Raccoons, Opossums, And Rats In Coronado! - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Opinion

Raccoons, Opossums, And Rats In Coronado!

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Posted: Monday, January 27, 2020 3:44 pm

Did you know that big and small Critters regularly travel through many of our Coronado backyards when we are all fast asleep? Many Coronadans are totally unaware of the nocturnal community that comes alive at 2 or 3 a.m. daily, going from house to house, looking for their dinner! You might assume this nightly munch fest hasn’t bothered you (or so you think) - and stop reading - but wait ‘til you hear the rest of the story.

Two days ago at the gym, I casually asked if anyone had any experiences with critters in their yards. That’s when I heard the shocking Raccoon story: Some Raccoons found their way into a brand-new Coronado kitchen on Adella Avenue and destroyed it while the owners were away!

Racoons - in Coronado? That’s the first time I’d ever heard of it and we’ve lived here 33 years. I suspect some of you hadn’t heard of this either so that’s why I’m sharing this with you. Raccoons are super smart, very agile and can get into almost anything. I was alarmed. Especially since Adella Avenue is not too far away from our house.

I’ve actually seen three big opossums wandering down the east side of Pomona late at night around 2 a.m. Twice in past years I saw one running across our front yard as I drove into the driveway around midnight. But I never knew there were also raccoons. Once an opossum fell down into the crack between the two fences bordering our yard with our neighbor’s and got stuck there. What a racket all night as he tried to escape! Apparently these animals travel easily through our yards all over Coronado, often by walking on the tops of walls and fences, looking for a yummy appetizer or main course. I think these critters have multiplied, based on my personal sightings, and I feel we all need to be vigilant and do what we can to help curb the trend.

I’d asked about critters at the gym because our magnificent tangerine tree is being ravished by something eating it, with remnants and peels on the ground daily. It’s happened a little in years past, but this year it’s considerably worse and the tree is actually getting seriously damaged because the animals eat the bark too when tangerines are not present. We suspected rats at first. Our neighbor’s cat that had regularly patrolled our yard had died. I thought the cat must have kept the rats at bay in the past.

We needed to do something to stop the pillaging by the still unknown animals. We bought the latest black plastic rat traps. We called county vector control who brought us another trap of the same design, but we caught nothing. Researching rats online, I found fruit is important in their diets and saw many entertaining YouTube videos on clever home-made bucket-style rat traps. We also learned rats can jump 3 or 4 feet and surmised a family of rats were climbing up nearby walls or bushes and jumping into our tree to get the tangerines.

Frustrated, we finally moved one of our security cameras to face the tangerine tree and see if we can spot the little monsters. What a surprise! At 2:55 a.m. last Friday night our camera recorded a big raccoon casually walking along the top of our neighbor’s fence then jumping into our tangerine tree to climb around and fill its gullet! I’m hoping that vector control can provide a large trap to catch this culprit and perhaps other animals that are damaging our tangerine tree and set them free somewhere in a mountain park far away from Coronado.

Meanwhile, may I suggest to everyone to stop leaving cat or dog food and water outside overnight. That will attract and support rats, raccoons, opossums, and ants and maybe other unknown critters. We have no pets or pet food at our house but the tangerines must be a favorite treat because they come nightly to indulge. As a community we’ve got to try to stop providing their food and lodging whenever possible. If you have fruit trees or a veggie garden, look for the signs that marauding varmints are eating your produce or flowers and let’s do something about it as a community. Let’s try to trap them and get them off the island. When raccoons are seriously damaging houses it’s time to work together, to get involved, and to stop this invasion.

Here is what Wikipedia says they eat: “Opossums eat dead animals, insects, rodents and birds. They also feed on eggs, frogs, plants, fruits and grain. One source notes their need for high amounts of calcium. Thus possums eat the skeletal remains of rodents and roadkill animals. Opossums also eat dog food, cat food and human food waste.”

Raccoons eat insects, fruit, nuts, bird eggs and hatchlings, fish, amphibians.

We have a problem here in paradise, and I feel it is only going to get worse unless we are all aware and vigilant and take action to curb the wild critter population. Please share your encounters or sightings of these animals with the rest of us and do what you can to find and destroy their hiding places, like wood piles and hedges against walls and openings under houses. We need to trap them when they come out to feed, and try to limit their population. Also, make sure no one leaves a door or pet door conveniently open for the raccoons overnight or you might be very sorry!

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