Scarecrow Ultrasonic Animal Repeller
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Review: Scarecrow Ultrasonic Animal Repeller

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Can ultrasonic sound and flashing lights deter squirrels, rabbits, deer, and other pests?

There are few things more depressing to a gardener than starting spinach and lettuces from seed, nurturing the seedling under grow lights, planting them ever so gently in the vegetable garden, and then 2 days later, finding nothing but nubs where you once had hopes for a delicious salad.

Scarecrow Ultrasonic Animal Repeller

Scarecrow Ultrasonic Animal Repeller.

Such was my fate two years ago when my local population of killer rabbits ransacked my vegetable greens overnight like an invading Nordic horde. I became a Picasso of profanity, spewing vile vocabulary at the evil, 4-footed, Leporidae menace which others find so (deceptively) cute.

I normally spray the heck out of new greens and any new plants with a repellant like Liquid Fence, which works well, but due to overwhelming rain, I missed my window for spraying. Which gave the rabbits an opportunity to attack and sent me to my local garden center to buy lettuces. Live and learn.

And a groundhog moves in

Last year, I went to DEFCON2 and fenced off my greens. That worked well until a rogue groundhog discovered that sumptuous free green buffet. He climbed the 3-foot rabbit fence, bent it down, and lowered his Jabba the Hutt-like body into the greens garden where he ate to his delight, crushing whatever he didn’t want with his immense girth (this groundhog was downright obese!). But apparently, he didn’t care for the Kale. Wife and I made a lot of smoothies last year and I ate more Kale than you would think possible – it still on occasion appears without warning from its frozen state in soups, stews, and rice.

The groundhog took me by complete surprise because it’s not like we live in the country or anything, not even the suburbs, so I had never seen a groundhog in my neighborhood before and I’ve lived here 12 years. That’s why I was unprepared when I saw his fat, lazy self feasting in the yard one day in May without a care in the world.

My wife named him Charles and delighted in his every appearance, but me, having grown up in a rural area, knew the evil incarnate that is the groundhog – they are impossible to get rid of if they make a home on your property. (My mind ran afoul with the image of generation after generation of groundhogs living under my shed and eating every plant they pleased, forever and ever; and me, using tear gas and nuclear weapons to try and move them out, all to no avail) By the way, no liquid or granular repellant seems to work on the groundhog – I loaded my sweet potato seedlings with granular repellants and sprays, but he also ate those seedlings to the ground overnight last year. No delicious homegrown tubers for us last year.

What is the best animal deterrent?

So this year, the challenge was on: do I invest in a motion-activated, water spraying deterrent? That would be fun to watch, no doubt, as the noise startled the rodents, followed by a jetstream of water to send them scurrying for the hills. But a length of garden hose has to be attached 24/7 and if the season was rainy, introducing more spray to disease-prone foliage (like tomatoes) gives me pause. It also won’t be very effective once plants have grown in, blocking the spray. And obviously, my experience with liquid repellants was great for a while and then not so much. Plus, always having to apply a liquid spray after rain can have problematic timing, especially in early spring when animals want to nibble on everything. So when I was asked to review the Smart Scarecrow Ultrasonic Squirrel and Animal Repeller, I said, hell yea!

Smart Scarecrow Ultrasonic Animal Repeller Test

It seems that X-Pest has gotten it right. This is a solar-powered animal repeller, so it’s relatively set-it-and-forget-it after it’s charged. But if it’s going to be placed in a shady area, you can also power it with rechargeable batteries.

The setup is simple: either charge it via USB port, or set it outside in a sunny area for 24 hours and let the solar chip collect energy. According to the datasheet, the Scarecrow Animal Repeller senses when an animal is in range, and runs through 4 ultrasonic frequencies, flashing lights until the animal leaves. Then the scarecrow goes back to standby mode, waiting for its next invader.

I set up the scarecrow and placed it on the supplied support in my garden (but you can also hang it on a wall). After charging for 24 hours, I placed it at the end of my row of seedling lettuces, cabbages, and kales. I did not spray a repellant.

Smart Scarecrow Ultrasonic Animal Repeller Test

The Scarecrow Animal Repeller keeps watch over my greens after a hard spring rain.

Naturally, I can’t hear ultrasonic frequencies, so I’ll take their word for it that the unit produces those tones. But I can hear the initial warning sounds and see the flashing lights on the front of the unit. The range is pretty significant, as I set it off even when 15 feet away and at an angle to the unit.

The bottom line is, after 2 weeks, at their most vulnerable time of year, the greens are still standing. I’ve also seen fewer rabbits in my yard. Coincidence?

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