Product review: Sprinklers that deter wildlife

Sprinklers that deter wildlife

Earlier this season, two companies sent me samples of their motion-activated sprinklers that act as animal deterrents. They each wanted me to test the Havahart “Spray Away” and Contech’s “Scarecrow” sprinkler. That’s a Scarecrow in the photo above.

We live in a rural area southwest of Spokane, where we frequently encounter deer and, unfortunately, moose. Both are creatures of habit. Once they find a garden or plants they like, they’ll come back again and again to have a good meal. Which, of course, freaks out anyone who even remotely enjoys gardening!

The way the sprinklers work is you set them up in an area frequented by whatever type of critter you’re trying to keep away (deer, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, marmots, birds, etc.). Once you’ve pointed it so that the infrared sensor will pick up their presence, you hook it up to a hose and turn on the water.

When the sensor is triggered, the sprinkler makes a clicking sound, which is startling enough, but that sound is accompanied by a blast from a Rainbird-style sprinkler that shoots quite a distance. The desired result is to frighten the critter and blast ’em with cold water so they run away and decide they don’t want to encounter that again.

About a month ago, I discovered one of our local moose had paid an evening visit to our yews (boy, do they like yews… sigh) so I knew that would be the perfect way to test these sprinklers. I’ve tried them both and really like them. And they appeared to keep the moose away from repeat visits because I never saw any more damage or scat.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the sprinklers:

Batteries: 4 AA (Spray Away); 9-volt (Scarecrow) – each battery will last about 6 months.
Infrared sensor: both models have them.
Coverage of sensor: 1,000 sq.ft. (Spray Away); 1,200 sq. ft. (Scarecrow).
Warranty: each has a 2-year warranty.
Staking mechanism for sprinkler: Spray Away has a stirrup for more easily pushing the stake into the ground; Scarecrow does not.
Cost: $69.99 (Spray Away); $89.00 (Scarecrow)

Additional comments: I like how they both detect the presence of warm-blooded critters by motion sensor and infrared sensor; that way they work at night as well as during the day. They are easy to assemble and the instructions about placement and angle of the sprinkler spray are very helpful. The only down side of these sprinklers is that you can’t use them during the colder months here in the Inland Northwest because the hose will freeze solid.

And be careful that you aren’t going to blast your friendly meter-readers or other visitors to your home!

You can learn more about these sprinklers by going to for the Spray Away model and to for the Scarecrow.