws. As long as your pole or pipe is 4 inches or less wide, they will climb it.
Adding metal wire to the pole is one way to stop them. But baffles are even more effective. There’s a wide choice of metal baffles that can easily blend in with your pole or post.
5. Spice Up The Food
Hummingbirds have no sense of smell, but raccoons can smell food from 20 feet and follow the trace. Their strong sense of smell, along with their excellent night vision, helps them navigate in the night.
However, they’re not immune to all smells. This is their weak point which doesn’t affect hummingbirds. You can use garlic and peppermint near the feeder to repel the raccoons.
But the top product to use is spicy hot pepper flakes. Hot peppers have an ingredient called capsicum that affects our taste buds. Raccoons are mammals just like us, so they feel the same effect. But unlike some humans, raccoons don’t like spicy food.
It interferes with their senses and deters them away. The smell of peppermint and garlic disappears easily, so it can be a hassle to add new servings every day. But dried chilly flakes are easy to use to raccoon proof bird feeder. Plus, even if the hummingbirds ingest some, they’ll be fine.
Check OutWhy Do Hummingbirds Stop Coming To Feeders?
What Not To Do To Repel Raccoons
- Don’t kill or hurt raccoons in any way. You can set a humane trap and release them further away from your house.
- We don’t suggest feeding the raccoons if you live in a densely populated area. They become acclimated and more prone to accidents. They can even show signs of aggression.
- If you know you have raccoons nearby, raccoon proof bird feeder before they reach it.
- Don’t feed them onions, chocolate, coffee, candy, or cocoa as they are toxic to the raccoons. Macadamia nuts and raisins are also a no-go.
Bottom Line: How To Raccoon Proof Bird Feeder
Raccoons, well known as trash pandas, are not a predator of hummingbirds. But they will inevitably go for the sweet nectar you provide for the hummers. So investing in a nice feeder only to see it broken by a raccoon is not a good situation.
Raccoon proof bird feeder before this happens by adding spice around the feeder, installing baffles, or placing the feeder on a tall, hard-to-reach spot.
Can raccoons climb PVC pipe?
Raccoons have a hard time climbing sleek pipes with no traction. Unlike trees, PVC pipes don't have any grip. However, the raccoon's claws are strong, so they might manage to climb in some cases.
Do raccoons attack hummingbird feeders?
Yes, raccoons will attack hummingbird feeders and eat the nectar. If they're hungry, they will find a way to the feeder.
Meri is a passionate wildlife enthusiast with a special interest in hummingbirds. She loves to observe and learn about the different species of hummingbirds from around the world. After graduating from college with a degree in biology, Meri decided to pursue her dream of writing about hummingbirds and the importance of their conservation. She has since published several articles on the subject in various magazines and online publications. Her articles focus on the importance of habitat preservation, how hummingbirds contribute to ecosystem balance, and the unique behaviors of various species. When she’s not writing, Meri enjoys bird watching and taking pictures of her feathered friends. She also volunteers at her local wildlife center, helping to protect and rehabilitate injured or orphaned hummingbirds. Meri’s passion for hummingbirds drives her to spread awareness and promote their conservation, so that future generations will be able to enjoy their beauty.
