To set the stage, here's a photo of the backyard:
The tenants were seated in the Adirondack chairs. The raccoons were at the log in the foreground.
Melanie, a next-door neighbor, has been vindicated. Several months ago, I saw an opposum in our backyard. Right out the back window, nosing around the leaf litter and bags of mulch. And all the neighbors said "Oh, yeah, we've see the opposum." Like there would only ever be one. Where there is one opposum, there be much opposa. In that conversation, Melanie said that she'd seen a raccoon in her backyard. At which the neighbors scoffed "Maybe it was a cat." For none but Melanie had seen a raccoon.
Until last night.
Note the compost bin in the photo above. There is another directly behind where the photographer is standing, against the garage. I think this is what is attracting the raccoons. The tenants were very excited about being able to compost their kitchen scraps, and I've encouraged this. I've let them know what not to compost (meat, bones, fats or oils) and what to compost (vegetable, fruit, coffee grounds, eggshells, and so on). But the bins do not have secure lids; I sometimes even leave them unlidded if they're dried out.
I've never had to contend with raccoons in 25 years of urban gardening. We live one block from Coney Island Avenue: a seven-lane thoroughfare lined, at our latitude, with auto shops, car washes, gas stations, row houses, and Pakistani restaurants. Granted, we also only live four or five blocks from Prospect Park. But raccoons?!
Is this a problem for you suburban and exurban composters? Should I do anything? What do you do?