Renegade Raccoons Invade Bernal Heights Homes

backyard bandit

There was a burglary recently on the south side of Bernal Heights. The culprits were clever thieves who always wear a mask. Neighbor Sharon called it in:

Two racoons broke into next door neighbors’ home through their small pet door (they have dachshunds) and at 1:30am started crashing through kitchen looking for food. Neighbors screamed and banged around—and finally uninvited racoons left.

Next day neighbors mentioned the story to another neighbor, who said that (presumably same pair) of racoons broke through a cracked window and into THEIR house.

We recently had noticed things a few minor things amiss in the garden (lids off cans, wood chips chewed, pet door knocked off), but didn’t think they were related. Now I’m thinking it’s probably all these crafty critters.

Maybe this isn’t the proper place for posting racoon warnings, but I’d want to know if there was a pair of marauding racoons nearby—and so—I’m locking up the pet door securely and telling y’all about what I know.

These are not isolated incidents. Last weekend my North Bernal home was invaded by these fearless feral fiends. They raided the pantry and ate all our brown sugar. They left behind a big mess… and this tell-tale calling card:

UPDATE: (Promoted from the comments) Neighbor Angelo shared this video of raccoons examining his sliding door with an eye toward a) understanding the intricacies of modern sliding door technology and b) getting in to plunder:

PHOTOS: Top, pagedesign. Below, Telstar Logistics

22 thoughts on “Renegade Raccoons Invade Bernal Heights Homes

  1. Too cute! When I lived in Walnut Creek and had a dog door to the outside through the garage (where the dog food was kept), the raccoons’ response to my turning on the garage light with two barking dogs at my feet seemed to be something like, “So…. we have to stop eating this dog food, then?” I had to almost physically shoo them away to get them out. They can be fearless little critters. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the update and know these marauders have been seen in the yards on the 100 block of Elsie as well. I swear they were trying to get the sliding glass door open when we saw each other! Crafty devils!

  3. Oh yes! They have been in the neighborhood for some time. I haven’t seen them for awhile and then I too noticed some small things awry for the first time in awhile……oh, oh, they’re back.
    I think they were away because I didn’t have pet food in the garage anymore and when I started putting it down there again they were quick to find it. They are clever!

  4. We got ’em on the north slope too. BIG ones. One of them has been getting into fights in the middle of the night with the neighborhood cats, right outside my bedroom window. Noisy, noisy. Lately other neighbors have been waking up and yelling at them to stop. I don’t mind it though. Glad to have wildlife in the city.

  5. Last night at about 9:00pm or so my roommate went outside and saw one of them on our back fence facing Eugenia. I believe we had no critter thefts or disturbances though. Probably moved onto better neighbor munchies!

  6. Thurs. the 29th of March, we had at least one very loud intruder on our back deck on Shotwell and Montezuma. I stupidly let my dog out before I realised what it was, large racoon, and he/she flew off the deck. Keep your doors and windows closed!!!

  7. A year or so ago, a pair of raccoon were fighting atop the roof of my house in the middle of the night. They fell into the atrium. The racket was incredible as they continued to attach each other. My wife got out of bed to witness the struggle, and we had no idea what to do — simply hoping they couldn’t get inside.

    Eventually, one, then the other, managed to scale the walls back to the roof and off they went. The walls had paw-marks and scratches.

  8. They have visited us several times in North Bernal in the last few weeks. We have several wild bird feeders and suet situated over a rock wall. Every evening they destroy the wall searching for the suet and seed that have fallen into the cracks between the rocks. Their adorableness is in direct proportion to what a mess they can make. We’ve been very careful letting our Jack Russell Terrier out at night. Those raccoon are cute, but those claws can do significant damage.

  9. Hey…I rather the “Renegade Raccoons” any day than the “Royal Pain In the Arse Roof Rats” that share territory rights with the Raccoons…IMHO…

      • Depends on the gun. Adult versions are powerful enough to hunt with. But you’re right a cross bow would be effective.

  10. Gotta make a pitch for the SureFlap pet door! Get your kitty or doggie friend microchipped and the door learns the chip and only opens for your pets. Our rascally racoons (@Valley and San Jose Ave) learned their way through our first SureFlap door (pulled with their nimble fingers instead of pushed) and the manufacturers sent us a new improved model within a week. So far they haven’t gotten in and we’re so pleased! Great product and terrific customer service (

  11. We’ve got seen some big racoons down in Noe, and some really cute babies, too!. The most brazen ones knocked over our garbage bins at 5PM. I’ve found the most effective discouragement is spraying them with water and placing a radio in any spot they want to explore.

  12. Raccoons are known to kill and severely injure cats. They may look cute but they’re pretty vicious animals and you should do whatever you can to discourage them. They love cat food. If you feed your cat dry food outdoors, you’ll have raccoon visitors. (They also have lots of fleas and such.)

  13. My impression is that there has been a population surge over the last few years. The pair that lived on my block has grown into a roving pack of five adults. They make regular transits through my garden, stopping to peer in the window at me, or trying to open the sliding door while I am sitting right there. There was a program about the audacious critters on KQED recently that I watched in the interest of understanding my future overlords. They are smart. They are bold. They are watching you when you don’t know it. Forget Planet of the Apes; Planet of the Raccoons is more likely.

  14. The scratching at the end of that video confirms my suspicion as to how my dog has come to have fleas…

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