The best way to keep squirrels and raccoons off feeders is to use a pole or shepherds hook with pole baffles installed or hanging baffles installed above the feeder. We DO NOT recommend adding grease, oil or petroleum jelly to a pole or hanger to make it too slippery for squirrels and raccoons to climb.What keeps raccoons away from bird feeders? ›
Hang 'em high—Hang your bird feeders on poles a half inch or less in diameter, securing the pole firmly so it cannot be knocked over. Raccoons cannot climb such a thin pole and they won't be able to tip it over to access the seed. High-wire act—Suspend your bird feeders from a wire extending between two trees.What repels raccoons but not birds? ›
Mammals such as raccoons are sensitive to spices, especially hot spices. You can purchase suet and seed already prepared with hot pepper. Or, you can make your own simply by adding hot pepper oil to your seeds. Bird are not affected by spices like raccoons are, so this could be one of the simplest deterrents.Do raccoons drink out of hummingbird feeders? ›
Bats, squirrels, raccoons and bears are usually the culprits that drink hummingbird nectar, although usually bears will be more conspicuous, as they are noisy and will typically destroy the feeder.What do raccoons absolutely hate? ›
Hot pepper, garlic, peppermint oil, onion, and Epsom salt are a few scents used to repel raccoons. Read on to see how you can discourage these pests from entering your house and make sure that they're out for good.What is an easy raccoon deterrent? ›
Scatter or spray pepper
Spices like cinnamon, black pepper or cayenne pepper bother a raccoon's sense of smell, forcing it to relocate to a more livable area. By mixing cayenne pepper and onion in boiling water, you can create a natural raccoon repellant. You can add hot sauce to the mixture, as well.
Plants That Are Prickly
Raccoons have sensitive feet. Because of this, they stay clear of walking on prickly plants. They will certainly avoid squashes like pumpkin. They will also avoid oriental poppies, cucumbers, “Kentucky Wonder” pole beans, and globe thistle.
Well, did you know that birds don't mind spicy seeds? They can't taste the difference. Guess what can? Sprinkle some cayenne pepper or a similar spice onto your birdseed before you put it out. Birds will eat the seed just fine, but squirrels will smell the heat and stay well clear.What scares raccoons the most? ›
Raccoons aren't fond of spicy smells, so a cayenne pepper spray can be an easy and effective raccoon repellent. Mix a small bottle of cayenne pepper with a bottle of hot sauce, then add both to a gallon of water and shake well. Spray this pepper solution around your plants, bushes, and other garden greenery.What animal are raccoons most afraid of? ›
Raccoons stay away from animals that are their natural predators. These natural predators include; bobcats, coyotes, the great horned owl. You may have picked up a pattern here- raccoon predators are typically large.
Soap the yard
The ingredients in Irish Spring soap are generally effective in keeping raccoons and other small mammals out of your yard.
Small hawks such as the northern kestrel and the sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawk are the species most likely to catch a hummingbird.How do you make a raccoon proof bird feeder? ›
Adding a steel raccoon baffle to your feeder pole is the most effective way to stop raccoons. Squirrel baffles won't do the job. Raccoon baffles are much larger, a full 10" in diameter and about 2 feet tall, preventing the crafty critters from reaching over or "hugging" their way over it.Should I bring my hummingbird feeder in at night? ›
2) Bring your feeder in at night to prevent freezing. Hummingbirds do not feed at night. They will feed heavily at your feeders at dusk and then go into thick bushes, like cedar hedges or junipers, to sleep. While sleeping they enter a mini-hibernation or torpor where their bodies' metabolism approaches zero.Will a porch light keep raccoons away? ›
Although a porch light is helpful, it will not keep every raccoon away because the light source is too high. Motion-activated floodlights are lower and will only activate after a raccoon triggers the sensors. If you place the lights in key locations around your property, they will scare the raccoons away.How do you make homemade raccoon repellent? ›
One homemade “taste” raccoon repellent recipe uses 1 bottle hot pepper sauce or 1 bottle cayenne pepper powder and mixes it with a gallon of water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. The soap helps the liquid to adhere to what you're spraying, and should be sprayed on the entire area that you would like to protect.Does vinegar keep raccoons away? ›
Vinegar will deter raccoons from returning time and again to your home and yard since they hate the smell. Like if you were using peppermint oil to deter them, you can soak a number of rags with vinegar then put them in key access points around your home and yard to keep them away, albeit until the smell fades.Does coffee grounds keep raccoon away? ›
Throwing coffee grounds and epsom salts on the lawn can help keep raccoons away, along with the strong scents of vinegar and ammonia.What kind of vinegar repels raccoons? ›
Raccoons hate the smell of apple cider vinegar (and so do some humans!). Soak a cloth in apple cider vinegar and place it in an aerated container near the den. The smell will deter them!What noise scares raccoons away? ›
Wind Chimes: The random clanging will scare raccoons away, but these intelligent animals will ignore the chimes unless you change the location and type of chimes regularly. Radio Conversations: Having a radio talk show on will keep raccoons away-especially if your home is in a rural area of Worcester.
