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Homeowner asks for help solving whodunit after mystery critter tears up sod: 'I'm concerned this will become a common occurrence'

"Luckily I was able to just put it back in place."

New sod is no match for a skillful raccoon, raccoon sod

Photo Credit: iStock

"Trash pandas" are clever fellows.

And as one Redditor discovered recently, new sod is no match for raccoons when they're hunting for food.

The poster shared three images of a sparkling green lawn — but the turf was rolled back in no fewer than 11 places.

Raccoon sod
Photo Credit: u/pharaohnee / Reddit
Raccoon hunting for food
Photo Credit: u/pharaohnee / Reddit

"Who's the culprit?!" they wrote. "1 month old sod. Woke up this morning to a bunch of it peeled back. Luckily I was able to just put it back in place so I don't think it did any permanent damage. I'm now concerned this will become a common occurrence."

The fourth photo — the poster's "only evidence" — showed a distinctive set of muddy paw prints.

Some Reddit investigators said it could be a skunk, but the discussion settled on a raccoon.

"Definitely raccoons," someone said. "Had a friend who had this happen in new sod. He was dumbfounded. Set up a go pro the next night and caught the raccoons red handed."

Another user replied: "Same for me. Was confused what was happening, then set up a camera and it was a mama raccoon and her 3 babies. Cute as heck, but also super annoying."

Raccoons are nocturnal and eat meat and vegetables. The National Wildlife Federation noted they are "opportunistic feeders" and "well known" for stealing food from trash cans, thanks to their nimble, handlike paws.

The masked bandits also go for grubs, which they can smell. Homeowners can treat their lawns to get rid of the larvae, but there are other tacks to take that don't involve insecticides, which have many harmful effects and should generally be used only as a last resort.

Another option would be forgoing grass altogether, opting instead for a native or natural lawn that would save the homeowner this hassle as well as money and provide greater environmental benefits. 

A few commenters mentioned deploying cayenne pepper as a deterrent, while some advised staking the sod or covering it with chicken wire or netting.

Others noted the poster could have gone easy on the grass

"That raccoon is from the anti lawns sub," one commenter joked.

Another said: "They're doing your trees a favor by peeling the sod away from the trunk/roots. Sod should be a few feet away from the trunk to allow airflow and to keep the tree from competing with the grass for water and nutrients. A few inches of mulch around the base of the tree is best. You want the flare at the base of the tree to be exposed."

"Absolutely this," one user agreed. "Plus it will protect the tree trunk from weed eater blight."

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