Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Trash talking
Raccoons find Green Bins are meals on wheels
By VENA EATON, Toronto Sun


It's not just the air pollution that has residents plugging their noses. The City of Toronto's green bin program is also getting a rancid review from homeowners during our most recent record-breaking heatwave.


Yet, the city's population of raccoons is finding the biodegradable contents of the green bins a malodorous magnet. The nocturnal scavengers are pushing, pulling and rolling the receptables down driveways in hopes of popping the lid on the movable feasts. And with the looming threat of a garbage strike, things could get even smellier for city dwellers battling the masked marauders.


Intrepid homeowners are using everything from bungee cords to nylon stockings to keep raccoons from snacking at their curb, yet the animals thrive in the city and weigh between 25-30 lbs., on average, according to


Fed up with the daily clean up from their nighttime visitors, Warren Walker and Jim Millar, developed a device to keep these crafty critters from dining at their doorstep.


Raccoon Check: Garbage Security System neatly attaches to the lid of the green bin (or standard garbage can) and snaps shut with a safety side release buckle. The nifty system is simple, safe and easy to use and costs under $8 at Home Hardware stores across the GTA.


"It's so satisying to see the green bin laying on its side in the morning knowing I don't have to clean up what would have been a disgusting raccoon-made mess," says south Riverdale resident Mary Ann Sievert.


Another way to keep raccoons from setting up house in your backyard is by removing their food sources: Keep garbage bins locked in the garage until the morning of pick-up and reduce access to the underside of decks where they will burrow and nest, suggests Ohio State University Extension's website. Raccoons only need an opening of 2.5x4-inches to gain entry.


Keep garbage bins tied in an upright position or drive a metal or wooden stake through the carrying handle to prevent the rascally mammals from tipping the can over.


The Toronto Humane Society has plenty of other tips for making your home inhospitable to raccoons: "Raccoons are intelligent and agile but they are not stronger than people," notes "If you cannot pull the cover of the can away bare-handed, you will have defeated any effort made by a raccoon to gain entry."


And remember, it's "illegal to locate and trap wildlife or place poison in such a way that it is accessible to animals," notes the website.


The Humane Society's best advice is to reduce the amount of food and shelter made available and the population will decline.

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