The raccoon baffle is a cylinder baffle with its 24 inch long and 8 inch wide diameter. The baffle stops the raccoon, squirrel, and chipmunk from climbing up 1 inch diameter poles to the bird feeders and bird houses. This Cylinder Raccoon baffle can also be used on 0.5 inch up to 1.375 inch diameter bird feeder poles.How do you make homemade racoon proof garbage? ›
To keep raccoons out of your garbage, stretch a rubber bungee cord tight from one handle over the top of the lid to the other handle. Hang a string of blinking Christmas lights around trash cans and leave them on all night to act as a raccoon deterrent.Will aluminum foil keep raccoons away? ›
Wild animals are suspicious of moving things. From string, or a clothing line strung across a fence, hang balloons, strips of cloth or aluminum foil. These will frighten the animals and encourage them to leave the area. Remove or cover all possible food sources.What sounds do raccoons hate the most? ›
- Pots and Pans. If you hit pots and pans together, or strike them with a wooden spoon, they make a loud clanging noise that is likely to scare off any wild animals in your yard, including raccoons. ...
- Shouting. ...
- Radio. ...
- Wind Chimes. ...
- Motion Activated Noise Systems.
Squash, cucumbers, and oriental poppies are some of the plants that repel raccoons because they are thorny. Raccoons can walk on almost everything except for these spiky plants. Raccoons also dislike spicy foods. Planting spicy-fruiting herbs like Chilies and Black Pepper can deter them from eating your fruits.How much cayenne pepper should I put in my bird seed? ›
Most online recipes for pepper in bird seed suggest about 3 tablespoons of cayenne pepper per pound of seed. You can use more, if you like.Can I sprinkle cayenne pepper on my lawn? ›
Cayenne pepper is a spice with a strong smell, and it can be used on your lawn without harming the grass or plants growing there. You can use its sprinkled or spray form to repel rodents, dogs, insects, etc., away.Does Pine Sol keep raccoons away? ›
Homemade Raccoon Repellents that can be used
The soaked pieces of cloth can be placed around the house, such as near food sources or around garbage cans and bins. Pine Sol can also be used in place of ammonia. Vinegar - Vinegar cider can be applied or soaked onto pieces of cloth or rags.
One of the most common wild predators of other raccoons is large cats. In North America, this includes mountain lions, pumas, and bobcats. These powerful predators hunt alone and use their stealth and speed to take down their prey.What attracts racoons the most? ›
Main Attraction: Raccoons are attracted to sweet foods, especially ripe fruit such as apples, peaches, and plums. They also feed on apricots, cherries, and mulberries.
