Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Impregnable? I think not.

The Ottawa Citizen today had a story about how raccoons have figured out a way of getting into the new green bins issued to us at the beginning of the year, to inaugurate our Green Box program.

I was skeptical of the program, but I've become a believer. By putting all our food scraps into the green bin, we've reduced our regular garbage to just one can per week, which is half as much as we used to put out. Furthermore, the garbage can is very lightweight now - all that goes into it is pretty much plastic and a little foil. All the heavy stuff is in the green bin.

Now that it's summer, I collect the food waste and keep it in the deepfreeze until garbage day - we have room in the freezer, and I don't like things ripening in the sun and getting smelly, even though the bins are pretty airtight. In the winter I put bags of garbage right into the bin, though, and one day when I moved it I noticed tiny green plastic shavings on the ground. When I looked at the edge of the bin, sure enough I found tiny little teeth marks, so I knew a raccoon had been investigating.

Well, one reporter in town was troubled with a superbrain raccoon, who figured out how to crack the security system of the green bin. Finally, he secretly recorded the raccoon to see how it was done, and this is the result. I love how the raccoon looks surprised when his trick works, then has to figure out how to get the goodies in the bin without letting the lid fall back down on him. His solution was simple and efficient: shove the whole bin right off the porch. At the end, you can't see anything anymore - pushing the bin pushed the top almost out of camera range - but you can hear the raccoon snacking on the garbage!


Blogger Tregonsee said...

Impressive. One of his local kin has been my nemesis in keeping a galvanized garbage can full of bird seed secure. I have progressed from a weight, to a bungy cord, to a stronger bungy cord, to a strap with friction buckle, to finally a strap with a locking ratchet. So far, so good. Just in case, the next step will be a long threaded rod horizontally through the lid and top of the can, with locking nuts.

12:25 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Keeping the can upright seems to tilt the odds in your favour against the raccoon. I think if they can stand on the ground and work on the lid, they have a lot more leverage; if you have a way of attaching the can to a wall or inside an inclosure so it can't fall down, they'd have more trouble supporting themselves and also using their hands and weight to budge the lid.

4:59 pm  
Blogger John Cowart said...

Hi Dr. Mabuse,
Just visiting your site through a link provided by my e-friend Carol T in her comment on my blog post this morning.

My wife and I live at the other end of the world from you, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Over our Memorial Day weekend a raccoon gnawed a hole in the roof of an outside office and has been chewing on some valuable books I had stored in there. My combat with the evil raccoon provided material for several blog postings.

Also, in scanning down your previous entries, I especially enjoyed reading the one about the duck in your birdbath. A couple of years ago I wrote a long duck saga called "The Lord God Almighty and His Duck Matilda" in my blog archives.

Anyhow, I wanted to say Hi and let you know that although many miles apart, we must live in parallel universes.

John Cowart

12:18 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Thanks for the nice comment, John! We may be in different countries, but we are all linked by our endless struggle against the fiendish wiles of the raccoon. I'm sure God gave them those cute bandit mask faces because otherwise humans would be so infuriated we'd have eradicated them from the Earth thousands of years ago!

4:21 pm  
Blogger Craig Goodrich said...

Down in Alabama the good ol' boys take the distributor cap in at night to keep the raccoons from hotwiring the truck and joyriding.

I put a combination lock on my garbage can and the next night had to chase off a raccoon who was wearing a stethescope...

[Sorry to see you're winding down the blog, Dr. M. Godspeed, I'll miss you.]

3:40 pm  

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