Ask A Vet: How Can I Stop Raccoons From Eating My Outdoor Fish?


Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on They've enlisted their Co-President, Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, to answer your questions every week. Got a question for Dr. Scarlett? Ask away in the comments!

Q: My outdoor fish are being stalked by a crafty and cunning raccoon. The sashimi loving bandit has pulled apart three foam pre-filters and two water pumps. Should I just go ahead and leave out a little side dish of wasabi and soy?
A: Any raccoon that can disable an aeration system is going to be hard to deter. After all, in their minds, you have set up a feeding and watering station for them in your back yard. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet! I happen to have a family of raccoons that push their smaller, younger members of their pack through my cat door.  So, I turned to Norcal Wildlife Removal for some help and here’s what I learned: It is almost impossible to keep raccoons out of your yard—they’re smart, agile and highly motivated to eat, re-arrange your garden and harass your dog. Punks. As absurd as it sounds, you could fence in your fish or create rock overhangs under which the koi can attempt to hide.  Or, set up some motion detectors that turn on lights, sprinklers, high frequency sounds, talk radio (your neighbors will love these last two)—you might as well give these a try!  If nothing else, with the lights at least the raccoons can see where you’ve left the wasabi and soy.
Other resources for you: Wildcare- they solve human vs. wildlife issues (415) 456-SAVE (7283) and Norcal Wildlife Removal (650)477-9070.

While we can’t answer all of the questions here, please feel free to ask us during our Friday Twitter Ask the Vet Chat. Follow us at @SFPSCA. If your animal’s problem is of an immediate nature, please call your vet or you can reach the SF SPCA at 415-554-3030 to make an appointment.

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