|Photo from Wikipedia, see link below|
When I first moved to Cape Cod (about 38 years ago), I shared a small house in Woods Hole with two other guys. We shared cooking duties and were members of a food cooperative and bought food in bulk and stored it in pantries and cupboards around the house. At some point, we noticed that certain containers were knocked over and the food spilled out. At first, we thought we had just not stored the food canisters correctly. There was a lot of food to store and not a lot of room. We had to squeeze containers into the small cabinets and thought we were just being careless and that the containers were falling because they weren't balanced. At first.
So, we spent more time ensuring that the food was stored properly. But it kept happening and seemed to be getting more frequent. Then we noticed the little footprints in the flour. They looked like tiny little hands and we recognized them as raccoon footprints. So, we weren't careless we were just clueless.
We looked for a way the little guys could be getting in. We never left the doors open and there were screens over the windows. We checked the screens and none were ripped or loose. Then we noticed the cat door (or dog door?) on the front door. We didn't need it because none of us had a pet and we'd forgotten about it but it appeared that the raccoons had noticed it. So, we blocked it up and congratulated ourselves. The night visits actually stopped - for a while.
Then we started seeing food containers opened and scattered again. We were at a loss. We double checked for openings, loose doors or loose windows. Nothing. Then the raccoons got into the pots and pans one night. The fellow who slept downstairs where the food was stored was roused from his sleep and ran into the living room and heard them escaping up the chimney. Could that be how they got in, too? When we went into the kitchen in the morning, it looked like the chimney was the way they got in because of all the sooty little paw marks all over everything. We figured it would be easy to solve this by just making sure the flue was closed each night. We rarely used the fireplace anyway. It was easier to remember to open the flue when we needed it that to constantly be cleaning up the kitchen and food storage areas every night.
That worked for a little while but then they learned how to open the flue. So, finally, we decided to get some fencing with really small spacing but think enough to hold up to an all-out attack by our little friends. Finally, we weren't bothered anymore and they must have found somewhere else to get their midnight snacks.
The photo above is from Germany via Wikipedia. Here's the link.