Raccoons are a well-known pest in North America as they’re not afraid of entering our yards and our homes in search of food. A lot of gardeners with fruit trees wonder do raccoons climb trees and what can they do if so.
In this article, I’ll be exploring the climbing abilities of raccoons and seeing just how good they really are at it. Additionally, if there are raccoons in your yard, I’ll explain what’s bringing them there and what you can do to prevent them from returning.
Do Raccoons Climb Trees?
Yes, raccoons can indeed climb trees. They’re actually prolific climbers and are generally capable of crossing all kinds of terrains. They can also swim and run, but not at great speeds.
Raccoons avoid areas with beech trees, as they’re too smooth for them to climb, but aside from beech, they can climb any tree they desire.
Why Do Raccoons Climb?
There is honestly a plethora of reasons why raccoons climb trees, with the most obvious one being safety. Raccoons are generally defenseless animals – despite relatively large teeth for their size, they can be easily killed.
When threatened by another animal – be it a cougar, a dog, or a human – a raccoon will always try to run. They’ll only fight for survival when they’re cornered.
A raccoon will stay on a tree until the danger has passed.
Another reason for climbing a tree is to access food. Raccoons are omnivores and their standards are really, really low. They’ll eat literally anything that they come across, and an apple tree, for example, is a good source of food for them.
Let’s say you have a particularly low roof and a tall fruit tree with branches hanging above it, that roof could amass plenty of fallen fruit. In this case, raccoons could be seen climbing the roof too.
The final reason for climbing is shelter – raccoons establish their sleeping areas in hollow trees, on top of cottages and garages, as well as in attics. To get to these areas, they have to climb, which often leads to conflict between us and them.
Since they’re highly adaptable animals, raccoons often prioritize urban areas as their habitat. Because of the great number of food people throw away, we provide them with enough food and shelter to last a lifetime.
Where Do Raccoons Live?
Aside from invading urban areas and according to Wildlife in Connecticut, raccoons also live in wooded areas. They can be seen in plains, as well, but they depend on vertical structures (such as trees) to escape predators.
In the wild, they sleep in tree hollows and rock crevices, while they’ll also invade dens made by other animals. If they don’t live in your attic, raccoons will establish territory in a forest near a shoreline.
They like staying near water because it provides them with easy kills, such as crustaceans, amphibians, and other small animals.
Raccoons are especially fond of forested areas that are close to urban establishments. This way, they can easily make their way into town and rummage through trash for food.
What Attracts Raccoons to Your Yard
There are two main reasons you will have raccoons in your yard. Firstly – there’s most likely food for them. This doesn’t even have to mean that there are fruit trees for them to climb.
Raccoons are very courageous when it comes to food and they’re not afraid of stealing food from a dog’s bowl or knocking a trash can over to look for leftovers.
The best thing you can do to prevent a raccoon infestation is to ensure that there’s no food for them in your yard. Close your trash cans with those airtight lids and pick up all the fallen fruit from the garden.
If you see raccoons climbing your trees to feast on your fruit, there’s unfortunately very little you can do about it (the only truly effective method is ripping the tree out of the ground, but that’d be a shame).
The second reason you might have raccoons in your yard is shelter – maybe they have access to your garage, your attic, your shed, or some other place where they’re safe from the elements and predators.
Whatever it is – you need to find the access point and close it.
How to Prevent Raccoons Getting In Your Trees
Not only do raccoons climb trees, but they’re very good at it. It’s a common thought of many gardeners to wonder how to stop raccoons from climbing trees.
You can’t just install a simple fence because it simply won’t keep the raccoons away. They’re great climbers and they’re known for being able to unhook simple latches and ties.
To keep raccoons away from your trees, install a galvanized hardware mesh. The mesh needs to be buried at least 6 inches beneath the ground because raccoons might otherwise dig beneath it.
It should also be extended outwards for 12 inches. This should keep raccoons away after you install them around every tree, but keep in mind that they’re dexterous animals that could find a way.
Another deterrent (and one that is potentially more effective than installing a mesh fence) is having your dog freely roam your yard. Raccoons are non-confrontational animals and they’ll always run away from a barking dog.
The only risk is that a dog could chase a raccoon up a tree, instead of chasing them out of your yard.
FAQ Do Raccoons Climb Trees
Verdict: Can Raccoons Climb Trees
So, now you know, raccoons are great climbers, and they run for the trees when there are predators around, but also for shelter and for food. They’re attracted to areas inhabited by humans simply because we throw away so much food and inadvertently provide shelter.
You can keep them away from your yard by keeping it tidy and by closing all entry points. Keep them away from your trees by building a mesh perimeter or by letting the dog keep watch.