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raccoon climbing fence

Can Raccoons Climb Wire Fences?

by Judy Knowler

Raccoons are among the least endangered animal species globally. According to data, there are about 5 to 10 million raccoons in North America, with the number rising.

Therefore, it is common to have a raccoon encounter within your property. These animals are known to be excellent climbers that may require property owners to reconsider their fencing and find ways to humanely prevent their access to the property.

Here’s what you need to know about raccoons, what makes them excellent climbers, and how to keep them at bay.

What Attracts Raccoons to a Property?

Like most animals, raccoons typically climb into a property for two main reasons: to search for food or to escape predators. Raccoons will climb trees to raid eggs from birds’ nests or to find fruit. They’ll also scale a fence to reach pet food or bird seed left in the yard.

Can Raccoons Climb Wire Fences?

Being excellent climbers, raccoons can easily scale most types of fences. They easily climb typical chain link and wood fences found in most residential areas. Apart from climbing, the University of Nebraska states that raccoons can squeeze under or through a fence and they can scale tall fences if they offer firm support through the climb.

What Makes Raccoons Excellent Climbers?

Raccoons are highly intelligent animals. They can find weaknesses and exploit them to scale up, even for well-built and secure fences. For instance, if the fence has a loose board or a gap between the boards, the raccoon will use these imperfections to make its way up the fence.

Most of the raccoon’s excellent climbing abilities come from its dexterous front paws. Their hands function similarly to human hands, with strong and long digits. Their sharp claws help them grab onto surfaces and maintain a solid grip as they climb. Their paws are also very flexible, rotating almost 180 degrees. This allows them to climb down trees and fences headfirst.

The raccoon’s intelligence also comes into play when dealing with humans. They often outsmart humans, finding clever ways to circumvent obstacles, steal food, escape traps, and break into trash cans. This makes them even more troublesome once they find a way onto the property.

They also have excellent memory, often remembering where to find food and adapting to changing environmental conditions. Therefore, they can thrive easily around humans.

Ways to Keep Raccoons Out of Your Property

Dealing with raccoons can be difficult. However, there are several things you can do to deter most of them from accessing your property. They include the following:

Seal Any Gaps in Your Fence

If a raccoon spots a weakness in your fence, it will exploit it to bypass it and climb into your property. Therefore, you should regularly inspect your fence for any weaknesses such as gaps or holes, to seal the weaknesses and reduce the chances of a raccoon scaling the fence.

A determined raccoon will wiggle through a gap as small as four inches wide. Ensure you’ve also removed weak spots, cracks, or loose boards that the raccoon can exploit.

Eliminate Food Sources

Fruit trees, gardens, unsealed trashcans, birdseed, outdoor pet food, grubs, and compost are examples of food sources that can entice a raccoon into your property. Eliminating these food sources or securing them away often deals with a perennial trespassing case.

You should also eliminate water sources such as pet water bowls, bird fountains, and leaking outdoor spigots.

Eliminate Shelters and Hiding Spots

Raccoons will also scale a fence to find safety against predators. Often, hiding spots in your property can be a garden or nesting site. Piles of garden debris, wood, rocks, or other objects can be suitable raccoon hiding spots. The more open and clear your property is, the fewer hiding spots the raccoon will have.

Use Proper Fencing

Fencing is the most effective way to deal with unwanted raccoons. Wire fencing can deter raccoons as well as other perennial climbers. Fencing such as Red Brand’s 2”x4” Non-Climb Fence, 2”x2” Yard, Garden & Kennel Fence, or 4”x4” Sheep & Goat Fence can be very effective in discouraging raccoons, especially when topped off with a line of electric wire.

Raccoons are also excellent diggers. If all climbing attempts fail, they might burrow under a fence. To prevent this possibility fences should be buried about 6 to 10 inches under the ground and installed at least 4 feet high above ground.

For fence materials other than wire mesh, consider a very smooth material on top of your fence to prevent the raccoons from gripping the fence and making it over to the other side.

Set Traps

Trapping wild animals is a heavily regulated activity. In most cases, you should leave trapping to pest management professionals. A professional can properly locate the raccoon and set humane traps to capture and release the animal to its proper habitat. Pest management professionals are typically the only people permitted to handle and eliminate a trespassing animal if necessary.

Consult a Fencing Professional

Raccoons can be a nuisance if not adequately kept at bay. They are very smart animals that can find clever hiding spots within your property and become habitual intruders. Contact a fencing professional today and learn how to keep your property raccoon-free.

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