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Why Raccoons Dig Plants and How to Prevent It

Raccoons abound in rural, suburban, and urban areas. They build caves in tree holes, rocky areas, and artificial structures that provide easily accessible shelter, such as attics and garages.


Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores that spend a lot of time searching for food. When they scavenge, they often move trash cans, rummage through trash cans, break up compost piles, open gardens, and rummage through potted plants. As nocturnal animals, raccoons use protection from the night and cause damage while they sleep. If it gets out of hand, you can count on experts that provides raccoon removal services.


Why Raccoons Dig

As omnivores, raccoons eat a large amount of food, from plants to insects, from worms to small animals. Potted plants are a food source in their own right, but they are also home to other attractions for raccoons. Animals such as nudibranchs, slugs, insects, birds, amphibians, or small mammals that hang in or around pots leave smells that raccoons find attractive, as raccoons generally eat all of these animals. Additionally, fertilizers for potted plants often contain ingredients such as bone meal and fish emulsion, the scents of which attract raccoons.


Preventing Raccoons from Digging Plants

Eliminating simple food sources will help prevent raccoon infestations. Surround gardens and potted plants with chain-link fencing and secure food sources like trash cans and compost heaps with lockable lids. 


Placing mesh screens over openings for crawl spaces, attics, garages, and covered spaces under porches and decks will prevent raccoons from entering these areas and building burrows.


Closing garage doors when not in use and securing windows and vents in attics will also help prevent raccoons from nesting in the house. Keep in mind that when raccoons dig under fences, do so safely in the ground to deter raccoons entirely.


Be careful when trying to catch and release raccoons far from home or when trying to repel them with flashlights, squirt guns, or noise. When raccoons are trapped or threatened, they become aggressive and can attack.


As nocturnal animals, raccoons spend the day sleeping and the afternoon and night in search of food. If possible, the easiest way to prevent raccoons from digging up potted plants is to bring the plants in at night when the raccoons are active.

If you successfully manage raccoons’ presence and still have your potted plants dug up for something, it may be other common animals such as squirrels, chipmunks, deer, woodchucks, or mice. The most common grave animals, dogs, live in large numbers in all sectors of the human population, both as pets and as strays.