Epsom salt is a double benefit because not only will it deter raccoons, but it is an excellent fertilizer. Sprinkle some Epsom salt around places like garbage cans and gardens to keep them out.Does Windex keep raccoons away? ›
Before you toss the garbage bag into the garbage, spray it with Windex, or ammonia. It deters the little guys big time.What does Epsom salt do to raccoons? ›
A few tablespoons of Epsom salt spread around your garbage cans will deter the raccoons, who don't like the taste of the stuff. Don't forget to reapply after it rains.Why are the 2 hummingbirds fighting over feeder? ›
Hummingbirds are aggressive for a good reason—they can't afford to share flowers during times when not many blossoms are available because they may have to wander a long way after nectar is depleted. This aggression is so deeply ingrained that they just can't figure out that feeders are different.Why do I keep finding dead hummingbirds? ›
Hummingbirds die in many ways, including being taken by predators (particularly free-roaming domestic cats), flying into stationary objects (especially windows and buildings), getting hit by vehicles, encountering problems during migration or bad weather, succumbing to disease or other physical maladies, or just dying ...How long do hummingbirds live? ›
The average life span of a hummingbird is five years, but they have been known to live for more than 10 years. As with any creature, there are threats to the hummingbirds' survival…What is the best material to put under a bird feeder? ›
Add a 3-4-inch layer of mulch below the feeders, then turn the mulch to bury debris where it can decompose out of sight. Replace the mulch seasonally to dispose of remaining debris. Allow feeders to remain empty for a day or two to encourage ground-feeding birds to pick up spilled seed and be their own cleanup crew.What should you not put in a bird feeder? ›
milo, red millet, oats, rice and wheat). Not only will these seeds be discarded by wild birds, but they will also absorb moisture—promoting spoilage and fungal growth while attracting rodents and other species. Different bird species prefer different seed types, try to provide a variety whenever possible.What bird feeders do not attract rodents? ›
Use the Right Type of Feeder
Other feeders that work well to prevent rats from eating birdseed are metal or glass feeders. Metal and glass feeders tend to be more rodent-proof. Squirrels and rats cannot chew through them as easily as with plastic. Avoid bird feeders with platform trays.
All of this being said, generally, the best time to catch hummingbirds eating is early in the morning or in the evening before they go to sleep for the night. Essentially, these are the times when they “tank up” to replenish their energy stores, so you're more likely to notice them because they'll be eating for longer.
So, in this example, you would mix ½ cup of sugar (1 part) with 2 cups of water (4 parts).What time do hummingbirds go to sleep? ›
Hummingbirds sleep at night to regulate their internal system and conserve energy for the following day's activities. Hummingbirds usually sleep from dusk till dawn, about 12 hours. But if they are very tired they can sleep for up to 18 hours!Do wind chimes keep raccoons away? ›
You can get rid of raccoons by taking advantage of a raccoon's fear of sharp, loud sounds. Sounds that scare raccoons include the following: Wind Chimes: The random clanging will scare raccoons away, but these intelligent animals will ignore the chimes unless you change the location and type of chimes regularly.What plant deters raccoons? ›
Squash, cucumbers, and oriental poppies are some of the plants that repel raccoons because they are thorny. Raccoons can walk on almost everything except for these spiky plants. Raccoons also dislike spicy foods. Planting spicy-fruiting herbs like Chilies and Black Pepper can deter them from eating your fruits.How do I keep raccoons off my shepherd's hook? ›
Solution Clips fit over the end of shepherds hooks to stop raccoons from lifting feeders off the hook. Utility Chains can help keep feeders hanging securely from tree limbs. We also have feeders (suet, peanut, fruit, etc) which can be securely screwed to a tree or fence.Can you make your own baffles? ›
If you want sturdy baffles that create deep ventilation channels, you'll probably have to make your own. Site-built ventilation baffles can be made from a variety of materials, including rigid foam. Other options include thin plywood or fiberboard sheathing.What chases raccoons away? ›
- Use light and sound. Raccoons are usually entering your yard to find a safe, warm and quiet place to nest. ...
- Remove the Vegetation. ...
- Plant cucumber. ...
- Use ammonia or vinegar to steer them away. ...
- Use garlic or cayenne pepper to make a repellant. ...
- Use predator urine. ...
- Close any access points. ...
- Cover water Sources.
Throwing coffee grounds and epsom salts on the lawn can help keep raccoons away, along with the strong scents of vinegar and ammonia.Does Epsom salt keep raccoons away? ›
Epsom salt is a double benefit because not only will it deter raccoons, but it is an excellent fertilizer. Sprinkle some Epsom salt around places like garbage cans and gardens to keep them out.What is a racoon deterrent home remedy? ›
Garlic acts as an effective raccoon repellent home remedy. Crush garlic and chili powder together and spread it around the boundaries of your attic. You may even sprinkle it around the garden randomly near the crops. They will get irritated by the smell of garlic and leave your garden.