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March 19, 2010 | Sandy Banks
Maybe Brian the dog is just a better conversationalist than Steve Lopez's marauding raccoons. Lopez enlisted an animal psychic to persuade the raccoons destroying his yard to lay off. Psychic Dana Miller is trying to reason with them -- as Lopez relayed in his Wednesday column -- but conversing with raccoons isn't as easy as chatting with dogs, it seems. Miller had no trouble connecting with Brian, a tiny white Maltese who disappeared three years ago from his Tujunga front yard.
August 26, 2007 | Steve Lopez
I report to you today from the wilds of Los Angeles, home to thousands of feral cats, countless rattlesnakes, the occasional mountain lion and the most feared and dangerous of all wild beasts -- the Silver Lake raccoon. Yes, the raccoons are back, more destructive and arrogant than ever. "Why do you have pans of beer in your frontyard?" little Junior, the baby sitter's son, wanted to know the other day. Because we don't have any grenades, that's why.
Lou Manfredini has heard plenty of folk remedies for household problems. But Latin music to drive out raccoons? That was a first for the home-repair expert, who appears as the "Today" show's Mr. Fix-it and hosts a Chicago radio program. "I had a woman call me who had raccoons in her attic," Manfredini recalls. "She'd tried everything--traps, baiting, poisoning." Desperate, she placed a clock radio in the attic and tuned to a Latin music station.
November 16, 2005 | Steve Lopez
When I confessed a few weeks ago that I had a bit of a raccoon problem in my garden and was buying coyote urine to repel them, I had no idea I had joined the ranks of some of the most exasperated and unstable people in all of Southern California. It turns out that from Santa Barbara to San Diego, homeowners are at war with raccoons living in their attics, under their houses and in their yards.
April 20, 2004
In "Howling Fury" (April 13), raccoon molester Josh Brones said, "I'm what sociologists would call a spiritual hunter.... It's how I commune with nature. It's when I'm most appreciative of what I've been blessed with." What a crock of nonsense. Most people commune with nature by bird-watching, hiking or other passive activities. They don't harass and kill wildlife and call it a blessing. Michael Gordon Long Beach
August 19, 1991
The spectacular transformer explosions that lit up the Saturday sky like a fireworks display by a grand impresario actually were the work of a lowly raccoon. The explosions, which left more than 5,800 Culver City residents without power for up to four hours, occurred when a raccoon climbed a power pole and took one step too many, said Southern California Edison spokesman Paul Klein.
July 28, 1987 | JOHN HENKEN
One lesson that the young musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra are learning well this summer is that anything goes at Hollywood Bowl. Their efforts on behalf of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on Sunday evening were decorated with all the tragicomic touches of a National Lampoon movie. Starring in the production was a clan of very vocal raccoons. For the first three movements, they contented themselves with heckling from the wings, in loud, curiously warbling voices.
Question: Do you have a way to keep raccoons out of the trash? J.G. Lake Sherwood Answer: To begin with, bag your garbage in plastic bags and be sure pet food is picked up at night. Raccoons love cat and dog food as much as your pets do. Where I live, we have extra-large garbage cans on wheels that, once loaded down with a week's worth of garbage, rarely tip over despite the coyotes and dogs that roam the streets.
October 26, 2005 | Steve Lopez, Reach the columnist at and read previous columns at
You just can't know what calamity lies in wait on the road of life. I never would have predicted the raccoon problem, for example, nor did I ever imagine I'd be paying good money for coyote urine. "Bad raccoons," my daughter now says every time we leave the house and see the damage they've done to the garden. They come out at night, the cowards. They hit the neighbor's fig and orange trees, make a mess on the back deck, and then come up front to dig for worms.
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