Raccoon – Damage to Sod

Q: What in the world could cause this? It only happens at night. My neighbor goes out every morning and replaces the sod but every night the creature returns. This is zoysiagrass sod which was installed several months ago.

A: I checked with Mark Childers at North Fulton Exterminating and he says your neighbor has likely been visited by a raccoon. They can neatly peel back newly-laid sod while looking for grubs, (Skunks can also damage sod but their damage is more often individual shallow cones in the earth.)

I see two courses of action from which to choose:

1. If the raccoon is seen in the yard, it should be removed.

Why? Because raccoons are commonly found infected with rabies, and while yours may not be rabid, it has become accustomed to being around humans. If it DOES become sick, you and the neighbors and nearby pets run a risk of being infected.

Call your local Animal Control office and ask them if they loan out raccoon traps (some do, some don’t). Get one and bait it with an open can of sardines. Follow Animal Control instructions as to what to do with the trapped animal.

You could also hire a professional animal control company to do the job.

2. If the raccoon is not a frequent visitor, you could secure the sod to keep it from being rolled up again

This is easy to do using chicken wire. Lay wire over the sod and anchor it down with “hairpins” made from wire clother hangers. Be generous with the anchors: one every six inches along the edge of the chicken wire.

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