Scarecrow Sprinkler vs. Wildlife: Who Wins?

The Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler from Contech

My Motion Detector Sprinkler in Action…

Note, this is a personal review. To visit the Scarecrow Sprinkler Product page on Amazon.com click here.

My family and I live in an urban setting in Los Angeles and my backyard is a dream for the local wildlife. We grow organic vegetables and raise chickens. This alone presents attractive opportunities for raccoons, bobcats, squirrels or other critters to come into our garden and wreak havoc.

Every morning I find new holes in my lawn and garden beds. Often times the plants are either eaten or ripped out and tossed aside. Turns out we have a raccoon, who visits us pretty much every night, to dig for grubs and steal our veggies.

I did some research on raccoon deterrents and deer repellents and finally came across a motion sensor sprinkler system which showed promise. I bought the Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler from Contech and shot a video to document the set up and show the water sprinkler in action…

How does this Motion Detection Sprinkler work?

The concept is simple. A powerful sprinkler is pointed towards a target area (e.g. a vegetable garden) to protect it from any sort of wildlife interference. As soon as a critter moves into the monitored spot (a built-in sensor tracks movement and body temperature) the sprinkler is triggered and shoots a quick 3 sec. burst of high-pressured water across the entire target area.

The sprinkler’s radius as well as the height of the water spray can be manually adjusted. The raccoon, deer or possum gets sprayed and a good scare:  The sudden and noisy activation of the sprinkler gives the animal an adrenaline shock, immediately putting them into panic/survival mode with the only option to run. Once they undergo that stress for two or three times they learn to stay away.

Did the Scarecrow Sprinkler work out for me?

The Sprinkler works. I have reduced my raccoon activity in my veggie pad to zero. While I’m happy to report that I gained the upper hand, I do have to point out the importance of using a heavy-duty hose (like the Never Kink hose) to connect to the Scarecrow in order to minimize the risk of leaking. Within days I had to replace a flimsy hose that couldn’t take the constant water pressure. While I was waiting for the new hose to come in the mail, I actually turned off the system and I noticed that the garden still remained untouched for those nights. The raccoons have been conditioned to refrain from entering my garden area. It leads me to believe that I should be able to move the sprinkler occasionally to cover additional spots to keep the raccoon on its toes (literally) while expanding my protected area. Once I connected the sprinkler to the heavy-duty water hose it has been without a leak ever since.

So here are 5 reasons why I recommend the Scarecrow Sprinkler:

  1. The sensor is reliable and I can easily adjust the sensitivity of the spray radius.
  2. The sprinkler is built with good quality materials and can handle the constant water pressure.
  3. I can hook up several sprinklers within one water line (daisy chaining is possible).
  4. The sprinkler is non-lethal and safe for pets or kids. If someone crosses its path they will get wet but not hurt
  5. A good price. The Scarecrow runs about $55, while other sprinklers like the Havahart Elite is more like $170
Set up of the Contech Scarecrow Motion Detector Sprinkler

Setting up the “Scarecrow” Sprinkler

The ScareCrow Sprinkler  has over 2000 reviews (4+ rating) on Amazon.com and is a #1 Best Seller. It did the trick for me. Look for my Follow-up Review with some actual night-vision footage of my friendly backyard  raccoon. I hope you enjoyed this blog. Feel free to post a comment as I’d love to hear your thoughts.  To read more about The CR101 Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler on the Amazon product page click here.

Backyard Boogi

Scroll down or click here to find out more about raccoon behavior and the risk of letting them thrive in your yard.

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Follow-Up Review of the Motion-Activated Sprinkler

One Month after using the Scarecrow Sprinkler

It’s been a month and I thought it would be a good idea to post a follow-up video. The good news is, the sprinkler is doing its job: The raccoons are still in my backyard but they have learned to stay away from my veggie pad.

The Youtube video shows night-vision footage of the motion activated sprinkler and I was actually able to film the raccoon. I used a trail camera that is also motion activated.

I’m still looking for that “money shot” of a raccoon being hit by the sprinkler water, and I’ll post it as soon as it happens. 🙂

A more expensive alternative to the Scarecrow Sprinkler is the “hose-free” Havahart Sprinkler, it looks like a solid system and just like the Scarecrow has favorable reviews on Amazon (though not as high in ranking). The downside of that system is the price as it is four times more expensive (ca. $170). I haven’t used that system so I can’t speak of its quality.

Overall, I’m still very happy with the Scarecrow motion sensor sprinkler: No battery drain, consistent motion sensoring, no leaks (once I replaced a flimsy hose) and most importantly, finally, I’ve been able to keep my friendly but intruding neighborhood raccoon away from my veggies.  I’m hopeful that he is moving on to easier pastures.

The motion detector sprinkler is not only a repellent against raccoons, the “Scarecrow” proves to be a good wildlife deterrent in general. I’m thinking about using it as a deer repellent for my front yard as I recently noticed that deer have taken interest in some sunflowers. So I’m moving my camera to that spot and hope to show you some footage shortly.

The Scarecrow Motion Sensor Sprinkler is available at Amazon.com. To read my initial first review  click here.

Backyard Boogi

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Overview of Various Motion Activated Wildlife Repellents




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Raccoon Behavior

I didn’t know this before, but a raccoon has a relatively small territory of just a few blocks. So he visits each backyard within that territory on a regular basis, often many times a night. Not only does he destroy or stunt many of our garden plants, he also leaves behind potentially dangerous ringworm spores that can spread disease to humans and pets alike.

Trapping or poisoning our raccoon are not really viable options for us as it is illegal here in L.A. ( as in most cities), inhumane and only a temporary fix to the problem. Once a raccoon territory becomes available a new critter is sure to move in quickly.

I realized that I have to find a way to change my raccoon’s behavior. I had to condition him to stay away from the target area (my garden). After setting up the “Scarecrow” Sprinkler there were no new holes in the veggie pad and after a few weeks I found less activity in my entire yard.

PBS documentary "Raccoon Nation"

PBS documentary “Raccoon Nation”

I highly recommend the PBS documentary “Raccoon Nation”. It is a fascinating film that shows how raccoons have evolved and prefer to thrive in suburban living. The filmmakers closely follow a family of urban raccoons as they navigate the complex world of a big city.

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Deer Sighting in my Front Yard

Deer sighting in my front yard.

A deer recently came into my yard to munch on some sweet potatoes

While looking for more video footage of my scarecrow sprinkler deterring a raccoon I happen to film a deer in my front yard. It came at around 2am and started munching on my sweet potato plants and sunflower buds. Now this is in my front yard and I currently do not have a motion-activated sprinkler installed in that area, but this would be another opportunity to manage these wildlife intruders. Stay tuned for footage of the deer which I will posted shortly.

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Scarecrow Sprinkler no longer available – discontinued by manufacturer Contech

Update Feb. 2016: The Scarecrow Sprinkler has come back on the market. They are available again at Amazon.com by clicking here.

It is about to get harder to buy the motion activated Scarecrow Sprinkler, an effective wildlife deterrent for your garden. Even though it is a #1 Bestseller on Amazon with over 3000 reviews and a 4 star rating, the Scarecrow is likely to disappear from the market altogether.

Despite its success with this particular product, the manufacturer Contech is facing tough times and even filed for bankruptcy in March, 2015. The  Canadian company discontinued the various animal repellent devices, pet supplements, christmas and other products it had sold in its 28 years of existence.

There are still a few Scarecrow Sprinklers available through third party vendors on Amazon, but  prices are climbing higher with the limited supply. While in early 2015 the sprinkler could have been purchased for $50 they are now offered at $70 – $150. It is unclear if and when the product will be restocked to fill the ongoing demand.

Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer

In the meantime we recommend the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer which is also highly rated on Amazon (4 star rating). The competitor even has several features that outperform the Scarecrow Sprinkler: 

  • Night and Day Detection Options: 120 degree sensor with night only, day only, and always on activation modes
  • Intelligent sensing technology for optimum water and battery conservation
  • 35-foot adjustable impact sprinkler and 30 minute timed watering setting
  • Over 7,500 activation cycles on just 4 AA alkaline batteries
  • Heavy-duty construction with metal dual step spike and brass hose connection

The Yard Enforcer’s passive infrared motion sensor detects animals from up to 40 feet away even at night, and its “smart” sensing technology learns the difference between trees and animals to prevent overwatering. The sensor detects a combination of both heat and movement to activate the valve.

You can adjust the sensitivity of the sensor and the duration of the “activated” spray. A 30-minute cycle also enables the Yard Enforcer to function as a timed sprinkler. The metal dual-step spike with brass hose swivel penetrates the soil easily.

In regards to Contech’s bakruptcy proceedings read an article by The Times Colonist,  an English-language daily newspaper in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, by clicking here.

The Orbit Yard Enforcer’s product page on Amazon.com is available by clicking here.

The Contech Scarecrow Sprinkler product page on Amazon.com is available by clicking here.

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